5 year olds – Kindergarten program
Our Montessori Kindergarten children also have the important advantage of remaining with children of mixed ages. Mixing ages provides our kindergarten children with abundant opportunities to develop leadership skills and responsibility and gives the children greater social diversity. This is the ‘leadership year’. They have friends of all ages. The mixed ages and widely varied achievement levels of the children greatly minimize comparisons and competition, which are so damaging to young children. It also does wonders for a kindergarten child’s self-esteem to be admired and looked up to by the younger children. The traditional kindergarten, by contrast, only has children who are 5 by September 1st. In a room full of 5 year olds, only a few can be leaders.
The key concept in Montessori is the child’s interest and readiness for advanced work. If a child is not developmentally ready to go on, she is not left behind or made to feel like a failure. Our goal is not to ensure that our children develop at a predetermined rate, but to ensure that whatever they do, they do well. Most Montessori children master a tremendous amount of information and skills. Even in the rare case where one of our children may not have made as much progress as we would have wished, he will usually be moving along steadily at his own pace and will feel good about himself as a learner.
The core of the Global Children Montessori Kindergarten curriculum is language, mathematics, science, geography practical life, and sensorial. In addition to the core Kindergarten curriculum, the child is also presented with history, music, art, and movement education.
The language work includes oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, and creative dramatics. The language materials include objects and pictures to be named, matched, labeled and classified to aid vocabulary development. Textured letters allow the child to feel and see the alphabet. Phonics and the movable alphabet lead the child toward reading.
The development of the concept that written words are actual thoughts set down on paper. (This takes children much longer than most people realize.)
Early exercises to practice reading and to gain the concept of a noun: labeling objects with written name tags, mastering increasingly complex words naming things that interest them, such as the parts of a flower, geometric shapes, the materials in the classroom, etc.
Learning to recognize verbs: normally exercises in which the child reads a card with a verbal “command” printed out (such as run, sit, walk, etc.) and demonstrates his understanding by acting it out. As the child’s reading vocabulary increases, verbal commands involve full sentences and multiple steps: “Place the mat on the table and bring back a red pencil.”
Reading specially selected or prepared small books on topics that really interest the child, such as in science, geography, nature or history.
Moveable Alphabets’ made up of easily manipulated plastic letters is used for the early stages of phonetic word creation, the analysis of words, and spelling. They facilitate early reading and writing tasks during the period when young children are still not comfortable with their own writing skills. Even before the children are comfortable in their handwriting skills, they spell words, compose sentences and stories.
Then they are taken step by step as follows to write neatly.
First children write on special tilted, upright blackboards: unlined, wide-lined, and narrow-lined. Then they write on special writing tablets, becoming comfortable with script. Their writing interest is kept on flame by preparing written answers to simple questions, composing stories to follow a picture series.
At the age of 6, they are ready to write stories or poems on given simple themes.
Children begin to spell using the moveable alphabet to sound out and spell words as they are first learning to read. They ‘take dictation’ – spelling words called for by the teacher – as a daily exercise. The sequence of spelling, as with all language skills, begins much earlier than is traditional in this country, during a time when children are spontaneously interested in language. It continues throughout their education.
- Learning to sound out and spell simple phonetic words.
- Learning to recognize and spell words involving phonograms, such as ei, ai, or ough.
- Developing a first “personal” dictionary of words that they can now spell.
- Learning to recognize and spell the “puzzle words” of English: words that are non-phonetic and are not spelled as they sound.
The study of grammar begins almost immediately after the child begins to read, during the sensitive period when he is spontaneously interested in language. It continues over several years until mastered. The idea is to introduce grammar to the young child as she is first learning how to put thoughts down on paper, when the process is natural and interesting, rather than waiting until the student is much older and finds the work tedious.
We introduce our children to the function of the parts of speech one at a time through many games and exercises that isolate the one element under study. Montessori has assigned a geometric symbol to represent each element of grammar. (For example, verbs are represented by a large red circle.) The children analyze sentences by placing the symbols for the appropriate part of speech over each word.
Once students have mastered the concrete symbols for the parts of speech, they perform more advanced exercises for several years with grammar boxes set up to allow them to analyze sentences by their parts of speech.
The Montessori math materials, through concrete manipulative materials, allows the child to internalize the concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations, and memorization of basic facts. This is a concrete experience in the Montessori classroom. Special materials such as spindle boxes and bead bars allow the child to see what “nothing” or zero looks like, or to see that multiplying 5×5 can be done with 5 bars of 5 beads each. Development of the concept of the four basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication through work with the Montessori Golden Bead Material. The child builds numbers with the bead material and performs mathematical operations concretely. Work with this material over a long period is critical to the full understanding of abstract mathematics for all but a few exceptional children. This process tends to develop in the child a much deeper understanding of mathematics. Introduction to the decimal system. Units, tens, hundreds, thousands are represented by specially prepared concrete learning materials that show the decimal hierarchy in three dimensional form: units = single beads, tens = a bar of 10 units, hundreds = 10 ten bars fastened together into a square, thousands = a cube ten units long ten units wide and ten units high. The children learn to first recognize the quantities, then to form numbers with the bead or cube materials through 9,999 and to read them back, to read and write numerals up to 9,999, and to exchange equivalent quantities of units for tens, tens for hundreds, etc. Linear Counting: learning the number facts to ten (what numbers make ten, basic addition up to ten); learning the teens (11 = one ten + one unit), counting by tens (34 = three tens + four units) to one hundred. Development of the concept of “dynamic” addition and subtraction through the manipulation of the concrete math materials. (Addition and subtraction where exchanging and regrouping of numbers is necessary.) Memorization of the basic math facts: adding and subtracting numbers under 10 without the aid of the concrete materials. Development of further abstract understanding of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication with large numbers through the Stamp Game (a manipulative system that represents the decimal system as color-keyed “stamps”) and the Small and Large Bead Frames (color-coded abacuses). Skip counting with the chains of the squares of the numbers from zero to ten: i.e., counting to 25 by 5′s, to 36 by 6′s, etc. Developing first understanding of the concept of the “square” of a number. Skip counting with the chains of the cubes of the numbers zero to ten: i.e., counting to 1,000 by ones or tens. Developing the first understanding of the concept of a “cube” of a number. Beginning the “passage to abstraction,” the child begins to solve problems with paper and pencil while working with the concrete materials. Eventually, the materials are no longer needed. Development of the concept of long multiplication and division through concrete work with the bead and cube materials. Development of more abstract understanding of “short” division through more advanced manipulative materials (Division Board). Money: units, history, equivalent sums, foreign currencies (units and exchange). Sensorial exploration of plane and solid figures at the Primary level the children learn to recognize the names and basic shapes of plane and solid geometry through manipulation of special wooden geometric insets. They then learn to order them by size or degree. Study of the basic properties and definitions of the geometric shapes. This is essentially as much a reading exercise as mathematics since the definitions are part of the early language materials.
The children are given an introduction to physical and cultural geography through the use of wooden puzzle maps and other activities. Studies about countries and activities with objects and snacks from other countries, and international celebrations are all part of geography.
The Puzzle Maps These are specially made maps in the forms of intricate, color-coded, wooden jigsaw puzzles representing the continents, the countries of each continent, and the states of the U.S. Learn the names of given countries, the continents of the globe, the nations of North America, South America, and Europe, along with most of the states of the U.S.
Land & Water Formations: materials designed to help the very young child understand basic land and water formations such as island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay, etc. At first, they are represented by three-dimensional models of each, complete with water. Then the children learn to recognize the shapes on maps, and learn about famous examples of each.
Countries are studied in many ways. A number of festivals are held every year to focus on specific cultures and to celebrate life together: Anything that the children find interesting is used to help them become familiar with the countries of the world: flags, boundaries, food, climate, traditional dress, houses, major cities, children’s toys and games, stamps, coins, traditional foods, art, music, and history. This interweaves through the entire curriculum.
First puzzles representing the biological parts of flowers, root systems, and trees, along with the anatomical features of common animals. These are first used by very young children and puzzles, then as a means to learn the vocabulary, then are related to photos and/or the “real thing,” then traced onto paper, and finally with labels as a reading experience.
Botany: identifying, naming, and labeling the parts of plants, trees, leaves, roots, and flowers.
Zoology: identifying, naming, and labeling the external parts of human beings, insects, fish, birds, and other animals.
Introduction of the families of the animal kingdom, and identification and classification of animals into the broad families. Introduction to the basic characteristics, lifestyles, habitats, and means of caring for young of each family in the animal kingdom
Kindergarten daily schedule
|8.00 am – 8.50 am||Before school (Breakfast time, reading books and free play)|
|8.50am – 9.00am||Arrival|
|9.00am – 11.30 am||Montessori instruction. (Snack is provided)|
|11.30am – noon||Outside playing time|
|Noon||Dismissal for half day children|
|Noon – 1.00pm||Lunch time|
|1.00 pm – 3.00pm||Montessori work for enriching reading, writing and math|
|3.00 pm – 4.00 pm||snack and instructional game time|
|3.30 pm – 3.40 pm||Dismissal|
|3.30- 5.30pm||After School Free Play time|