Why Stay for Kindergarten?

children mimic the statue of a Degas' Many parents do not realize the importance of committing to the three-year cycle at a Montessori school. There are many advantages to having your child spend his kindergarten year with us at Children’s House. One reason was offered by a parent who recently told me, “Your kindergarten program is second to none!” To explain that a bit further, let me describe our program in more detail.

An enormous amount of learning can take place in the kindergarten year in an environment as rich and varied as ours. Kindergartners are sophisticated; they deserve a sophisticated learning environment where they can blossom and grow to their fullest potential. Moreover, Montessori kindergarteners are highly motivated as they learn to be organized, to focus, and to begin to develop a work ethic that will last their whole life. They are self-directed, independent learners, and discover how to learn while they develop a love of learning.

During the first two years your child is at Children’s House, he begins to develop an understanding of mathematical and language concepts. He learns letter sounds and begins to read simple books. Golden beads introduce the concepts of the decimal system and place value. But it is usually in the kindergarten year that a real concrete and sound basis in math and language are formed. The children study phonics in more depth, kindergarteners sewingwith many opportunities for reading and writing for those who are ready. They practice mathematical operations with the golden beads and the stamp game, which gives the child a hands-on and concrete understanding of the decimal system and place value. The child forms mental pictures of how to exchange ten "units" for one "ten," or how to take one number many times, thus accomplishing multiplication. Your child needs the kindergarten year to internalize these early concrete experiences which form a strong foundation for the years ahead.

Because our classroom has the traditional 3-year grouping of a true Montessori school, the kindergarten children take on a leadership role in the classroom. They have spent two years observing, learning from, and looking forward to becoming the “big kids” in the classroom. Now it is their turn to shine and to take on the responsibilities of helping younger children, leading discussions, and in many ways running the classroom. Their self-esteem soars as their confidence in themselves increases. Everything they learned in their first two years with us falls into place.

"If it is true that all you need to know you learn in kindergarten, then you have – and everyone at CHMS – prepared our children to become everything they have ever dreamed of.  I know that you probably don’t hear this enough, but thank you for… well, everything… for teaching Elizabeth about the world around her, from the inside out and all kinds of species big and small, for nurturing her creative side, for teaching her some organization, responsibility, and independence, but most of all thank you for loving and caring for her and creating such a beautiful, peaceful environment.  You, Keturah, and everyone at CHMS, do such amazing things.  I am in awe."

Renee Milausnic, a Children's House parent


Kindergarten Curriculum

Unlike traditional public or private kindergarten programs, our Montessori curriculum is always tailored to each child’s needs. No child is held back in a reading or math group that may not fit their specific needs. He learns at his own pace, and with careful guidance from the teacher, will achieve at a level consistent with his capabilities.

painting a flower in the style of Georgia O'KeeffeOur kindergarten curriculum includes many concepts not taught in other kindergarten classrooms. Art appreciation is one of the favorites. We explore periods of art history and specific artists throughout history through stories, games, and creative expression using a variety of media. For example, the children love painting the large “Japanese Footbridge” by Claude Monet, creating self portraits as did Vincent van Gogh, or painting a huge flower in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe. The year ends with a trip to the National Gallery of Art to enjoy the artists we have studied.

Music is taught to the kindergarteners each week by a former  Montessori teacher at our school, Karen Disney.  The children learn to develop a steady beat through activities that incorporate creative movement, improvisation with rhythm instruments and singing. The children also learn to play the hand bells and recorders.  The classical music units explore the instruments of the orchestra, a composer each month, and the creation of melody and harmony.

"Of the many things our daughter learned in the past few years, I definitely want to thank you for giving her such a wonderful insight into the various artists you’ve covered.  Lauryn has always loved painting and drawing, so I am very happy she was able to, not just see the beautiful works of famous artists, but learn about the lives and inspirations of each of those artists.  I will never forget how surprised and impressed one woman was when Lauryn yelled, ‘Mommy, it’s a Georgia O’Keeffe” at a yard sale.  I proudly told the lady that she learned about several artists at Children’s House."

Kathy Arakaki, a Children's House Parent