Each year there will be students who progress academically, physically, socially and mentally to the point that they would benefit by moving to a level offering more challenging opportunities in keeping with their level of development. Readiness criteria differs from level to level and program placements are not determined solely by academic ability or age.
The Infant Program
6 weeks to 15 months of age
The Infant Program specifically embraces children ages 6 weeks up to 12 –15 months of age or not yet walking. These children sleep in cribs, drink from a bottle or are nursing, or maybe just learning how to drink from a cup. The infants in this program receive loving attention throughout the day from two trained teachers continuously throughout the day. The infant schedule allows the children to sleep, eat, play and learn on their own individual schedule. Teachers in the Infant Room are immediately aware of the needs of each child and attend to the child’s needs gently and always in a caring manner. Diapers are checked and changed at least every hour or more often if necessary. Infants may be changed in the child’s crib or at the changing station where warm running water is within arm’s reach.
The Toddler Program
15 months up to 36 months of age
The Toddler Program accommodates children that are walking and from around 15 – 18 months up to 36 months of age but not yet potty trained. These young learners are beginning work in the early Montessori method materials with the help and assistance of a lead teacher and trained assistants. The Toddler Program supports young children learning to potty on their own but with guidance as needed. There is a range of developmental practices for children gaining their independence as young walkers and talkers. An emphasis at this level is placed on gross and fine motor development and language development in a supportive and nurturing environment. Toddlers are given every opportunity to use the restroom on a modified schedule to encourage the “natural” rhythm of their bodies as they begin to adjust to a routine. At no time is any child chastised for “accidents”. This is to be expected as part of the learning process.
The Toddler Program will be divided into two subgroups:
Toddler I: Early Learners Group
Toddler II: Pre-Primary Group
The Primary Program
3 years of age up to 6 years of age
The Primary Program is for children 3 years of age and potty-trained up to 6 years of age, which includes children that may not be ready for kindergarten. The Primary program under the direction of a lead teacher trained in the Pan-American Montessori Society (PAMS) program encourages each child to work with materials at their own pace and of their own choosing to accomplish the goals established by both the child and the guide together. The child in this program has reached a stage in which repetition and manipulation of the environment is critical to the development of concentration, coordination, independence, and a sense of order. The child learns skills for everyday living, sorting, grading, classifying – all of which lead to a development of skills in writing and reading, and the formation of the mathematical mind.
The Lower Elementary Program
6 years through 9 years of age
The Lower Elementary Program is a multi- age learning environment for children 6 through 9 years old or the equivalent of first through third grade. For the 2016-17 school year, the Lower Elementary class was comprised of Kindergarten and 1st grade students. This year the class is comprised of Kindergarten, first and second grade students. In 2018 -2019 the grades will begin with first grade through third grade. Kindergarten age students will remain in the Primary class.
The elementary classroom is a warm community with a highly trained teacher and materials that invite exploration and research. Children learn to face challenges with confidence, and begin to find their own place in the world around them.
Maria Montessori summed up the 6 to 9 classroom thusly:
“The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names. Now he is interested mainly in the how and why...the problem of cause and effect.”
Children learn to face challenges with confidence, and begin to find their own place in the world around them.