What is the Montessori Preschool Program?
Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The prepared environment offers the essential elements for optimal development. The key components comprise of the children, teacher and physical surroundings including the specifically designed Montessori educational material.
There are prepared environments for children at each successive developmental plane. These environments allow children to take responsibility for their own education, giving them the opportunity to become human beings able to function independently and hence interdependently.
The Prepared Environment comprises of 5 main areas:
Practical Life activities provide the link between the home and the school. The direct aim is to help the child to become more independent thus leading to a greater self-confidence and ability to face new challenges. The indirect aim of these exercises is to enhance concentration, co-ordination sequencing and independence. Through repetition of the practical life exercises the child perfects gross and fine motor skills, concentration, and develops order. They help the child learn to care for themselves and others leading to responsibility, self- respect, respect for others and for the environment. Examples of activities include:
- Care of the environment
- Care of the self
- Simple food preparation
- Grace and courtesy lessons
- Analysed movement
The Montessori concrete language materials help the child develop verbal skills, pre-reading, reading, writing and literacy skills by enriching the language they have absorbed and building more complex language through their own discoveries and experiences. Language materials are always included but specific materials increase vocabulary and explore both written and aural/oral language. Children are introduced to letters using the senses of touch, sight and hearing. They progress using concrete materials to compose their own written works and to read the works of others.
Sensorial materials were designed by Dr Montessori specifically to help the children refine their senses and therefore become more perceptive to their surrounding environments. These materials allow for repetition and control of error. Sensorial materials form the basis for mathematics, language, and the arts. The sensorial area of the classroom appeals to the child’s five senses, stimulating them to explore the environment using their senses to develop discrimination, order, refinement of movement and concentration. The refining of the senses at this age leads to a greater awareness of detail and allows the child to focus on the world around him. Activities include matching and grading using materials that isolate the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, kinaesthesia and smell.
Mathematical concepts are introduced using Montessori concrete materials. Montessori concrete mathematics materials assist the child in discovering and understanding mathematical and geometrical concepts, forming a strong foundation for abstraction, problem solving and reasoning. Through the sensory work, the child understands concepts in arithmetic and geometry. The hands-on materials stimulate absorption of the decimal system and the four mathematical operations. Standing on this firm foundation, the child is later able to understand abstract concepts and more advanced operations.
Cultural materials lead a child to experience biology, history, geography, science, art, music and drama and broaden their understanding of the world around them. Cultural diversity is present within every classroom and promotes appreciation and acceptance of all cultures. Again, all such experiences are initially in concrete form. Eg, the world is presented as a sandpaper globe allowing the child to feel the ratio of land to water. Experiments allow the child to arrive at scientific concepts for themselves. Visitors in the classroom share experiences and aspects of their cultures and traditions.
Other areas that our Prepared Environment cover include:
- Cooking and nutrition
- Science and nature
- Music and creative movement
In addition, the program helps the child to develop the following attributes:
- Initiative and persistence
- Social development
- Inner security and sense of order
- Sensory motor skills
- Creative intelligence and imagination
When can Children start the Montessori Preschool Program?
Children can enter the Preschool program when they have had their third (3) birthday, on or before the 31st July of that year. Children turning 3 from August to December commence the following year unless a vacancy becomes available in the second half of the year. The commencement date for each child will be determined by their date of birth. Start dates are staggered to allow the teacher to offer each child extra guidance on their first day.
Enrolment options include:
- 2 full days per week (Monday/Tuesday OR Thursday/Friday): 8.30am – 4.00pm
- 3 full days per week (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday OR Wednesday/Thursday/Friday): 8.30am – 4.00pm
- 5 full days per week (Monday – Friday): 8.30am – 4.00pm (limited places)
- 5 half days per week (Monday – Friday): 8.30am – 11.30am
If a child has attended a minimum of one full year in the preschool program, then they may apply for the Montessori Kindergarten program in the year they turn 5 on or before the 31st July. Find out more about Kindergarten.
When you observe a Hills Montessori classroom, you will notice the children working independently and with minimal teacher interference and enjoying the activities, engaging in purposeful work. You will also observe the older children helping the younger ones, which is the benefit of the multi age program.
We offer prospective parents the opportunity to come in and tour the classrooms in session. Please contact the school office for tour bookings.
To book a tour, or for more information please contact us.
Enrolment and Fees
To enrol your child in the Montessori Preschool Program please click here.
For our schedule of fees please click here.