Stage 1 at Southside Montessori School is the equivalent of pre-school and kindergarten for children from 3–6 years of age.
As an extension of the home environment, the children learn from individual presentations (lessons) and gain social skills both from interaction with other children and specific social lessons. They move freely around the classroom working and gaining concepts using the very specific and specially designed self-correcting Montessori materials. By allowing children to learn in this way, they are able to develop concentration, motivation, independence and a love of learning.
Stage 1 consists of either a half day or full day program. The full day program hours are
8:45am–3:00pm. The half day program hours are 8:45am–12:00pm and is limited to children under 5 years of age. All children regardless of age attend school five days per week. Daily attendance establishes learning patterns during the best time of day for learning.
We also provide an optional extended hours program for Stage 1 children from 8–8.45am and 3:00pm–5:00pm. This enjoyable program incorporates both indoor and outdoor activities. It provides varied individual and group activities as well as energetic play outside.
STAGE 1 CURRICULUM
The classroom is divided into 5 basic areas which are all interrelated and integrated.
Practical Life materials provide the link between the home and the school environment. The aim of these exercises is to enhance concentration, co-ordination and independence. They also allow children to perfect gross and fine motor skills. Activities include care of the environment (watering plants, folding cloths), care of self (dressing frames, washing hands) and grace and courtesy (how to interrupt, how to move in an appropriate manner.)
Language materials are found throughout the classroom. Children are introduced to letters using the sense of touch, sight and hearing and progress using specific concrete materials to composing their own written works. The children’s release into oral and written language helps build their communication and socialisation skills, forming the basis for reading.
Sensorial materials were specifically designed by Dr Montessori to help the child refine their senses and to become more perceptive in their environment. The refining of the senses at this age leads to a greater awareness of detail and allows the child to focus on the world around them. Activities include; matching and grading whilst isolating the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, kinaesthetic (muscular) and smell.
Montessori concrete maths materials assist the child in discovering and understanding mathematical and geometrical concepts, forming a strong foundation for abstraction, problem solving and reasoning. The hands-on materials also stimulate absorption of the decimal system and the four mathematical operations.
Cultural materials in the Montessori classroom assist children in broadening their understanding of the world around them. Cultural diversity is present within every classroom and promotes appreciation and acceptance of all cultures.