The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken. If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature.

~Maria Montessori
 

OUR APPROACH & METHODOLOGY

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Minds of Tomorrow approach provides a Spanish immersion program for children ages 2.5-6 years old, and it is one of the few schools in Racine, Wisconsin that combines the Montessori philosophy of education with language immersion. The Spanish Immersion Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten (Children's House) environment entails providing activities that enable your child to learn Spanish at the same time they are practicing early childhood educational concepts. This program is designed for children ages 2.5-6 years old who have no prior knowledge of Spanish and incorporates those children who speak the language already.  Classes are available Monday to Friday with a minimum of three days attendance required per week for the preschoolers, and five days attendance required for the kindergarteners from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

 

 

 

Minds of Tomorrow includes 7 different classroom areas (Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, language, Cultural, Science, Music and Art) — each with enticing and sequenced materials that your child will be introduced to with individualized lessons over a three-year period. The oldest children in the Children's House are leaders, mentors, role models and helpers for the younger children, and the younger children look up to and learn from their older peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developing Independence through Practical Life
 

When a child joins our Children's House class, their first experiences will be with the practical life activities. These lessons inspire the child with real-world, purposeful tasks and tools, helping him see himself, correctly, as capable and competent.

Practical life activities may appear to be unrelated to “academic learning,” but nothing could be further from the truth.

These activities are complex, with many steps that must be performed sequentially in order to achieve the result, helping your child strengthen key executive functioning skills. They give a child the opportunity to take on meaningful work that he can complete independently while developing concentration. The practical life activities also prepare a child for writing by strengthening her hand and reinforcing motions and muscles important for producing the written word. Most importantly, they allow a child to absorb the basic, methodical problem-solving approach that is the foundation for all thought or creative expression, including such diverse areas as math, science, engineering, programming, writing, artistic expression, entrepreneurism, and athletics.

 

The essential skills developed through practical life activities will form the basis for all further learning as your child grows.

 

 

Practical Life for Logical Thinking

Practical life activities are deliberately designed to have a long series of individual steps, which must be performed in a specific order if the result is to be achieved. Everything is ordered logically, from left to right, top to bottom (this also prepares the child to follow from left to right when learning to read). In order to retain and follow these steps, your child must practice the skill of thinking logically. For example, say your child’s goal is to arrange a vase of flowers in water. They start to place the funnel in the vase — then realizes that the pitcher is empty! The child forgot to go the sink to get the water...and returns to go back and get it. Now they are ready to pour — but the water splashes everywhere! This time around, the child forgot the funnel. He places the funnel and pours the water. Now, the child is ready to place the flowers in the vase — but the stems are too long, and the flowers droop! The child forgot to cut the stems...so they go back to perform this step..... and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developing the Scientific Mind Through the Sensorial Materials

Children this age use their senses to explore the world. They enjoy the beautiful sensorial materials and learn to compare and contrast, to discern slight differences, and to place things in order. Both artists and scientists need the ability to really look at what is in front of them: to notice small details about the world that have significance for their work. The sensorial materials also highlight mathematical relationships that exist in the real world, providing the foundation for understanding arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. These materials allow a child to develop mastery over his observational powers: the sensorial mastery of the scientist, the artist, the mathematician.

The sensorial materials also prepare your child for mathematical exploration. Mathematical relationships exist in the real world, and the sensorial materials highlight them. For instance, the “constructive triangles” material is fascinating for four and five-year-olds, who love putting the triangles together in different ways to form other shapes. This work prepares them for the study of geometry, as they begin to understand the relationships between shapes.

Perhaps even more fascinating are Montessori’s binomial and trinomial cubes, which are concrete representations of algebraic formulas. The young child experiences this material as an interesting puzzle, fitting together blocks in a certain arrangement in a box. But in putting the puzzle together, the child's attention is implicitly drawn to relationships between the blocks: the same relationships that they will ultimately study when they learn algebra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading and Writing Joyfully

The Montessori approach to language study makes learning appear effortless because it recognizes the individuality of each child. Maria Montessori noticed that in each child’s development there is a moment, occurring at a slightly different time for everyone when the child suddenly becomes interested in written language. When this moment comes, if the tools are available to feed her interest, she will joyfully “explode into” writing, then reading. A child’s guide watches closely for this moment, patiently building the foundation that will allow your child to experience reading and writing with confidence and joy.

 

Your child will first be introduced to rich and varied vocabulary, and will later analyze words into sounds. He will then learn to associate each phonetic sound with its corresponding letter, and trace the letter to internalize the movements made in writing. Older children use the “Moveable Alphabet” to put those sounds together into words and sentences. Five and six-year-olds in our Children’s House typically write beautiful true “stories,” illustrated in color pencil.

This approach breaks down language learning into clear component skills so that children can grow confident with each step before moving on to the next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Mathematical Fluency

Maria Montessori believed that the human mind—every human mind—is fundamentally disposed to mathematics. Human beings measure things (number, quantity, volume, weight, shape, time), order things, and compare things. Our mathematical minds solve real-world problems and help us to invent tools that assist us in living our lives.

 

Math Through the Senses

Montessori children experience the wonder of math through engaging materials that inspire concrete understanding and joyful problem-solving, paving the way for a smooth transition to abstraction. In the Children’s House, children are exposed to rich and varied mathematical materials that build skills gradually. Each child will work with the decimal system into the thousands, will be exposed to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—and through this will develop a keen number sense, the foundation for a lifetime of quantitative and analytic fluency.

Montessori’s beautiful golden bead materials introduce the child to the concepts of the decimal system, place value, quantity, and the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Slightly more abstract and symbolic, the “stamp game” uses color-coded tokens (where colors express place value) to revisit the same four operations. Older children learn long division from the “racks and tubes,” where sets of beads allow them to literally divide a quantity that can represent numbers into the thousands.

Your child will gradually move from performing mathematical operations with these concrete objects to the pure abstraction of numbers on a page. In your child's mind, basic mathematical understanding will become intuitive, and grounded firmly in concrete reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
The Foundations of History and Science

Geography and culture lessons in the Montessori classroom offer the inspiration for a child’s future study of history and science. The Lessons are designed to pique a child’s natural curiosity and help them discover answers to their “why” and “how” questions. We start by discussing seasons, then incorporate the months of the year, days of the week, hours of the day and finally getting into telling time. The area of Culture is one of the most fun and interesting areas for all our little preschool and kindergarten learners. Children’s early experiments with physical properties, land and water forms, natural objects, gardening, sorting, parts of animals, and parts of plants inspire them to fall in love with the scientific world.  We incorporate earth science, physical science, biology, botany, and zoology into the everyday experiences of the child. Followed by studying everything from individual cultures, continent maps, landmarks, capitals, and flags. History in the Montessori classroom focuses primarily on the passage of time, which is a difficult concept for children to grasp.

 

A child’s work with puzzle maps, flags, cultural items, and beautiful cultural photographs to compare and categorize introduce him to varied geographies and cultures, and represent the first steps on a path that will later lead to the study of history.

 

Students in the Children’s House community learn the basis for scientific and historical thinking from the bottom up, by direct exposure to the foundations of these subjects in a form that they can understand. Even at a young age, Montessori children feel at home in the natural world, having fostered their ability to observe, their vocabulary, and their explanatory understanding of many natural domains. And they are deeply curious about history, having a sense of where both natural and man-made things originated—naturally giving them a deep and authentic appreciation and gratitude for the things and people around them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Socializing with “Grace and Courtesy”

Because children in the Children's House move freely, choosing their own work, snack time, and places to sit, your child will have plenty of opportunities to practice social interaction. Montessori guides shares lessons that each child can practice in various circumstances. These simple clear lessons in everything from asking to sit with someone to blowing one’s own nose or saying “excuse me” give a child the tools he needs to interact successfully in his world.

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of the Three-Year Age Range

The Children's House is the first Montessori classroom where your child will experience the tremendous benefits of the full three-year age range. Young children really do love to imitate their older peers, and children who have been in the Children's House for one or two years set a beautiful example for the littlest children. The younger children see the advanced work of the older children, and look forward to doing that work themselves! They also see the work ethic and the helpful actions of the older children, and emulate these as well. The culture of respect and learning is immersive, exhilarating, and greatly accelerating for each child’s learning.

For the older children, it is an opportunity to practice real leadership, in whatever way their particular personality tends towards. Some children love to help the younger children, zipping a jacket, pouring a glass of water, or comforting an upset child. Others take great pride in showing younger children how to do certain activities or inviting them to watch their work. Still, others offer their help with classroom tasks such as keeping the room clean or scrubbing tables and chairs so that everyone can enjoy the classroom.

WE offer the 3- through 6-year-old child a wealth of possibilities!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music    

Music is a way of knowing. According to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner (1983), music intelligence is equal in importance to logical-mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence.

 

According to Thomas Armstrong (1994,5), “Intelligence is galvanized by participation in some kind of culturally valued activity and that the individual’s growth in such an activity follows a developmental pattern; each activity has its own time arising in early childhood.”

Early childhood, a period of rapid change and development, is the most critical period in a child’s musical growth and has been identified in the literature as the “music babble” stage (Moog, 1976; Gordon, 1988) or primary music development (Levinowitz and Guilmartin, 1989, 1992, 1996).

 

The importance of music instruction for music development during the early years of childhood has been widely investigated since World War II. The Pillsbury studies (1937 – 1958) (Moorhead and Pond, 1977) provided the first glimpse into preschool children’s musical lives and informed us about the nature of their spontaneous music behavior.

 

Children are born with the potential to learn to speak and understand their native language as well as they are born with the potential to learn to perform and understand their culture’s music.

Music is great for young brains and exposure from early on has proven benefits and it’s also fun and enjoyable for children.  The Montessori musical program develops the children’s nonverbal affective communication, enhances their ability to express themselves through music and increases their understanding and enjoyment of music.  Learning music is not a separate lesson in the day but it is a natural and integral part of classroom life.

 

Benefits of Exposure to Music
  • Concentration

  • Creativity

  • Cooperation

  • Language

  • Counting and other math skills

  • Self-discipline

  • Listening abilities

  • Spatial-temporal reasoning

  • Abstract reasoning

  • Memory and recall skills

  • Physical coordination (gross and fine motor skills)

 

Grading Bells

The voice is a child’s natural instrument and it is an instrument that every person possesses.   The bells are present in all authentic Montessori primary and preschool classrooms. The bells were designed to specifically train the ear to perceive differences among musical sounds. The Montessori bells consist of a series of bells that represent the whole tones and semi-tones of one octave. To work with the bells, the child is required to pair off the bells that produce the same sound. This enables the child to learn how to discriminate, eventually learn how to arrange the bells in gradation, and to play the musical scale.  In the Montessori  classroom children will find music activities such as:

  • The Bells  (Do-Re-Mi…)

  • Classical music (listening)

  • Silent Game (Listening)

  • Sound Boxes (Sensorial)

  • Silence Game (Circle Time), Singing, Clapping

  • Composer cards (Language/Sensorial/Matching)

  • Walking on the Line (Movement)

  • Music in Spanish (Language, movement, dancing)

Early childhood is also the time when children learn about their world primarily through the magical process of play. The substance of play in very young children is usually comprised of the environmental objects and experiences to which they have been exposed. If the music environment is sufficiently rich, there will be a continuous and ever richer spiral of exposure to new musical elements followed by the child’s playful experimentation with these elements.

 

Music And Movement

Teaching the Whole Child:Music and Movement is a way of teaching the whole child and engaging the learner Mental, Physical, Emotional and Social

Phylis Weikart, a pioneer in movement pedagogy, has noted that many school-age children cannot walk to the beat of music, perform simple motor patterns, or label how their bodies have moved (1987). She suggests that children can gain this experience in naturally occurring situations during infancy and early childhood, especially if adults recognize the importance of early gross motor development and of language interaction about rhythm and movement with young children. Furthermore, other motor theorists’ research supports the importance of movement in early childhood. They have found that most fundamental motor patterns emerge before the age of five and are merely stabilized beyond that age (Gilbert, 1979).

As published in Early Childhood Connections:

  • Music evokes movement, and children delight in and require movement for their development and growth.

  • Developmentally appropriate music activities involve the whole child-the child’s desire for language, the body’s urge to move, the brain’s attention to patterns, the ear’s lead in initiating communication, the voice’s response to sounds, as well as the eye-hand coordination associated with playing musical instruments.

  • Music transmits culture and is an avenue by which beloved songs, rhymes, and dances can be passed down from one generation to another.

Children in the early years learn best by ‘doing’!  Music and movement encourages active involvement in developing vocabulary and mastering a wealth of skills and concepts.  

Benefits of music and movement

  • Building Vocabulary

  • Enhance Motor skills: Coordination, Balance, Strength and Endurance;  

  • Expression and Communication;   

  • Improves Relationships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga            

As reported in Time magazine, scientists have been studying what happens when children practice various forms of mindfulness. At the end of their study, they found children in the experimental group “had 15% better math scores, showed 24% more social behaviors, were 24% less aggressive and perceived themselves as 20% more pro-social.  They outperformed their peers in cognitive control, stress levels, emotional control, optimism, empathy, mindfulness and aggression.”

Decade after decade, science discovers new ways to prove what Dr. Montessori saw a century ago. She called her discovery “the New Child.” This was not the same being parents had handheld for millennia. This was a child who, if set free from the distractions and distortions of the chaotic world, would show mankind a new way to live, a better way.                                                   

Yoga helps kids to:

  • Develop body awareness

  • Learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way

  • Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement

  • Build concentration

  • Increase their confidence and positive self-image

  • Feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group

  • Have an alternative to tuning out through constant attachment to electronic devices

In a school setting, yoga can also benefit teachers by:

  • Giving them an alternate way to handle challenges in the classroom

  • Giving them a healthy activity to integrate with lesson plans

  • Give them a way to blend exercise into their classes

Excerpted from Stretched: Build Your Yoga Business, Grow Your Teaching Techniques, Bare Bones Yoga.

 

 

Art in the Montessori Classroom
An Essential Part of the Child’s Work

Written by Michelle Dickson-Feeney, Art Enrichment Guide
www.michelledickson.com

Art is an essential component of learning in Montessori classrooms. In each classroom there are dedicated art shelves ensuring students always have access to art materials for creative expression. We are focused on providing our students with the skills, materials, and exposure to art that they need in order to express their creativity at their own pace and level.

 

 

 

 

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© Copyright 2019 by Minds of Tomorrow Montessori

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