An authentic Montessori pre-school classroom is designed to feel familiar and safe for the child aged 2.5 - 6 years. Our classroom is arranged much like a home environment where children are invited to choose meaningful activities from open shelves. Each activity is purposeful and beautiful in its design to attract and hold the child’s attention. These sensory-oriented activities bring together the psycho-social, physical, and academic aspects of the educational experience. This setting sets a strong foundation and allows children to develop independence, inner security, a sense of order, as well as a positive attitude towards their education.
We believe the arts are an essential part of every educational environment. Peregrine House promotes Fine Arts in our classroom on a daily basis. In addition, we regularly welcome guest artists into our class. A wide variety of local community artists perform to the children during classroom work time and events.
All of our children are exposed to our sensory-based cultural materials that bring to life various plants, animals, and people from all over the world. The child begins to learn about the world as a whole, then has an opportunity to explore the flora, fauna and human culture of each continent. As part of an integrated cultural curriculum children are also exposed to music, art and movement on a daily basis.
Within our prepared environment, children will develop the natural ability to count and calculate. Our program begins by providing a representation of numbers prior to being shown a number symbol. Children will learn mathematical concepts such as numbers quantities, symbols, sequences, operations, and the memorization of basic facts.
THROUGH PEACEFUL EDUCATION
For more than 100 years Montessori-based activities have been effectively used as a system of synthetic phonics. The three year old child is introduced to this phonics program through the marvelous “sandpaper letter” material. It is the “absorbing” of the combined sounds and symbols through three senses that makes this program effective. The four year old child graduates into cursive writing, only to be followed by reading. The child’s ability to read is built on a strong foundation of phonemic awareness. Peregrine House offers an extensive language program which includes the development of oral language, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics, as well as children’s literature.
This is one of the first areas of the classroom that children are introduced to at Peregrine House. Many students may have already taken part in or observed these activities in their home environment. Buttoning, pouring, scrubbing a table, and polishing are some of the activities that will help create a bridge between home and school. These activities allow children to gain a sense of independence, and are especially useful in developing concentration and coordination skills.
Dr. Maria Montessori said “the hand is the tool of the mind.” As pre-school age children predominantly learn through touch, we use sensorial materials as educational tools. These tools allow children to classify, organize, and describe objects by their relative mass, length, width, temperature, colour, pitch, etc. By isolating a material for its singular quality, these activities prepare the child for mathematical concepts.