A Little About Our Early Childhood 1 Room...
News from the EC 1 Room:
THE PREPARED ENVIRONMENT - Our Montessori Classrooms
It has been a great start to the school year! Thank you for all your support in getting the children to school on time, and many children are being able to take advantage of some playground time beforehand as well. Such a huge benefit.
Routine is a critical component to a positive start to a school year. The routines you establish at home for evening and morning times as well as the routines we establish at school. Security and trust can be built when the child knows what to expect and also what is expected of her/him. Learning can begin once a child is feeling safe and secure so you can see how critical dependable routines become. All of our children are off to a great start!
At Back to School night I spoke less specifically about the physical environment and philosophy behind the classroom material’s benefits and placement because I said I would speak more explicitly about it in this first newsletter. This will be my focus.
We refer to our Montessori classrooms as “Prepared Environments.” The are several components that compose this prepared environment: the physical aspects, which are the furniture and materials, as well as the Directress and her trained assistant(s). Dr. Montessori referred to the Directress as the “dynamic link” between the child and the materials. The children learn by means of these specialized materials, which are contained within an environment that is designed to support the children in their individual pursuits, and the Directress is the connection for the child to the materials. She carefully and strategically guides the child as to their proper use, when the child is ready to embark on this new task, with very clear and deliberate goals in mind.
Each classroom has its own individual design, reflective of the directress within that space. However, there are guidelines governing the placement of all the furniture, materials, and accoutrements. Generally speaking there needs to be a “flow” created in the room which supports the children’s independence and strive to perfect themselves. The flow is not only how the children will move throughout the room, as important as that is, but also the progression of the academic areas. As I touched upon at Back to School night, the work the three-year old is drawn to (typically Practical Life, Art, and Sensorial) is preparation on multiple levels for the work to come. We support these developmental progressions in the physical placement of the location of those shelves of materials within the classroom.
The work on the shelves are all designed to develop coordination (eye-hand, fine motor, etc.) concentration, order, and repetition. In addition, each lesson has very specific aims as well as preparations required. The lessons on each shelf progress from left to right (preparation for writing and reading), top to bottom, (once again writing and reading) and from simple to more complex steps and development. For example, a work in the upper left-hand corner on a Practical Life shelf in the beginning of the year will be a dry grasping work as our youngest friends haven’t yet begun to develop a pincer grip. It may only take a minute to complete before returning to the shelf which addresses their shorter attention span while enabling the child to be successful. We present the work on the shelf with order and the child’s first lessons are to replace the work with the same order; later they will learn to create their own order out of disorder. The work is attractive on multiple sensory levels to encourage the child to return to the work frequently as learning comes from repetition. The work on the bottom right-hand spot on the same shelf may be a table sweeping work as this work requires greater fine motor and eye-hand coordination, multiple steps, greater concentration, and although still very concrete, there are aspects of abstraction associated with this work as well. This process follows through on every shelf throughout our Montessori classroom and expands over the course of the school year.
There are many other considerations as well when designing our classrooms but hopefully you are able to get a sense of the amount of thought and attention to detail goes into our “prepared environments” all in support of the goals we have shared with you and have for your children in their individual pursuits to become the people they are intended to be.
About the Early Childhood Room 1 Directress:
Kim Koch - Lead Directress
I began my career in the Montessori community as a parent selecting a Montessori pre-school for my children. The more I learned from the sidelines the more drawn I became and it soon became clear to me that this profession "fit me like a glove." My undergraduate background in psychology has been most beneficial since at the core of Montessori is one's understanding of child development as well as human behavior.
I have participated in the Montessori community at large in a variety of capacities including as a presenter, working with teacher-training programs, as well as guiding many future Montessorians as their Supervising Teacher. Second to the joy I receive each time a child experiences her/his own "a-ha" moment in the classroom is being a part of fueling the excitement and energy new Montessorians bring as they learn and grow in a profession we mutually love. This is especially what drew me to Magnolia. I am so motivated by and committed to helping grow a new school whereby expanding the Montessori community, as well as providing high quality pre-school education in the Hunterdon County area.
Within each child lies the person s/he is going to become. It is the "essence" of the child; what we refer to in Montessori terms as the "spiritual embryo." It's my goal each and every day to provide the environment within which each child can grow and blossom in order to realize his/her full potential; honoring his/her spiritual embryo. It's a great privilege.
Our Early Childhood classroom is an environment that fosters respect, compassion, and acceptance working in a cooperative fashion while striving for each child to reach his/her full potential as they journey to create the people they are intended to become. This is achieved by celebrating individual differences while embracing all that brings us together as a Montessori community. Our vibrant and stimulating environment encourages children to learn by means of all their senses which supports a vast array of learning styles. Children are presented with challenging, yet attainable goals, which propels them towards self-discovery in pursuit of developing their whole person. Our program is individualized which enables children to progress at their own rates while also providing room for a child to explore further in any particular area of interest as far as s/he is able to grow. We find that children are often high achieving when all their developmental needs are supported by the environment within which they are surrounded. The Directress is an integral part of this environment as the "dynamic link" between the children and the materials from which they gather the concepts to learn and grow.
Contact the Early Childhood 1 Room:
Required to gain access to:
- Class Directory
- Classroom Photos
- Monthly Calendar