Early Childhood and Kindergarten

Welcome to Swan River Montessori Children’s House Program (Ages 3-Kindergarten)

As early as three years old, children may begin their Montessori journey in Swan River’s Children’s House Program. Each classroom is beautifully equipped with specifically designed Montessori materials in all subject areas. Indirect lighting and heated carpet flooring allow for a comfortable environment where children are encouraged to move freely and with purpose.

The Children’s’ House Curriculum

The Montessori method of education focuses on and accomodates each child’s individual ability level. After presenting the appropriate learning materials to a child at individual or group lessons, the teacher then assesses the academic needs of each student through careful observation of their performance with the materials. Therefore, each child advances according to his or her ability in all areas within the curriculum, which allows for mastery of each lesson.

Sensitive Periods

Dr. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method, recognized that children experience “sensitive periods” or times during development when they are the most sensitive and open for learning particular subject matter. The different areas of the Children’s House are structured with these needs in mind. For example, in the preschool years it is very important that children develop proper coordination in their hands and wrist to prepare them for writing. That is one of the primary purposes of the practical life and sensorial areas of the curriculum.

The Child as the Center

In the Montessori classroom the child is the center of attention, not the teacher. The teacher assumes the role of a guide in the child’s development, introducing lessons and facilitating the child’s progress, helping the child to maximize his/her potential. Children are encouraged to find answers independently rather than relying on a teacher to provide them.

Freedom With Responsibility

Each child is allowed certain freedoms within their classroom environment. First, they are allowed the freedom of movement – to move throughout the classroom as he or she desires as long as this movement is with purpose and is not distracting others. Children may also choose where s/he would like to work whether it be at a table or on the floor with a mat. Second, each child is free to choose what material they would like to work with during each work period as long as the child has received a formal lesson on that material. The third freedom, the freedom to repeat, allows each child to work with a piece of material for any amount of time as often as they desire. This is greatly encouraged as repetition leads to mastery.

Advancement

Because children learn and grow at different rates according to their development, it is very common for children in a Montessori classroom to be working on different materials with mastery being reached at different times. It is also common for children to be more advanced in some areas as compared to others. Within the Montessori classroom, this is not a problem. Montessori education accommodates each child’s individual needs in every subject matter.

Classroom Material

Integrated & Fundamental: Dr. Maria Montessori carefully constructed all materials to flow in a logical sequence to ensure a true understanding of the subject matter versus traditional schools that often jump right into higher abstractions. The nature of the Montessori curriculum is reality based meaning it begins with the use of manipulative materials then gradually moves to higher abstractions. This allows students to feel comfortable and confident with new work and higher concepts as they are introduced because the ground work has already been properly laid for his/her advancement. Another feature of the Montessori classroom is the integrated nature of the materials and curriculum. For example, a lesson in science may also involve mathematics and history.

Self-Correcting: Self-correcting materials allows a child to see for himself if he has obtained a correct answer, freeing the teacher to introduce more work to other children. Being able to correct one’s own answers promotes independence because the child sees that he can do it himself. Independence then leads to confidence, which is crucial for the development of self-esteem.

Primary Subject Areas:

-Mathematics
-Language
-Geography & Social Studies
-Science
-Practical Life
-Sensorial
-Art

Class Sizes

-Morning classes = 20 students
-Afternoon kindergarten classes = 12 students
-Afternoon preschool class = Up to 18 students (depending on yearly enrollment)

Daily Schedule

9:10am Morning mixed-age classes begin

-Attendance & lunch count
-Discussion of the morning’s events
-Large group lessons

 9:30am Work time

-Students work within the classroom
-Individual lessons are presented by teachers

11:30am Outdoor recess

12:00 Morning-only students are dismissed

-Lunch for full day students

12:30 Mid-day transition

-Students separate into their afternoon classrooms.
-Kindergarten students remain in the two Montessori classrooms.
-Full-day preschool children enter the Extended Care classroom.

PM Kindergarten Classes

12:30pm Afternoon kindergarten class begins

-Attendance
-Discussion of the afternoon’s events
-Large group lessons

12:45 Work time

-Students work within the classroom
-Individual lessons are presented by teacher

3:00pm Kindergarten outdoor recess

3:20pm Dismissal

PM Preschool Class

12:30pm Afternoon preschool begins

-Attendance
-Discussion of the afternoon’s events
-Large group lessons

1:00pm Activity time

-Creative/dramatic play
-Arts and crafts
-Music and movement activities
-Rest time and snack

2:30pm Gross motor time at the Community Center

3:20pm Dismissal

**Beginning in October/November, full day preschool students go swimming at the Monticello Community Center most Friday afternoons.

**Kindergarten students go swimming at the Monticello Community Center once per month.

**Please note that the above times vary depending on the day of the week due to music, physical education, and art classes.