Pre-Kindergarten (Morning, 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon)
Our preschool program is for children who are 3 - 6 years of age. The preschool program starts at 9:00 AM and ends at 12:00 noon. The kindergarten program is 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Parents who need additional childcare, before and after school, may enroll for 7:00-9:00 AM, 12:00-3:00 PM and/or 3:00-6:00 PM. In our preschool and kindergarten classes the child to adult ratio is 12:1 or 10:1.
The Montessori preschool classroom is a high activity area where children choose their work from a variety of manipulative and self-correcting materials that are easily accessible to them from shelves within their reach. In addition to the assistants, the Montessori Directress is always present to offer instructions or help when needed. Children work in specific areas that correlate to their development and abilities. Within each area are practical exercises and materials that help develop the child’s sensorial, physical and intellectual skills.
During the preschool years, our children develop in a “harmonized and normalized community”. In this environment, children become more disciplined and focused on their work, are less distracted by ongoing activities of other children, learn to cope with the physical and social environment around them by doing activities and managing materials in an orderly fashion, and by respecting other children and their space. Each child develops and acquires skills at his/her own pace, and the Montessori Directress, like a coach, directs and creates the environment for the children who are self-motivated to learn.
Kindergarten (Full Day, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM)
The kindergarten program is a continuation of the preschool program. The biggest difference between the two programs is that the kindergarten children are in the school from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, five days a week, with an hour of lunch and outdoor activity. Children graduating from preschool into the kindergarten program are usually six or seven years old.
During the morning part of the kindergarten program, the five and six year olds are in the same class as the preschool children, but work with more advanced materials. Mixing ages provides kindergarten children with abundant opportunities to develop leadership skills and responsibility and gives them greater social diversity. The core of our kindergarten curriculum is language, mathematics, and geography. In addition to the core kindergarten curriculum, the child is also presented with history, science, and public speaking experiences.
The language work includes oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, and creative dramatics. The language materials include objects and pictures to be named, matched, labeled and classified to aid in vocabulary development. Phonics and the movable alphabet lead the child toward reading and writing. Most of the children are able to read and write very well when they graduate from kindergarten.
The Montessori math materials, through concrete manipulative materials, allow the child to internalize the concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations and memorization of basic facts. Development of the concept of the four basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication happen through work with the Golden Bead Material and other materials introduced by Dr. Maria Montessori. These processes tend to develop in the child a much deeper understanding of mathematics. The children are taught to tell time. They are introduced to money, fractions and story problems. They learn multiplication tables with the help of bead chains from the bead cabinet.
The children are given an introduction to physical and cultural geography through the use of wooden puzzle maps and other activities. They are introduced to the seven continents and the oceans and the animals from each continent. They learn about different countries and their capitals. They are introduced to humankind’s search to understand geologic forces such as volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes and Pangaea.
Science includes many nature related activities. Studies of plants and animals include parts of various plants, vertebrates, habitats and weather conditions that support particular plants and animals. Kindergarten children also learn about the planets and solar system, the human brain, deserts, photosynthesis and many other interesting topics.
Our music teacher teaches them to sing in many different languages. They learn about one famous music composer every year. They are shown work from a lot of famous artists. They also focus on the life and artwork of one famous artist every year. With the assistance of the art teacher the children replicate some of the selected artist’s work.
The kindergarteners are given rich academic education in a comfortable and loving environment.
Lower Elementary Program (Full Day, 8:00 AM - 3:15 PM)
Our lower elementary program is a full-time, high-achievement, comprehensive academic program for students ages six to nine. The lower elementary program is characterized by the following four features: its class structure, its ability to maximize potential, its emphasis on peace and world education, and its emphasis on science.
1. Class Structure:
Small class size: Our small class size (with one teacher to a maximum of ten students) allows for individual attention and intensive one-on-one work when needed.
Multi-age environment: Our lower elementary class includes children from three grades (first, second, and third grade), which allows the children to work together in unique ways. The older children help the younger children, and therefore reinforce skills they learned by “teaching” them, while allowing the younger children to look up to their older peers as role models. The children learn to take care of each other, which is beneficial for the social development that is critical for this age group.
Three-year cycle: The lower elementary program is a three-year cycle, which means that each child stays in the same class with the same teacher for three years. This allows students to quickly fall back into their routine at the beginning of each year and develop strong bonds with their peers throughout the period. Returning students are also able to help new students settle into their routine.
2. Maximizing Potential:
Individualized work: Students in the lower elementary program work with an individualized work plan at their own pace. Each child is unique and works toward achieving his of her specific academic goals so each child may move on to the next level, once a topic is mastered, even when his or her classmates are not ready to do the same. This allows each child to progress through different subjects based on his or her ability.
Immediate feedback: All work done by the students is either self-corrected or corrected by a teacher. Either way, each student gets immediate feedback on his or her work and, if the work needs to be corrected, he or she gets a chance to try again before the teacher intervenes and explains how to do the work properly. This gives each child an opportunity to learn on his or her own while still having guidance and supervision.
Time-management: The students are taught to follow a work-cycle that involves: choosing a task, setting up the task, completing the task, recording the task in a notebook, correcting the task, having the task reviewed by a teacher, and cleaning up the task before moving onto a new task. All of the steps are carried out independently by the students under teacher supervision, giving them critical time-management skills that will serve them through their working life. Being able to work independently also helps to build students’ confidence.
Love of learning: The students are able to take ownership of their education by choosing their own work, within certain parameters, that helps foster a life-long love of learning.
3. Emphasis on Peace and World Education:
Cultural curriculum: At the International Montessori School, we want our students to be citizens of the world. Through our rich cultural curriculum and daily activities, we emphasize tolerance, conflict resolution, and the joy of learning about the many different customs and traditions in our world. We strive to develop cultural awareness through international festivals, celebrations of many different holidays, and research projects on countries around the world.
Languages: In addition to English, the students are also given weekly Spanish lessons taught by a native Spanish speaker.
Environmental care: We encourage our students to take care of their classroom, their communities, and the environment through recycling, service projects, and discussions about our planet.
4. Emphasis on Science:
Scientific education: We recognize the growing importance of science in our world and offer a strong science program to introduce our students to scientific thinking and reasoning through lessons, work, and experiments.
Our lower elementary program includes at least the following activities on a daily and weekly basis:
3-hours of uninterrupted individual work in the morning in the areas of Language Arts, Math, and Culture
Individual silent reading
Attending to the classroom work environment
Art & Music lessons
History & Geography lessons
Zoology & Botany lessons
General Science lessons
Current Affairs discussions