White Pine Classroom
SERVING CHILDREN AGES 2 1/2 TO 6 YEARS OF AGE
THE VISTA MONTESSORI SCHOOL PRESCHOOL & KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM OFFERS:
A loving, calm environment
Montessori trained teachers experienced with young children
Low student to teacher ratios
Materials appropriate for each child’s developmental level
Dr. Montessori defined this period of a young child's life as the “conscious absorbent mind stage.” She observed that a child in this age group still absorbs everything from their environment and is in a developmental stage where they are cognitively organizing all of the sensory input they received during the first three years of life. She believed that the child should be provided a carefully prepared environment that supports their individual developmental needs. At VMS the child is provided a developmentally prepared environment that is safe and nurturing, and supports the physical, social and emotional, and cognitive development of each child.
Physical development is supported in all daily tasks the child completes. The child uses fine and gross motor skills while working within the classroom environment. Muscle control, balance, and coordination are supported through various movements in the environment. While participating in daily activities, body awareness and personal care skills are enhanced. This developmental domain is supported by the child working directly and indirectly with the Montessori lessons. Carrying lessons, walking on the line, watering plants, tracing shapes, building towers, participating in circle time are just a few examples of activities that help the refinement of the child's gross and fine motor development.
Social and emotional skills are supported through the daily interactions within the classroom community and through developmental play on the playground. The trusting relationship between teachers and the child is nurtured daily through individual lesson presentations, group work, and "living life" in the classroom. Learning to regulate emotions, building friendships, creating a positive self-identity, participating and engaging in learning, and developing a working memory and curiosity of the world are some of the social and emotional skills that are supported in the classroom environment. The orderliness of the environment and the consistency of the daily routine provides the child a sense of security in the classroom. This sense of security helps the child build confidence in their own abilities to be successful. The child's innate love of independence is nurtured as the child is given the freedom to do "what is right" in the classroom. The child is valued as an active member of the environment who is respected for their own unique contributions to the community.
Cognitive development is nurtured through the challenges presented by the Montessori lessons. Each lesson is purposeful and builds on the child's current skill set. Through the Montessori lessons, the child uses their hands and mind in collaboration to complete tasks. The child is provided a variety of activities that nourish their brain and foster cognitive development. The child's attention span increases while they learn how to problem solve. Visual discrimination, matching, comparing, sorting, and organizing skills are further developed while working on a variety of the Montessori materials. Through exploration of the classroom environment, a child 's ability to understand cause and effect is enriched.
In the White Pine Classroom, each child is encouraged to explore and actively participate in the environment. Teachers observe each child carefully keeping notes on their development and guiding individual instruction based on their observations. The child is eager to be an independent active participant in the environment who is allowed to care for their needs and the needs of their environment using real, beautiful, child sized objects. The developmentally appropriate environment provides a safe and fun place for learning through active involvement with materials and the world around them.