Welcome to Hand in Hand Montessori! Our program was created to provide a Montessori learning environment in a community atmosphere. Working in small groups, each child receives one-on- one contact with the instructors and with each other. We encourage a sense of family, and are passionate about the Montessori Method of learning. We believe that to “Follow the Child” is to give them the tools to succeed.
The Montessori Philosophy
The Montessori Philosophy is built upon the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. At the center of her philosophy is the belief that we must “observe the needs of the child and answer them”. By providing authentic and meaningful learning experiences, a Montessori environment holds the intellectual, social, and emotional needs of children in the highest regard. Ultimately, a Montessori education aims to guide students as they learn to become independent, secure, responsible individuals who remain lifelong learners and become contributing members of society.
In order to nurture the whole child, a Montessori classroom contains several elements that make this educational approach unique.
A well prepared, beautiful, organized environment is created for the students where they explore, problem solve, and learn by utilizing the Montessori materials and by interacting with peers and classroom leaders. The classroom becomes a safe, inviting, joyful place where great learning takes place.
The multi-age classroom invites children to learn within a familiar community of peers. Younger children learn from the older children who, in turn, refine their skills and act as mentors. As children progress through the three-year cycle, they become comfortable with their classroom peers and can thus focus more in-depth on their academic skills.
The materials in a Montessori classroom are unique and move from hands-on manipulatives to picture representations to abstract thinking experiences. Learning is individualized, and students move through classroom works sequentially and at their own pace. Because many of the materials contain self-correcting aspects, the children learn to monitor their own progress, and they can feel an immediate sense of accomplishment as they complete each activity.
Children participate in both independent and group learning activities. Taking turns, helping others, caring for the classroom materials and pets, and learning about self and others are important parts of each day in a Montessori classroom. Respect for self, others, and the environment is a core value in a Montessori classroom, and it is evident in the relationships formed among the children and their teachers.
The Montessori Curriculum
The preschool curriculum at Hand In Hand Montessori is designed in harmony with the principles of early childhood education set forth by Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori believed that each child has within himself or herself a unique self-potential that is revealed as the child grows and develops his or her interests. She identified that children have “sensitive periods” where they focus in on certain types of learning with eagerness and intensity. She also believed that learning is a natural process where children learn by doing. Thus, our classrooms contain the elements necessary for children to follow their natural interests and to practice their skills. These elements include:
Children learn to care for themselves and their environment, thus building fine motor skills, practicing interpersonal communication skills, and gaining confidence and competence in daily life skills. Pouring, lacing, washing, serving oneself snack, are just a few examples of practical life exercises.
Specially designed and hand-crafted materials aid children in the development of their five senses. The classification of sense impressions helps children to learn to perceive differences in size, weight, shape, temperature, sound, and color. The pink tower, knobless cylinders, metal insets, and solid geometric shapes are included in the sensorial aspects of the curriculum.
Number concepts, money, time, and weights and measures are all explored by students through a variety of carefully developed hands-on materials. The golden beads, hundred board, stamp game, and spindle box are some of the materials used to help children understand math concepts.
Phonics-based materials lead children through a natural progression of writing and reading skills, which build upon one another. Following a carefully sequenced order of materials, children learn the rules of phonics and grammar. Sandpaper letters, the movable alphabet, and the grammar farm are some of the materials used in this area of the classroom.
Stories take children through an understanding of the history of the world and universe. Various classroom materials and projects assist students in gaining an understanding of geography, the needs of man, and the beauty of the variety of cultures and customs within our world. Puzzle maps of the world, land and water forms, and many artifacts from around the globe enrich this facet of the curriculum.
The work here focuses on children’s natural curiosity of the changing world around them, including the seasons, plant and animal life, the human body, and how things work. Children experiment with magnets, simple machines, properties of matter, as well as learn the parts of plants and animals as they explore the world of science.
As an extension of culture exploration, children are exposed to the worlds of artists, poets, and composers. They also participate in creating their own artwork and music compositions with the primary focus on the process of their self-expression rather than on the final product.