Primary Program-3 to 6 years of age (mixed age groups)
The Primary program at Hill Point Montessori Preparatory School, provides the children the opportunity of freedom to explore and learn from a carefully prepared environment. The environment is designed to capitalize on the innate natural tendency of a child’s capacity to absorb information. The child’s sensitive period ranges from birth to 6 years of age. The early years of a child’s life are very crucial. Therefore it is imperative that they be given the right exposure. As a well- rounded and a fully equipped Montessori school, we honor the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. Our certified Montessori Guides (Teachers) allow children the freedom of choice in work, while the students are carefully observed and presented the Montessori manipulative materials in the proper order and manner, the child will mimic the teacher and learn. The curriculum is designed to stimulate the development of the “whole” child. Mixed age groups allow younger children to learn by observing and interacting with the older children and learn at a faster pace. Older children gain more confidence by helping and re-teaching what they have learned. Students in a mixed age group environment, work by helping one another while gaining self- confidence and self-discipline. The classrooms are divided into 5 areas. They are as follows:
- Practical Life Exercises
- Cultural Studies
Practical Life Exercises
Various presentations are placed on trays, on child size shelves. Students love to engage in these exercises. The child observes the adults working on tasks around the house. The child’s goal is to do the same tasks, if given the opportunity. In our Montessori environment, there are endless possibilities of tasks for children to accomplish. Table scrubbing, dish washing, window washing, hand washing and sweeping are some of the examples of exercises that children get to work on, in our environment. They will gain independence and confidence and a sense of empowerment by engaging and mastering these skills. These particular exercises are carefully crafted to strengthen small motor skills, creativity, problem solving and focus.
“Never help a child with a task, at which he feels he can succeed.” Dr. Maria Montessori.
One of Maria Montessori’s principle teachings is that children learn through the use of their five senses. The sensorial area of our Montessori classroom has various materials that help refine the use of the child’s senses, which are in a stage of rapid development at this age.
An example of one of these sensorial materials is the Geometric Solids. The geometric solids are a collection of three-dimensional shapes such as a pyramid, or a rectangular prism, that are presented to the child and defined individually. After the presentation, the child is asked to name the geometric solid while blindfolded. The child will use their sense of touch to correctly identify the geometric solid.
By using the memory of the visual presentation of the activity, the child will name the geometric solid by using only their sense of touch.
Montessori didactics are displayed on child size shelves. Montessori teachers will present materials, individually or to small groups from this section. When the teacher detects that the child is able to present the material independently and has mastered the presentation, they are allowed to use the materials without the teacher’s help and most of the time work is done by self- initiation. Mathematics in the Montessori classroom is presented by teaching the concepts making problem solving more logical. The child will not simply follow a mathematical process and wait to understand why? In Montessori children are taught the concept and use the process as a tool. The materials designed for this section are wonderfully logical, simple, and specific. Children understand math as a language and will learn how an answer can be derived, and presented in multiple forms.
A child learns language through a specific progression of lessons. The first of this process is done by using the sand paper letters, a material specific to Montessori. With this material the child is presented with the sound of the letter and guided to trace the form of this letter while saying the sound. When letters are presented in this manner, the child logically recognizes that words are made by multiple sounds strung together and blended. This leads the child to use sound for spelling and reading along with the visual recognition of letters and patterns. When language arts are presented in this simple and logical manner, the child’s ability to absorb, retain and manipulate the art, is higher.
In Montessori education Cultural area of study is a combination of Geography, History, Botany and Zoology.
Children have an inherent curiosity about the world. In a Montessori classroom the child is first introduced to land, water and air. Secondly, they are introduced to the globe of the earth. The teacher will entertain the children’s questions and curiosity about the earth. Children will also learn about land forms, water forms, and how life differs in different parts of the world. The child learns in a more comprehensive way because he is involved in the process of his own education.
The classrooms are well equipped with world map puzzle and puzzle maps of the continents. Children will color booklets of the continents, and mark the countries. When children travel to other countries on vacations, they are encouraged to bring back exciting information and photos. They have the opportunity to explain and present the information to the class. They have great enthusiasm to learn and share their knowledge with other classmates. It is a good way of encouraging public speaking at a young age.
Montessori classrooms are equipped with flags of all countries. Children learn the parts of the flag of USA. Children will also learn to name the flags of other countries.
Introduction to History begins with awareness of himself within the bounds of time. The initial awareness of passing of time and different times and schedules of his day are first introduced. The child’s birthday and the age is calculated and introduced, at every birthday celebration. The calendar, days of the week, months of the year and marking the calendar of events and holidays will be the next step.
Examining their own time line from birth to present is important as they learn better because it is about them. The child will learn about their family tree. They will learn about famous people and their stories. This is how the children gain their first sense of History in a Montessori classroom.
Children are fascinated by different species of animals. They love their pets. They learn about animals in the manner they share our earth, and the importance of their existence. They will be learning reptiles, insects, vertebrates, and invertebrates. Life cycle of the frog and butterfly and various other insects and animals are part of the curriculum.
In our Montessori classroom, we encourage and aid children to explore the biological aspects of their environment. Children are given the opportunity to learn about their immediate environment, which will serve as a microcosm of their larger environment- The earth.
Children are introduced to different leaves, parts of the flower, and parts of a tree. The Nature cabinet consists of puzzles of the parts of the tree, parts of the flower and different shapes of leaves. Children will be able to name the parts and label them on their own, once they have been presented the material. Classrooms consist of a shelf or a table containing items from nature. We also house artifacts from nature. Children learn about natural processes such as photosynthesis and the life cycle of a plant by planting and caring for a plant of their own. Various science experiments will be conducted in the botany area.
At Hill Point Montessori, our science program helps students to study the world around them. The study of science, allow the children to give reasons for the world around them by observing and testing. Children naturally have questions about weather, air, gravity, light and sound. We will be observing, experimenting and exploring. In the Montessori classroom the children are encouraged to clarify a question, theorize using information they already know, hypothesize and come to conclusions by testing and observing. The goal is to lead the child to ultimately be able to label, define, carry out a process and enhance his vocabulary and the knowledge of the world around him. We will expand our explorations into art, writing, and reading.