Philosophy of the “The Third Year”
The purpose of Kindergarten, a year in which a child transitions into the Elementary school experience, is already incorporated into our philosophy of the third year in Woods Creek Montessori’s Primary Curriculum. In the first two years of a child’s experience as a primary student, they develop a foundation of independence, confidence and curiosity.
They have explored the environment and learned how to logically work their way through a problem, how to engage fully in the cycle of choosing work, doing it and being responsible for it’s return for other children to use. They have also learned the all-important skills of how to focus and concentrate on their work in order to fully explore its richness and meaning.
In the third year (the Kindergarten year), a Primary environment offers a child time to fully discover their abilities and what they find challenging. They have explored all areas of the curriculum and are ready to put their gained knowledge to the test. They are given opportunities to expand this concrete knowledge through advanced, hands-on work with the materials, such as proficiency in phonetic reading, composing writing with knowledge of the parts of speech, more abstract realms of higher math (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), and participation in science, history, geography, and art studies.
Children that leave a Montessori environment after only two years in the Primary Class often miss the opportunity to fully develop and apply the lessons they have learned in their first two years.They may not, then, have the opportunity to fully discover themselves in a learning environment that focuses especially on them as individuals and fosters the particular interests they are driven towards.In many cases, children who do leave after two years go on to be successful learners in a public school system.
They continue to be curious, eager learners who take responsibility for their work and who are respectful of themselves, their peers, and their environment. Because of their Montessori experience, they often have the skills to adapt their individual growth and skills to a classroom where what they should learn, and what rate it must be learned has been decided for them. Simply, they have become adaptable learners. Still, we encourage parents to consider how much more prepared they will be for being responsible, active learners if they are able to finish this very valuable third year in a Montessori classroom and begin first grade elsewhere.
All children who turn 5 by October 1 during a given school year will be eligible for our licensed Kindergarten Program. Any child who turns five later in the school year will be considered for incorporation into the program.
Daily Routine for Kindergarten in the Third Year:
WCM averages an enrollment of 6-12 children in our Kindergarten Program. During the morning curriculum, the Kindergarten children work together with their younger peers by pursuing their individual interests as well as assisting with teaching younger children. They bring lunch and remain for an extended day session from 1:00 until 2:45, at which time they join the other primary children.
As part of their short rest period in the afternoon, they listen to and discuss increasingly long books for 30-45 minutes, gaining listening skills and the abilities to analyze, interpret, predict, retain and recount stories. During this story time the children practice exercises in hand control, which will occupy their hands but not their minds. Then individual and small group work of the children’s choice begins.
Repetition, task completion, and mastery are encouraged. Many of the advanced lessons in language, math, and cultural subjects are presented during this period to individuals and small groups. With guidance from their teacher, the kindergarteners choose individual assignments in reading, writing, and math on designated days each week. Their teacher keeps track of their progress in subject areas throughout the morning and afternoon, and they learn to track their own progress with learning the phonograms and which books they have read once their work has been reviewed by the teacher.
Group projects are undertaken periodically, such as sprouting seeds, planting the garden, writing a class letter, cooking, and science experiments. The kindergarteners take numerous field trips, particularly in the spring. These trips are planned to be an extension of classroom learning. Examples are: Boxerwood Gardens, sheep or dairy farm, post office, hospital and rescue squad, cave exploration, nature studies of plants and animals along Woods Creek, art galleries. Parents will be asked to help with driving /chaperoning in advance.