PRIMARY PROGRAM (ages 3-6 years)
Our carefully prepared, mixed-age classrooms contain the many materials scientifically developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. The teacher guides the children’s work which allows them to move forward at their own pace. The students become self-confident, and enthusiastic and joyful learners. The oldest children in the Primary classroom are leaders, role models and helpers for the younger children, and the younger children look up to and learn from their older peers.
Care and respect for self, others, and the environment are presented within the curriculum. These are seen in basic self-care skills, social skills, and care for materials in the classroom. The students learn to trust themselves, to recognize their own competence, to make decisions and to understand how their behavior affects others.
Maria Montessori believed that children have the innate ability to explore and learn on their own. The adults in the classroom act as guides for the child, showing new ways to explore the core curriculum areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language and Culture.
Practical life activities are deliberately designed to have a long series of individual steps. Everything is ordered logically, from left to right, top to bottom (this also prepares the child to follow from left to right when learning to read). The Practical Life area instills care for oneself, others and the environment through everyday living activities such as pouring, sweeping, tying, threading, spooning, zipping and buttoning. These tasks foster concentration, coordination, and fine motor skills. Additionally, they lay the foundation for future academic work as these tasks promote concentration, order, and a healthy work cycle.
Children this age use their senses to explore the world. They enjoy the beautiful sensorial materials and learn to compare and contrast, to discern slight differences, to refine information obtained through their senses, and to order and classify sensorial impressions. Montessori materials provide a bridge from the known to the unknown, and children evolve gradually from concrete, experience-based learning toward increasingly abstract thought.
All materials are a concrete representation of a single concept such as texture, length or quantity. For example, the Pink Tower is made up of ten graduated wooden cubes that vary only in size - not by color, pattern or any other detail that could distract the child from focusing on stacking the cubes from largest to smallest. The "self correcting" design of the materials allows for any error made in their use to be obvious without intervention from a teacher. Errors are viewed as a necessary and helpful part of the learning process.
Language expands as children see, smell, taste, hear, touch and further explore the materials. They begin to classify and eventually name objects and attributes in their environment, such as colors, shapes, dimensions and textures. One example of this is the Sandpaper Letters which associates each spoken sound with its symbol (letter) while providing tactile, auditory and visual connections that support the development of writing and eventually reading.
Young children are intrigued by math - knowing "how much" or "how many" provides another dimension for understanding the world. Montessori materials and lessons help children to understand math concepts through manipulation of sequential hands-on materials. This builds a secure foundation of math principles, skills and problem-solving abilities.
Cultural subjects, including science, geography, history, music and art are integrated into the child's daily experience. They develop a sense of respect for differences and understand that all cultures share similar needs - food, clothing, and shelter. Young children are natural scientists. Watching and caring for classroom pets and plants creates an interest in science lessons and a reverence for life. Children in the primary classroom receive classes with an environmental education specialist each week.
Art, Music and Spanish
The Primary Program integrates art, music, Spanish and movement throughout the morning to give the children an opportunity for creative and joyful self-expression. This can include dancing, singing, and read-aloud during group time.
Our Primary program is a 5 day program that runs from 8:30 - 11:30. The day begins at 8:30 with children coming together for a morning meeting as the community greets each other to start the day.
Teachers offer lessons throughout the morning and the work cycle allows for freedom to move from one activity to the next at the student's own pace. Students explore and engage with hands-on, multi-sensory materials either alone or with a partner. They may also choose to read in the book corner, create art at the art table or have a healthy snack outside with their peers. They also have recess each morning on the playground or discovery garden and at the end of the morning, children come together again before saying goodbye to each other before class ends at 11:30.
BEFORE and AFTER CARE, YEAR-ROUND CARE
WRM offers Before Care as early as 7:00 A.M. and Daycare until 3:00 P.M. or 6:00 P.M.
We have two options available:
Option 1: 12-month year-round program (start in June)
Option 2: 9-month school-year program (August through May)
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WHITE ROCK MONTESSORI PRIMARY ENVIRONMENT
Two preschool classrooms, each consisting of twenty-four children, ages 3-6
Two Montessori-certified teachers are in each classroom; the student/teacher ratio is 12:1
Weekly classes with faculty specialists in music, Spanish, and environmental education
All children attend five days per week
Older children typically attend from 8:30 A.M. -3:00 P.M.
Younger children typically attend the half-day program, from 8:30 A.M.-11:30 A.M.
Children remain in the same classroom with the same teachers throughout preschool and kindergarten.
Classrooms are self-paced/Individualized