Pre-K & Kindergarten
The role of the Montessori teacher is fourfold: to create the child centered environment that allows freedom of movement and choice; by close observation, to provide the correct materials for forwarding each child’s development and interest; to give instruction in the proper use of each of the Montessori materials; and to develop and guide the culture of the classroom.
In these precious years, your child experiences crucial psychological, social, physical, and academic milestones. At Homestead, students learn to care for themselves, the environment, and others.
At the core of the Montessori approach is the honoring of the unique potential of each child. Here, children are given the structured freedom to practice independence and self-formation.
Each meticulously designed learning environment, filled with sequential Montessori learning materials, allows your child to build independence while actively engaged in learning that is personally significant. As children work repetitively with Montessori materials, they develop deeper concentration and increase the ability to focus. They learn how to make decisions, listen, pursue personal interests, concentrate, and follow a task through to completion. Each child finds his or her place within the class, the school, and the larger community — fostering a sense of peace, security, and well-being.
Children are drawn to this area because they inherently understand that the work they do here empowers them to participate more fully in their home life. Activities in this area range from spooning and pouring to washing dishes and preparing snacks.
Practical Life teaches your child to care for herself as she practices lacing, buttoning, zipping, and tying. Each work in this area develops fine motor skills, hand strength, and the grip necessary for writing. During this sensitive period, Practical Life helps children grow into confident, independent individuals who understand that they have the ability to contribute.
In Early Childhood, children learn to write before they read. Our students connect sound and letter symbols through tracing sandpaper letters and further activities such as matching the sound with tiny beautiful objects (a point of interest for young children) and picture-word association. Even before your child’s hand has developed the strength for using a pencil, she will be busy “writing stories” by dictating or composing with the moveable alphabet. The moveable alphabet allows your child to construct words, and later sentences, while bringing attention to the sounds that build each word.
A love for literacy is cultivated through daily story time. Each classroom has a cozy reading nook filled with books. All of this inspires curiosity and motivation to learn, and prepares a child to read and write with confidence.
Young children primarily explore through their senses, and our sensorial area allows your child to learn how to discriminate, order, classify, and grasp abstract concepts such as length, width, mass, and temperature. This allows your child to become more logical and perceptive. Typical materials include the tower of cubes, brown stairs, red rods, geometric solids, sound cylinders, Montessori bells, and other matching activities with color, weight, texture, and dimension.
The genius of the Montessori approach is that through work with materials such as the binomial and trinomial cube, your child will work at a purely sensorial level with the advanced abstract concepts of squaring and cubing.
Your child will internalize the very abstract concepts of numbers, symbols, logical sequences, and basic math operations. Children are guided through sequential work in three math tracks: linear counting, operations, and place value/decimal system.
Numerals and counters help students make 1:1 number to symbol associations, while operations with objects give them a concrete experience of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Our students love to work with the Montessori bead bars, hundred board, short chains, and long chains that teach linear counting and lay the groundwork for multiplication fact memorization. Finally, place value is taught with the beautiful golden bead material designed by Maria Montessori herself.
Children of this age are captivated by factual learning and love to share what they have come to better understand about the world around them. This area exposes your child to age-appropriate topics in geography, history, life science, earth science, and cultural studies. Your child will travel around the world over the school year, spending months immersed in different cultures, or travel through our solar system visiting each planet, learning about key scientific concepts and historical figures along the way. After studying a topic, students love to develop their vocabulary and share what they have learned by creating booklets and picture stories.
Foreign language and music lessons begin in Pre-K. Kindergartners also receive formal instruction in art and go on their first field trip, which makes for an exciting culmination to their three-year cycle!
At the Homestead School, we weave a humanitarian and environmental thread through all our learning. We explore the relationships in nature and the human relationship to nature through class hikes on our beautiful 85-acre campus. Lots of free play and guided activities allow our little ones to develop a first-hand connection to the natural world. We study plant and animal life-cycles with hands-on activities. We learn to care for plants by growing them in classrooms, school gardens, hoop houses, and our tropical biodome. Children learn to care for animals through having classroom pets and visiting with the farms animals.