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Children’s House and Extended Day Program
(3 - 6 years)

The Children’s House Program engages the absorbent mind of the 3- to 6-year-old child through self-selected work and constructive activity. Indoors, low shelves contain openly displayed manipulatives and make materials readily accessible. Small tables and chairs or floor mats define workspace, provide order, and offer the child the choice of working independently or in a small group. Outdoors, opportunities for exploration of the natural world abound as each classroom opens onto ground level, and children are encouraged to move freely from one space to another. Whether indoors or out, the classroom is a joyful place that supports the child in the task of self-construction and nurtures the child’s sense of wonder.

The materials in the classroom are divided into curricular areas that provide a depth and breadth of experiences. Each area is designed to assist the child in the development of concentration, coordination of mind and body, independence, order, and self-discipline. The practical life exercises involve care of self, care of environment, food preparation, and grace and courtesy. As the child works with practical life materials, small- and large-muscle skills improve, while the work reinforces the concepts of order and sequence. Further, the child prepares for reading and writing and develops a more positive self-image as he or she masters the simple tasks associated with everyday living. The sensorial materials develop the child’s ability to make finite discriminations through the use of the five senses. The child learns to identify, compare, contrast, categorize, and sort through observation and analysis of the physical characteristics of an object or an experience.

The language curriculum in a Montessori classroom includes nomenclature work, poems, stories, songs, finger-plays, word games, and the manipulation of materials that balance a strong phonics approach with a method that allows creative writing through dictation, invented spelling, and literary appreciation. The mathematics curriculum includes the manipulation of materials that are sequenced with concrete experiences leading to more abstract discoveries. The materials demonstrate the unity of quantity and symbol, the decimal system, place value, and the four mathematical operations. They are designed not only to teach mathematics facts, but as an aid to the development of the mathematical mind. As the child works with the materials, mathematical concepts and interesting patterns begin to emerge. The child therefore gains a deeper understanding and a satisfaction of learning by discovery, rather than by rote.

Maria Montessori recognized “that all children are endowed with the capacity to ‘absorb’ culture” and defended their right to intellectual pursuits. Stoneridge Children’s Montessori School works to provide such opportunities in Children’s House and throughout the curriculum.