The Kindergarten Year at Montessori Academy

“She has come to expect that the tasks she tackles in her Montessori classroom may require persistence and repetition to master. She knows she’ll make mistakes – spill water on the floor or even break a beautiful ceramic bowl. Through her experiences she has learned that these mistakes are okay; that we can learn from them, move on, and still have fun in the process.”

 Adapted from LePort Montessori Schools

The work and activities designed specifically for the Montessori kindergarten student exemplify the spiral curriculum set forth by Maria Montessori. Students revisit concepts and build upon prior skills to deepen their knowledge and broaden their understanding. The kindergarten year is the culmination of the primary three year cycle which provides opportunities for children to be leaders in their environment, explore materials in advanced ways, approach new challenges and develop complex relationships. The past years in the Montessori environment have helped them to gain the self-confidence to be resilient as they face challenges. The relationships they have developed with their teachers assures them support will be available when necessary.

The kindergarten year is a time when the children gain greater responsibility and independence in the environment. This can be seen as they navigate their work plans and take initiative to care for themselves, each other, and their surroundings. Many times they share their knowledge with their younger peers which is not only a way for them to demonstrate their understanding, but also a chance for them to act as mentors in the environment. The social-emotional experiences and connections formed during the kindergarten year are an integral part of the Montessori curriculum.

Through Maria Montessori’s many observations of children, she identified “learning explosions,” defined as the sudden outward manifestation of a long process of internal growth. It is during these times that the children synthesize their prior knowledge and apply this knowledge to all facets of learning. The kindergarten curriculum at Montessori Academy of Chambersburg follows individual children as they progress from concrete to abstract understanding at their own pace and provides them tools and strategies for problem solving and conflict resolution.

In addition to witnessing this incredible curriculum each day as an administrator at Montessori Academy, I also had the pleasure of experiencing it firsthand when my oldest daughter was a kindergarten student. During her kindergarten year we saw tremendous strides in her self-confidence and motivation as well as her social-emotional growth as she developed empathy and formed peer relationships. These skills have implications far beyond the walls of the classroom and are an integral part of child development alongside academics. Paul Tough explains this in his book, How Children Succeed; Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character saying,What matters most in a child’s development is not how much information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us sometimes think of them as character”(Introduction, XV).

By choosing to enroll your child in kindergarten at Montessori Academy of Chambersburg you are providing an invaluable opportunity that will have lifelong benefits in the classroom and beyond.

 

 

Reference: Tough, P. 2013. How Children Succeed; Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. Mariner Books.