Early Childhood: Preschool - First Grade
Serving students age 18 months through First Grade
Our early childhood program (preschool, kindergarten, and first grade) is rooted in the Montessori philosophy of education, which was developed more than 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). The Italian physician, educator, and innovator rigorously and systematically studied the ways children naturally learn — from infancy into adulthood. Based on this deep understanding of human development, her holistic approach values the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive dimensions of a child.
At the core of the method is Dr. Montessori’s finding that children are naturally eager to learn and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. The Montessori classroom includes multiage groupings that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work — using specially designed Montessori materials — that inspire and excites children to learn. Classroom areas include practical life, sensorial, math, science, language, and cultural studies.
A Montessori experience encourages a sense of order, concentration, coordination, and independence — which Dr. Montessori found are paramount to nurturing not only young children but essential to creating lifelong, inspired learners. It is this foundation that inspires our vision and the whole of our program.
Our low student-to-teacher ratios enable us to provide a premier Montessori experience to our Early Childhood students. Our Toddler ratio is 4 students to 1 teacher. In Preschool, the ratio is 8:1; and in Kindergarten and First Grade, it's 12:1. These are real classroom ratios, numbers you will see directly reflected in the classrooms.
On a typical day in any one of our Montessori classrooms, this is what you might see:
- A child self-selecting a cultural work based on her interests: drawing flags of the world.
- A child seated in the Practical Life area, using tongs to sort.
- A child doing a Language work: using the moveable alphabet to construct a sentence.
- A child doing a Math work: problem solving using bead chains.
- A child constructing a relief map, using dough, of South America's biomes.
- A child munching on a snack of sliced bananas that she prepared in Practical Life.
All the while, the teachers are circulating, observing, and guiding the students with feedback that helps them grow. The room is quiet. No matter where you chose to focus your attention, you see, hear, and feel order, concentration, coordination, and independence at work.