Cherry Blossom, Honeysuckle & Redwood
Ages 18 months to 3-1/2 year olds
Pre-Primary is the time when the true introduction to the Montessori environment begins! At this stage, a child's curiosity is heightened and the desire to explore is expansive. Children are engaged in their classroom by various child-sized materials that give them a sense of satisfaction as they learn to be more independent and develop confidence.
The environment is designed to honor and foster natural need for movement, “sensory experience”, and meaningful work. Basic motor coordination, independence and language development are cultivated and individual personalities are respected. Children are engaged in social learning and experiences while routines are beginning to be established at this stage.
In Pre-Primary, the students use many Practical Life materials in their daily activities. These materials enable children to practice activities such as pouring, sweeping, tweezing and scooping. These activities are a critical part of the Montessori education in various ways because it allows the children to develop skills such as hand-eye coordination, concentration and attention to detail. Toileting, dressing, feeding themselves and mastery of routine tasks are also Practical Life skills that develop fine and gross motor skills, independence, self-esteem, sense of order and a joy of learning.
Children will also begin to learn colors, counting and words. They begin to gain their readiness for reading and writing, as well as mathematics. Students learn concrete concepts at this level in order to prepare them for the rest of their education. For this stage most toddler works are self-correcting; like a puzzle, the child is able to see when a piece has not been put in right, it doesn’t fit. This builds a child’s desire for internal correction, rather than an adult telling them they did it wrong. Many of the works are simple and direct, and focus on the skill that is being refined.
This is also the time in which students are introduced to grace and courtesy, a fundamental part of the Montessori philosophy. This allows children to have respect for their classroom and for their classmates. The lessons in grace and courtesy help fill a child’s need for order and social structure. This will in turn help them to feel more at ease and comfortable in their classroom.
The Pre-Primary program at Clever Oaks seeks to highlight skills that emphasize a child’s confidence and ability to complete tasks independently. Montessori promotes discovery through the hands as a pathway to the mind, so we seek to ensure that all of the work is hands on and engaging for the child.
Pre-Primary children have an afternoon rest and nap time. Children play outdoors at least twice daily, weather permitting; otherwise there is an indoor gross motor environment. Additionally, enrichment programs for Pre-Primary children include Physical Education, Spanish, Art and Garden classes.