Head Start Montessori House of Children
Dr. Maria Montessori went beyond the conventions of the day to seek a new way of knowing the child. Her observations of the “absorbent mind” of a child before the age of six and her discovery of successive phases of growth, each with “sensitive periods” for specific areas of learning, constitute a vital contribution to education.
Around the age of two and a half, the child is ready to stretch beyond the security of his/her home and explore new environments and form new relationships. The House of Children becomes a home away from home, where learning is encouraged at an individual pace, allowing the child’s interests and abilities to become evident and flourish.
The child becomes a member of a small community in a specially prepared environment. Each environment has a vertical grouping of children between the ages of two and a half and six years where the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Co-operative social interaction takes place and engenders confidence, respect for others, appreciation of individual differences and joy in helping each other.
|1. exercises of practical life
From birth the child is striving for independence and adults, parents and teachers should help him/her on this path by sharing the skills needed to achieve this end. The Exercises of Practical Life are familiar activities the child has seen at home like pouring, sweeping, polishing, spooning and buttoning. These tasks help to develop concentration and co-ordination, social awareness and a sense of orderliness in the environment. The child learns about the limits and possibilities of the material world – how to adapt to the environment and how to be creative in it.
In a Montessori environment children are given a good foundation and evolve from the study of concrete mathematical concepts to abstract ones. With the help of the Montessori materials, the child begins to recognize the shapes and names of numbers 0 to 9. Quantity is introduced and the child relates the written number with its specific physical quantity. The child gradually becomes familiar with the Decimal system and gains a deeper understanding of how numbers function. Quantities of units, tens, hundreds and thousands are introduced. Having learned concrete mathematical concepts through the use of the materials, the child is then prepared to work with more abstract concepts such as fractions, key elements of geometry and problem solving on paper.
2. sensorial activities
We build a knowledge and understanding of the world through our senses and Montessori emphasizes learning through all the senses, not just through listening, watching or reading. The quality of learning is directly related to the quality and quantity of the experience the child receives. The Sensorial materials sharpen the senses of the young child by isolating a defining quality such as colour, weight, size, shape, texture, sound or smell. Through this exciting learning process, the child’s intellect develops to perceive order in multiple experiences.
According to Dr. Montessori, the evolution of language begins with the infant’s innate capacity to absorb fragments of speech that form the basis for further language development. The child first discovers that sounds have meaning and then isolates parts of speech. The child’s acquisition of oral skills occurs naturally, but opportunities for equivalent patterns of written language development must be provided by parents and teachers.
Experiences gained from the Practical Life and Sensorial materials serve as a preparation for reading and writing. Children are given a phonetic basis for reading. The child hears the sound, sees the shape and through tracing, trains the muscles needed for writing. He or she is then ready to pursue an interest in words while cultivating writing skills at an individual pace. Through story telling, conversation and many other exercises, the child’s vocabulary grows. Eventually these preparatory activities culminate in a child beginning to write. Dr. Montessori calls this an “explosion” into writing.
8:45 am to 12:45 pm
1:15 pm to 5:15 pm
monday to friday
the extended session
Children who turn five on or before May 31st of the academic year are part of a programme we call our Extended Session. However, age is not the only criteria. The school will decide whether the child is "ready" for this step.
The Extended Session enables a child to get used to a longer day and an extended work cycle. A second language is also introduced.
Creativity is not the production of works of art but unity of the entire growing personality. There is a vital difference in a child's approach to art and to other subjects...in speaking, reading and writing he/she must master the symbols and systems invented by others. In art, the young child devises and uses his/her own symbols. We encourage this creativity to blossom and open the way for expressing imagination and feeling.
other academic areas
Dr. Montessori observed that children eagerly absorb difficult concepts if they are presented in a concrete form. Montessori education introduces history, geography and science to children between the ages of three and six in a practical and exciting way. The materials used make concepts tangible and serve as touchstones to the child’s memory for years to come.