Extended Day Program
Age 5 - 11:30 to 3:00 daily
Maria Montessori designed her preschool program as a three year learning cycle. We would prefer that parents commit for three years because the full value of the program cannot be realized in one or two years. We often compare this three year cycle to the three period lesson that we use to promote and assess learning of vocabulary. In the first lesson the child is just exposed to the new vocabulary e.g. "This is a cube." In the second lesson the child is given two objects and is asked to "show me the cube". After much experience with a cube, building and playing games, when we are sure the child will succeed we ask, "What is this shape?" Thus in the first year of Montessori the child is learning the ground rules and what and where everything is. In the second year, the child is learning facility in all of the areas, but in the third year the child begins to master the environment and to lead others. The lessons of the Montessori environment are being solidified and internalized in his/her mind.
Have you noticed an increase in confidence in your child since being in Montessori? Have you seen their love of learning increase? Most parents say they see this happen. Why is this? In Montessori, children are free to move, manipulate and make choices within structure, to consult with others when learning. The teacher is there as a guide and uses positive authority. There is a whole body of research that shows these conditions are most conducive for learning to take place. Unfortunately the public schools, although improved over the years, are based on a factory model where children are encouraged to stay at a table or desk, to work independently and to receive information from the teacher. Children are held to arbitrary curriculum guidelines. These conditions can put a damper on a child's enthusiasm.
In Montessori we see children's confidence increase especially in the third year. They have waited two years to be the oldest and this is their year to be the leaders and helpers for the younger ones. Many enjoy giving the younger ones lessons, helping them dress etc.
The third year is the year that the child's work in the first two years culminates academically as well. The lessons that they have worked on become cemented in their minds and they advance to materials that are unique to Montessori such as the decimal system golden beads and the Montessori square and cube chains in math and advanced work with the puzzle maps and rich reading materials in the language area.
In the third year the child may attend the Extended Day Class. He/she attends his regular morning class and then at 11:30 comes up to the upstairs preschool class to join other 5 year olds for Extended Day. Children take turns setting out plates and preparing the tables for lunch. After lunch there is outside play with the Elementary Class and then children come in and "extend" their work time until 2:45.
Along with many other choices, children are asked to make some choices from the advanced academic materials. We have Spanish class twice a week. The class is capped at 12 children and I (Kerri) am the directress or teacher.
This is a wonderful small group in which the children form strong bonds with their peers. There is a lot of intense large and small group cooperative play. The children take responsibility for brainstorming solutions to social conflicts.
We know for some withdrawing your child is a financial decision or perhaps you think your child is excited about riding the bus or should get settled in his/her new school in kindergarten. I would ask you to consider Montessori for your child for the kindergarten year. Please feel free to contact me for a date to observe in the Extended Day Class.
Written by Kerri
Extended Day Directress