Children's House

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Children's House Classroom (Ages 2 years 10 months - 6 years)

Each of our four Children’s House rooms is made up of twenty-four children of multiple ages. There are three adults in each room. The room is a calm and peaceful setting and a specially prepared environment designed to assist children with developing their full potential. The children stay in one classroom for the three year cycle (or a little more depending on age), culminating in the Kindergarten year.

Each child is guided to develop concentration, coordination, a healthy work cycle, care for the environment, reality based creativity, and a good sense of self within the classroom community. Independence and attention to tasks are developed by the use of concrete materials in various areas of the classroom.  It is the task of the Guide, based on the child’s readiness, to determine when the next lesson should be presented. The child is then free to perfect the work at his or her own pace.

At any given moment in a Children's House classroom, you might see:_MG_3355.jpg

  • A three year old developing self-control by using tongs. He picks up stones and places them together according to their colors. The activity teaches children to sort, sequence, and classify. These are essential for developing cognitive abilities. He next practices the phonetic sounds of the letters b, c, h, m, t, and a. When he is older, he will blend these letters together and read bat, cat, hat, and mat.
  • A four year old using mathematical objects to build quantities such as 4,537. She develops an understanding of place value as she selects seven unit beads, three ten bars, five hundred squares, and four thousand cubes. She next practices handwriting by tracing different geometric shapes. She will also learn the names of each shape such as isosceles obtuse triangle, parallelogram, oval, and quatrefoil.
  • A five year old carefully tracing geographical puzzle pieces that represent the nations of Asia. She then colors and correctly labels each piece; for example, India, China, Japan, Pakistan. Another five year old completes a subtraction activity 3,567 – 2,978 while several other children read independently.

A Children’s House classroom offers some 150 learning activities. Each child works and grows at his or her own pace with an individualized curriculum.  The learning activities are grouped into these five curricular areas:

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1)  Practical Life: The children engage in a variety of activities that assist with developing caring for themselves and their environment. The practical life activities serve many purposes in addition to helping them acquire the requisite skills of living. Particularly important is the refinement of fine motor control, the development of extended concentration, perseverance in task  completion, independence, and respect for themselves and the community. Examples of this work include: food preparation, polishing, scrubbing, pouring, dressing, and lessons in Grace and Courtesy.

2)  Sensorial: This area of the curriculum includes material that is designed to help the child understand, categorize, distinguish, and relate new information to what they already know. They learn precise information about the environment and its properties. Each piece of material is designed to isolate a single quality: color, weight, dimension, texture, shape, smell, tone, taste, etc. This sensory foundation provides the base for physical and cognitive activities in all future learning.

3)  Culture: This area envelopes that which is "human" including social activities, science, geography, history, art, and more.  These subjects are presented in the environment in a flexible, responsive manner and the needs and interests of each child are considered as each lesson is offered. An emphasis on respect for nature is a highly valued aspect of this area.

4)  Language: Language is found in most lessons as children learn the proper names of materials and concepts. Vocabulary is enriched through special exercises presented by the Guide. By using sandpaper letters the children are introduced to the phonetic sounds of each letter. They begin to move from oral to visual communication at their own comfort level and begin to write words using a movable alphabet Crucial to our approach is the understanding that writing precedes reading. Soon children begin to write their own words and stories only to discover that these can then be read as such. This is one of the strongest "sensitive periods" in the Children’s House.

5)  Mathematics: The children learn concepts of math through manipulation of concrete materials that will lead them, at a later age, to thinking mathematically. Each material isolates a single concept so that Montessori 2014 (55).jpgthe child may understand clearly as they grow in knowledge. They learn first the idea of quantity, then the idea of a symbol, and then understand the concept of numbers and problem solving skills so important in Elementary I.

These and the many other activities found in the prepared environment promote the development of each child’s individual, unique capabilities. Children learn through discovery and exploration. They investigate specially designed materials that represent ideas and concepts found in mathematics, language, geography, art, music, geometry, history, and science. Your child will learn to use the classroom materials through individual and small group lessons. 

The kindergarten year is a special time in a child’s Montessori education... click here to find out more.

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