Montessori Programs


The Montessori program at Lewinsville Montessori School is structured into the following levels:

  • Nido I (birth-12 mos), Nido II (12-24 mos) and Nido III (24-36 mos.)

  • Casa dei Bambini (36 mos- 5+ yrs.)

A Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic principles:

  • First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments.
  • Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development.

Based on her observations, Montessori believed that children at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared according to her model would act spontaneously for optimal development. Montessori's education method called for free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to help and allow the child to develop independence in all areas.

PROGRAM & ENVIRONMENT

The Nido environment is rooted in the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori. In fact, the word Nido comes from the Italian word “nest” and is meant to convey the warmth and security of a home.

At Lewinsville Montessori, we strive to create classrooms that are home-like with lovely, natural wooden and cloth materials, child-sized furniture, clean surfaces, and soft soothing music, in order for children to feel safe, cared for, loved and challenged in their ideal home away from home, their Nido. Through the environment’s simplicity and order the room is safe, secure, stimulating, and most importantly full of love. The preparedness of the teachers allow students to learn at their own pace, using their senses to explore and discover the world. The classroom focuses on two basic needs of the infant—a safe bonded relationship between adult and child and the development of the child’s growing sense of self and independence. The simplicity and order of our Nido environment support safe discovery of the world as the child sensorially explores the environment. These spaces are then thoroughly enhanced by the tender care and developmental support offered by our staff.

Each classroom is spacious to encourage freedom of movement. Beautiful Montessori materials developed to entice the sense of wonder innate in children while meeting their developmental needs in the areas of movement, language, motor skills, and independence fill each classroom. Each teacher carefully observes the children and matches the classroom materials to encourage their developmental progress based on Montessori training and on best practices from child development research. As did Maria Montessori, Lewinsville teachers “follow the child”. And because we “follow the child,” we provide a variety of environments where infants and toddlers can explore based upon her curiosity and mobility, not just her age.

Infant Nido I & II:

An infant’s brain is wired for language acquisition and our environments offer rich opportunities for babies to learn through plenty of reading, singing, sign language and a running dialogue as your child’s caregivers explain the events of your child’s day. Our respect for each child shows by how we engage him in each care-giving activity with warm eye-contact and verbal explanations of each step, rather than merely just doing the tasks to the child.

In our Infant Nido environment there are special mobiles and images to stimulate brain development, as well as a variety of tactile objects for children to explore. Because this is the period when infants learn to roll over, sit, scoot, crawl and potentially walk, the room has many opportunities for movement. In our Infant Nido rooms you will see…

  • Many soft floor mats and bolsters on which babies can move freely and develop gross motor skills.
  • Mirrors positioned close to the floor to stimulate tummy time and self-discovery.
  • Low bars mounted to the wall and soft furniture for children to pull themselves up.
  • An abundance of pillows for infants to climb over and prop themselves onto.

For the older infants, where crawling and newly walking babies have their hands free for exploration, you will see…

  • Low shelving with materials for fine-motor development and cause/effect, such as puzzles, rings on a post, and containers to open and close.
  • Opportunities for purposeful water play.
  • A stair with low steps and a railing to practice climbing up and down.
  • Pull and push toys to promote gross motor movement.

Toddler Nido III:

The Toddler program, for children 24-36 mos and up, takes advantage of the toddler’s natural drive to act independently. Lewinsville Montessori advances each child's growth and development through a rich and and well prepared environment designed just for toddlers. The classrooms are a special place for the young child to begin his/her steps towards independence and self-reliance.

Dedicated, nurturing and trained teachers implement a toddler designed curriculum to foster cognitive development, speech and language development, strengthen fine motor and gross motor skills, introduce grace and courtesy lessons, and promote independence. An important part of a toddler’s developing independence is learning to care for him/herself by washing hands and putting on shoes and jackets.

Toddler exercises and activities recognize that children learn by doing. Classroom materials are always accessible, attractive, safe, and geared for a child’s success. Activities are changed regularly in response to children’s need for variety and challenge as they grow and learn. The safe, loving, gentle atmosphere puts children and parents at ease and makes for a trusting, spontaneous transition to school. Upon completion of the Toddler program, children join our Casa dei Bambini program.

PROGRAM & ENVIRONMENT

The Lewinsville Montessori Casa dei Bambini/Children’s House Program for ages 3 through 6 years old is a "living room" for children. Children choose their work from among the self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves, and they work in specific work areas. Over a period of time, the children develop into a "normalized community," working with high concentration and few interruptions. Normalization is the process whereby a child moves from being undisciplined to self-disciplined, from disordered to ordered, from distracted to focused, through work in the environment. The process occurs though repeated work with materials that captivate the child's attention. For some children this inner change may take place quite suddenly, leading to deep concentration.

When a parent walks into a Montessori classroom, the first thing you will notice is that all the children are busy and interested in what they are doing. One child may be counting, while another is reading short words—all are engaged in activity. Each classroom is designed to fulfill the developmental needs of the child.

The Montessori Curriculum is an integrated thematic approach that ties together separate disciplines into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience. In this way, one lesson leads to many others.

Each material isolates one concept or skill that has been specially designed so children are naturally drawn to work with it. Each material has also been designed so a child can check his own work – what Montessori calls “control of error.” These are tools that lead to independence, and that let children see abstract ideas presented in concrete, three-dimensional ways. The tools also help them grasp and understand what they are working on, and allow each child to work at their own pace.

Practical Life/Care of Environment

Practical: means basic, useful, purposeful
Life: means the way of living.
Practical Life Exercises are just that, they are Exercises so the child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way. The purpose and aim of Practical Life is to help the child gain control in the coordination of his movement, and help the child to gain independence and adapt to his society.

It is therefore important to “Teach teaching, not correcting” (Montessori) in order to allow the child to be a fully functional member in his own society.

Practical Life Exercises also aid the growth and development of the child’s intellect and concentration and will in turn also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking.

Children learn to walk without bumping into things or stepping onto people, say “excuse me” ask permission to touch someone or their work, roll a mat. Children learn self care; how to use the toilet, wash and dry hands, clean face, use a spoon and fork, drink from a glass, wipe their nose, put on their jacket and shoes, hang up their coat, learn to use zippers, buttons, Velcro, buckles, pour their own drink, serve their own food and how to ask for help politely. Children learn to use a sponge for cleaning, a towel for drying, a broom, a “crumber”, a mop. Children also learn to carry a tray, push in a chair and put their work away.

Sensorial Development

Sensorial comes from the words sense or senses. As there are no new experiences for the child to take from the Sensorial work, the child is able to concentrate on the refinement of all his senses.
The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is for the child to acquire clear, conscious, information and to be able to then make classifications in his environment. Montessori believed that sensorial experiences began at birth. Through his senses, the child studies his environment. Through this study, the child then begins to understand his environment. The child, to Montessori, is a “sensorial explorer”.

Children learn to recognize and to discuss and learn to match and sort colors, textures, shapes, sizes and sounds. Children learn the difference between wide, narrow; thick, thin; tall, short; loud, quiet; rough, smooth. Children learn to classify and to arrange in order. Through work with the sensorial materials, the child is given the keys to classifying the things around him, which leads to the child making his own experiences in his environment. Through the classification, the child is also offered the first steps in organizing his intelligence, which then leads to his adapting to his environment. The lessons indirectly prepare the student for work with the Montessori math materials.

Language Arts

Language is a system of symbols with an agreed upon meaning that is used by a group of people. Language is a means of communication ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized sounds and signs, thus, being the spoken and written language.
Children learn sounds of letters, basic sound analysis, to match number symbol to quantity, to speak in complete sentences and to use prepositional phrases. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet cut-outs, and various presentations allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.

When the child arrives in the Montessori classroom, he has fully absorbed his culture's language. He has already constructed the spoken language and with his entry into the classroom, he will begin to consolidate the spoken language and begin to explore the written forms of language.

Because language is an intricate involvement in the process of thinking, the child will need to be spoken to and listened to often. The child will need a broad exposure to language, with correct articulation, enunciation, and punctuation. The child will need to experience different modes of language and to hear and tell stories. Most importantly, the child needs to feel free and be encouraged to communicate with others.

Math

Math is all around the young child from day one. How old are you? In one hour you will go to school. You were born on the 2nd. It is one of the most abstract concepts that the human mind has encountered.
Children learn through the use of manipulative materials to enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations, and memorization of basic facts. Montessori math instruction actually begins with work in the Sensorial curriculum and the materials associated with matching, sorting, classification, differentiation and geometric shapes.

The concepts covered in the CH class are numeration, the decimal system, computation, the arithmetic tables, whole numbers, fractions, and positive numbers. We offer arithmetic to the child in the final two years of the first place of developments from age four to age five and six. The child first learns to count from 1-10 through the understanding of the concept that those numbers represent a specific amount.

By working with each material, the child will learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and truly understand what each one means in their deeper sense. Through this method of teaching, Montessori offers the child a strong and solid foundation in the understanding of mathematics.

Cultural Subjects

Acquisition of one’s own first culture is the child’s central developmental drive in the first plane of development.
Culture includes Creative Arts, Music, Science, Geography and Cultural Studies. Globes, maps, songs, landforms, collections of pictures of life in different cultures, and much more, is offered with the goal to help the child to grow as an individual alongside an appreciation of the larger context of his/her world.
Children learn how to use scissors, a pencil, an eraser, glue and crayons. They learn how to paint, string beads, identify high and low notes, sing songs, play games, basic color theory and color mixing, the days of the week, months of the year, basic sewing concepts. They learn to recognize the seven continents of the Earth, understand the rotation of the Earth, to use polite phrases, understand the basic needs of humans. The science curriculum aims to provide each child with a basic knowledge of zoology, botany, and personal health.

Field Trips

Instead of children going to the "zoo", Lewinsville Montessori School brings the zoo to the children.

We have on-site field trips year round which are all wonderful learning, enriching, as well as fun experiences for the children. The following are examples of our visitors: story tellers, musicians, puppeteers, and of course small animals and their handlers.