Also known as Kindergarten
Ages 2 through 6 years
(mixed age classroom).
At Chestnut Montessori, our early childhood curriculum is designed and implemented to support the needs and abilities of the whole child in his/her physical, social and intellectual development. The curriculum is introduced individually as a child demonstrates readiness. We incorporate a STEAM curriculum that aligns beautifully with the classical Montessori approach.
Our specially prepared environment fosters independence, competence and confidence as students become self-directed learners.
Children learn best when the promise of Sensitive Periods are fulfilled. Sensitive Periods are transitory times of effortless learning, when students can absorb specific nomenclature and information. Guided by our highly educated Montessori teachers, each child's innate abilities, intelligence and creativity unfolds.
Opportunities for practice in writing, reading, math, fine arts, cultural studies, and the sciences abound.
Our goal/promise is to provide many memorable experiences for our students. Our outdoor environment enriches our students' school experiences. A natural play yard, fruit and vegetable gardens, pumpkin patch and apple trees provide many opportunities for students to explore and participate in nature studies.
Please call to schedule a tour if you would like to explore the possibility for your child to experience the life-long gift of an education at Chestnut Montessori School.
EARLY CHILDHOOD CURRICULUM
While lessons are usually presented individually, some are given in family groupings to facilitate interest and social development. Daily circle gatherings promote oral language, physical development, self-confidence and leadership skills through songs, stories, poems, finger plays and other language activities.
Our integrated curriculum is sequential and our highly trained, credentialed teachers observe students at work to facilitate their understanding of each little person. Each activity has a direct purpose, designed to aid the child's immediate development; and an indirect purpose which prepares the child for future academic work.
Lessons of Grace and Courtesy which encourage character development and respectful relationships are woven throughout the curriculum. Throughout the school day students have access to all classroom learning materials and move readily from one activity to another.
The lessons of Practical Life engage the child in meaningful activity or “work.” These activities allow children to imitate adult activities while assisting fine motor development, eye-hand coordination, concentration, attention span and independence, preparing students for academic work ahead.
Areas of Practical Life include: Grace & Courtesy, Perceptual Motor Development, Visual Motor Coordination, Care of the Person, Care of the Environment, Food Preparation and Art.
Practical Life lessons incorporate concepts such as classification, volume, equivalency, similarity, less than and greater than, pairing, balance and Geometry. Activities such as folding cloths and bead stringing, in which the child crosses the midline of the body, facilitate the development of neuro-pathways across the left and right sides of the brain.
GRACE AND COURTESY
These activities help the child internalize social and problem-solving skills and assist students in becoming successful members of their classroom and school communities. Lessons include greetings, asking permission, table manners, waiting for one's turn and showing appreciation. These lessons also help develop a student's confidence and ability to have appropriate behavior in public places such as restaurants, museums and airplanes. Another goal is to assist the child in the ability to internalize discipline to make appropriate choices.
PERCEPTUAL MOTOR DEVELOPMENT
Perceptual Motor Development refers to one's ability to receive, interpret and respond successfully to sensory information. Children receive information primarily through the visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular and kinesthetic senses. All conscious and controlled movement depends on one's ability to interpret sensory information.
Perceptual Motor abilities to be promoted include body image, balance, spatial awareness, eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, laterality, directionality, proprioception and form discrimination. Attributes of movement such as rhythm, loco-motor coordination, agility, strength and flexibility are also developed within various aspects of our program.
Below are examples of how Perceptual Motor Skills assist the child's learning:
Naming Body Parts assists the child in learning to form concepts of self, left-right, up-down, front-back, etc.
Crawling develops printing, writing and drawing skills.
Balance Beam assists the child in learning to read across a printed page and forming letters.
Stepping Stones develops the ability to recall letters, words and numerals; develops auditory and visual spelling and reading abilities.
Eye Pursuit Movements assists the child in developing smooth, continuous eye movement and building reading flow.
Children have opportunities to participate in movement games and activities on our covered porch.
CARE OF THE PERSON
These activities help increase the child's independence in hand washing, button sewing, dressing and grooming. Lessons include Washing Hands, Shoe Polishing and Dressing Frames such as Buttons, Snaps, Zipper, Bow Tying, Buckling and Lacing.
CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Young children love to imitate activities they see parents perform at home. Lessons include Dusting, Sweeping, Washing a Table, Polishing Wood, Silver or a Mirror, Flower Arranging and Setting a Table for meal time.
Students learn about nutrition while building visual memory and sequencing skills when preparing food. Activities may include spreading hummus on bread chopping apples to make applesauce or having a Tea Party are lessons that build the child's independence, coordination and concentration.
Science experiments for children to perform require a measure of concentration and coordination and include activities related to specific curriculum. They are usually first presented to students using the inquiry process to enhance understanding. They may include: Properties of Land, Water, and Air, Magnetism, three States of Matter, Gravity, Buoyancy, Solar Energy, Light, and Propagation of Plants.
Integrated into Practical Life and available during class times, a variety of art activities and projects are offered such as use of scissors, crayons, glue, paint and easel. Many art acitivities are related to curriculum; examples are: seasonal activities, map-making and tracing and labeling the parts of the tree and animals.
Because the lessons of Practical Life form the foundation for all future learning, they are considered to be among the most important for young children.