Madison Montessori’s Infant Program is committed to promoting quality Montessori infant care for children 12 to 18 months. The aim of our Montessori Infant Program is to foster the development of basic trust and to assist in the normal development of the child’s personality. This basic trust develops in an environment where people respond appropriately to the infant’s communication of needs to be loved, respected, and accepted. Infants learn through their senses. They learn by watching and moving freely. Freedom to move is essential to the development of the infant’s potential and is a big part of our classroom. Our day is a flexible sequence of routines and activities that reinforce the rhythmic patterns of activities of individual infants—not a rigid schedule. We hope to establish a partnership with the family in order to benefit the infant’s total development.
The toddler program is a caring, social environment specifically designed to meet the learning needs of young children. The prepared environment encourages children to explore materials that allow them to work at their own pace and develop self confidence, self control and independence. All materials are designed with control of error to aid children’s moves with grace and courtesy and most importantly to become confident in their environment. The prepared environment practices the five following areas:
Practical Life: Montessori believed that learning practical life skills was one of the best ways for young children to practice and develop their fine and gross motor skills, develop confidence in their abilities, develop independence, and learn to get along with others. Practical life skills include such things as cleaning and caring for the environment, and preparing food.
Sensorial: This part of the curriculum gives the child a means to organize his environment. They are given the opportunity to make comparisons: longer, shorter, broader, narrower, color names, etc. They build the mental frame for organization through the senses of touch, smell, sight and sound.
Language: This area centers on vocabulary enrichment and matching and sequencing activities. There are activities featuring both letter recognition and letter sounds. The skills used in matching (visual distinction) and sequencing are pre-reading skills.
Math: Many activities in the Toddler class include concepts such as one to one correspondence, and “greater than/ less than” and “as many as”. Activities with numerals and quantities are used up to the number 5.Culture: This area encompasses introduction to zoology, science, art and music.
The Madison Montessori Academy Casa Program provides a nurturing environment in which primary aged children are encouraged to develop their independence and self-confidence through an individualized curriculum created for each child. In the classroom children learn through the hands-on exploration of concrete materials and through the observation of the older children in the class. The classroom, being a multi-aged environment, encourages younger children to learn from their elder peers and allows the older children the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by becoming role models for their younger classmates. In the Casa class much attention is placed on assisting the child to develop their fine motor skills through the use of Montessori materials. This leads to a more explorative child who is confident to try more and more challenging materials in the classroom. Classrooms are designed to meet the needs of the children; therefore, teachers give presentations using age appropriate materials. The child begins their journey in the Practical Life and Sensorial Area and move into the Language, Math and Culture areas when they are ready. The classroom is divided into five areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math and Culture.
Practical Life: In this area the materials are designed to assist the child to develop their fine motor skills through everyday activities such as spooning, pouring, and stirring. They also learn to take care of themselves by learning how to tie their shoes and learning grace and courtesy. All materials aim to increase the child’s concentration and to nurture the child’s confidence in their ability to do things on their own.
Sensorial: In this area the child learns to refine their senses through the manipulation of Montessori materials. The materials are designed to facilitate the exploration of color, texture, shape, size, smell, taste, weight and sound. Through the use of these materials children begin to learn to categorize, which is a precursor to mathematics.
Language: In the language area, a phonetic approach is used to teach reading and writing. Children are taught the phonetic sounds of the letters of the alphabet before the names of the letters are introduced. Once children have learned the phonetic sounds of letters they are ready for constructing words using the moveable alphabet. Cursive writing is introduced alongside the phonetic sounds. Reading follows rapidly especially once the child is able to read the words they have constructed phonetically. As in all areas of the classroom, the language area is set up in such a way as to take advantage of the child’s different periods of interest.
Mathematics: The Montessori Casa child excels in mathematics due to their solid understanding of math concepts and operations. The math materials are developed exclusively to assist the child in gaining a firm foundation in enumeration. The concrete math materials are designed to represent all types of quantities and can be used to perform different mathematical operations. Mathematics in the Montessori environment always begins with the use of concrete manipulatives and slowly moves the child towards the abstract. Children become interested in mathematics when they are able to see, touch and move the objects with which they are enumerating.
Culture: In the culture area, the Casa child is introduced to all things dealing with our planet and the universe. They have lessons in geography, history, botany, zoology, science, art and music.
Students look forward to becoming kindergartners in their final years of our Casa program. Kindergarten is the time when many of the earlier lessons come together and become a permanent part of the young child’s understanding. Through the Montessori method, your child started as a novice, grew to be an apprentice and now, in their kindergarten years, they become more independent learner. Our curriculum is carefully structured and integrated to highlight critical thinking, composition, and research-based projects. Your child continues to set the pace for his or her own education and developmental growth.
Language Arts:Language Arts builds on the foundation laid in the Casa program. This sets the stage for the children to master skills such as reading, writing, spelling, and parts of speech and grammar. Each skill builds to another and forms a solid base which leads to ease of integration with other subjects. Doing a project on whales or explaining how a math equation is worked out is easily achieved as a result.
Mathematics: There is nothing in our world that does not in some way relate to mathematics. Being able to apply mathematic skills in other areas such as language, art and sensorial are most beneficial. The operations of addition and subtraction are taught in detail building on skills learned in Casa. A fair portion of the math curriculum is devoted to Geometry and related lessons including use of the Geometry Cabinet, Constructive Triangle Boxes, Nomenclature Cards and multiplication and division. Also included in the child’s studies will be fractions and factors of multiples.
Physical and Cultural Geography: The earth is our home, but what do we really know about it? In our Geography curriculum we look at the formation of the Earth, its place in the Solar System, its atmosphere, weather and seasons and its various land and water features. We also explore ways of representing these features through the use of maps; finding our way with lines of longitude and latitude and a compass. A major component of this curriculum is the study of continents, countries of the world, and culture.
Botany Zoology: Plants are one key component that sustain animal life on earth. In our Botany we teach the plant anatomy, plant physiology, plant geography and plant horticulture. Zoology encompasses an overview of the animal kingdom and classification suitable for the Kindergarten classroom. We explore animal needs and Biomes.
Health Sciences and Wellness: As a part of the “Cosmic Educator” Maria Montessori believed that a healthy mind, body and spirit are essential elements to success on the universal path and progression of development. Through the use of science we encourage the child to be a creative problem solver and think outside the box. Our wellness curriculum covers a person of interest each month (people who inspire us) and the use of Yoga. Each month a new Wellness topic is covered that helps aid and cultivate peace and self awareness for the child.
Advanced Practical Life: Children entering Montessori Kindergarten have already had fairly unlimited access to basic Practical Life activities. As these children mature, more challenging Practical Life material will be introduced to the child that hone the skills needed for success in later subjects and life in general. The activities in the Advanced Practical Life area are simpler versions of many of those that the adults in their lives engage in. Topics such as food preparation, cooking, sewing and basic etiquette that will help the child develop a high level of concentration and improve fine motor skills, while evoking a sense of respect for others and the environment.
The after school program covers the period between the end of school and home time. Our aim is to make sure that this gap is filled creatively and constructively. Students have the opportunity to express their talents in a variety of extra-curricular activities. Our after school environment allows children to interact socially in a relaxed atmosphere and provides the opportunity to gain self-confidence through development of caring relationships with adults and peers. To ensure that our standards are well maintained and followed by everyone, parents are asked to read and sign the after school day care agreement form at the beginning of school year. This will help us to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all ages.