Children in the preschool programs are offered an array of opportunities to discover the joys of learning. Our Montessori classrooms promote self-discipline, responsibility, and independence. They feature child-sized furnishings and learning materials organized in such a way that children can move freely about the room to select and participate in activities in specific work areas during the day. The materials are specifically designed to be self-correcting, so that they encourage children to learn on their own under the careful guidance of their teachers.
Unity School’s preschool program develops a broad academic foundation in math, language, history, botany, zoology, physical science, geography, music, and art. Practical life skills are included, allowing children to enjoy opportunities to experience carpentry, gardening, cooking, and cleaning. Each student is observed and directed as they explore Montessori tools designed to develop their sense of order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Children are encouraged to independently complete work, activities, and chores. They become confident and self-reliant as they learn to read, write, and calculate, and most importantly, they have FUN!
Afternoon enrichment opportunities are also available to preschool children. Programs such as yoga, kido-kinetics, Mad Science, cooking, Fun Bus, and more are selected to further develop the skills learned in the classroom.
1. Toddler Program (ages 2 – 2.5 years; teacher-student ratio is 1:4)
Children in the toddler program explore the learning centers under teacher supervision. Independence is encouraged in every activity, as the children develop self-esteem and respect for others and the materials in the classroom. Children develop their gross motor skills daily through the use of balls, low balance beams, and playground equipment in their dedicated outdoor covered playground.
2. Orientation Program (ages 2.6 – 3.2 years; teacher-student ratio is 1:7)
Children in orientation work through the learning centers with an emphasis on sharing and cooperation. Both independent and peer work are encouraged as children use various materials and learning tools. Music is also incorporated into the daily routine, and the children love completing their first art projects. The dedicated orientation playground allows for the daily development of fine motor skills through the use of sand trays, buckets, shovels, and other manipulative tools.
3. Preschool Curriculum (ages 3.3 – 4.11 years; teacher-student ratio is 1:9)
The tools in the preschool classroom encourage learning through logic and sequence. Lessons isolate each concept and present them in specific order to allow children to evolve from experience-based learning toward increasingly more abstract thought. The environment truly encourages exploration and discovery. The preschool facilities include large classrooms and dedicated playgrounds used for outdoor play. Art and music give the children an opportunity for creative self-expression, and they are also introduced to weekly Spanish and Lessons in Living programs.
The Montessori Education Method
The Montessori education method, which is named after Maria Montessori, emphasizes an educational system of materials that are designed to arouse a child’s natural interests producing a level of concentration that does not tire or annoy the child. Children in Montessori classrooms, such as those at Unity School, move freely around the classroom from one set of materials to another. The classroom is prepared with multisensory and manipulative learning devices for language, math, science, and practical living. The Montessori trained instructors act as observers and catalysts to steer the children without dominating them. Self-motivation and individualized learning are at the core of teaching the Montessori education method.
||Biography: Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician-educator born in 1870. She was the first woman in Italy to be awarded a medical degree and began her career working with retarded children at the University of Rome Psychiatric Clinic. She adapted her methods of teaching children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to a mainstream classroom in 1907. In 1934, Maria Montessori fled the fascist government in Italy and settled in the Netherlands where she died in 1952.