Practical life activities are the first task the student is introduced to in the Montessori environment, as they can immediately satisfy each child’s inner desire for skills and self-sufficiency. Upon arrival at school, we begin with a routine schedule of free choice activity, circle and group time, snack, and outdoor play, with designated days for special activities. In addition, your child will be surrounded by meaningful language activities to promote expressive and receptive skills to enhance the learning value of each new experience. (S)he will also be exposed to a variety of tactile activities for numbers, letters, literature, science, art, music, geography, and culture.
Children begin their introduction to reading readiness skills using the Lippincott Shapebook Series. This series contains important skills and concepts necessary for continual expressive and receptive language development, advanced categorization, visual tracking skills, and the development of auditory awareness and cognition. We also will begin the introduction of letter/sounds correspondence, recognition of the alphabet, counting and number recognition, and weather/calendar events. Students will partake in daily Practical Life Exercises to further advance their left/right correspondence, balance, and upper body coordination, and will be involved in advanced sorting, pouring, and transferring skills to help develop the pincer grip for future writing activities. Critical thinking, information analysis, and the ability to creatively draw conclusions are areas that begin to develop when children are presented with inviting topics of discussions.
At this stage we continue to develop oral language skills and readiness for written language. Simultaneously, we concentrate on developing fine motor skills such as pencil grip, writing dexterity, and cutting. Throughout the course of the year, concepts we will cover include upper/lower case letter formation, sound/letter distinction, repetition of sound patterns, auditory awareness, recognition of printed/written name, 3-letter phonetic blending, hand/eye coordination and letter positioning, and narrative retention. Montessori language materials such as movable alphabet and tactile sandpaper letters are incorporated at this stage of learning to aid in the concrete development of letters and words.
A child’s level of math exposure is individualized at this age. We acknowledge these diverse levels and work at a pace that is comfortable for each child. Among others, children will be exposed to the following math concepts in both small group settings and individually: writing and recognizing numbers up to 50+, telephone numbers/addresses, simple addition/subtraction using Montessori beads, telling time, money concepts, geometric shapes, more/less than, initial measurement concepts, fractions, and interpretation of graphs, charts, and tables.
Advanced practical life skills such as lacing/tying shoes, transferring liquid, and complex puzzle solving are introduced at this stage, as well as grace, courtesy, and housekeeping lessons. Critical thinking, information analysis, and the ability to creatively design solutions are continually honed in the context of invigorating and age-appropriate discussions.
Children entering this group have developed strong phonemic and rhyming skills, and are well equipped to employ consonant/vowel recognition. They will continue with the Lippincott Letterbook Series, completing all 24 books by June. Having developed a lengthy attention span, students work in small group settings and individually to accomplish their own specific reading goals, both working independently and assisting other peers in need of help.
Reading concepts consist of the following: discrimination of accumulated letters/sounds; blending 3-5 letter words and short phonetic sentences; reading short phonetic stories; short/long vowel sounds; writing short phonetic stories in their journals; advanced recall of details; refining handwriting skills; advanced cutting, coloring and tracing skills; independent work; recall of events through coordination of literature activities.
Mathematic concepts consist of the following: writing numbers to 100+; counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, 100s; negative integers; inequalities; place value (to the thousandths place); addition/subtraction/regrouping using Montessori beads (hundreds place); fractions/comparisons; time (hour, half hour, to the minute); advance money concepts such as adding, subtracting, and counting change; solving word problems; measurement (inches, centimeters, perimeter, area); advanced interpretation of charts, graphs, tables; introduction to Roman numerals; and introduction to multiplication.
Practical life skills continue to be developed, and are put into practice.