Children ages 3-6 (enrolling 2 years 9 months to 5 years)
Sage Montessori, following the Montessori Method, is a mixed-age environment for children ages 33 months to 6 years. Children of different ages work collaboratively and enjoy each other's company, creating a lively and dynamic learning environment. You might catch a glimpse of an older child patiently guiding a younger peer through a task or a younger child marveling at the impressive work of their older classmate. It's a heartwarming sight to see children from diverse age groups supporting and learning from one another in such a positive and nurturing setting.
At our core, we are dedicated to nurturing the individual growth and development of each child in our care. We watch for indicators, such as their ability to independently choose and engage in activities that they find interesting, and to do so repeatedly while also sharing resources with their peers exhibiting positive social behaviors. We support the children to make choices throughout the day, work well with others, and to experience joy in the process of learning and exploration.
Conventional education tends to orchestrate activities that have narrow definitions of acceptable behaviors, such as sitting quietly during circle time and only speaking when recognized by an adult. We believe that children learn social skills best in an environment with more social freedom.
In our program, we explicitly teach and model important social skills through grace and courtesy lessons. These skills include how to get someone's attention, invite a friend to work with you, or ask for help. We present these lessons in small groups through roleplay activities. Later, children have the chance to spontaneously use these skills as the need arises naturally throughout the day. For instance, a 3-year-old may ask for help from a 5-year-old or an adult, providing an opportunity to choose whom to ask for help and to apply their newly learned social skills.
We cultivate an intentionally diverse school community so that children have the opportunity to interact with others from different backgrounds and ages. Our classroom is a mixed age learning environment with 3, 4, and 5 year old children sharing a space and learning together. We believe that a diverse social community supports deeper empathy and social learning.
We nurture children by seeing them as individuals and supporting their personal developmental journey. Each child needs something different, we provide a rich environment and help them connect to the activities that satisfy those needs.
Conventional preschool tends to assume that learning happens in group discussions and activities that are designed and orchestrated by the teachers. This mindset makes it challenging to individualize learning for each child.
In Montessori philosophy we believe that learning happens for children when they are engaged in a game, activity, or work that has a clear purpose and requires some concentration. Although an adult may need to give an initial demonstration just to show how it is done, in the future a child may independently choose an activity and practice it repeatedly as often as desired.
Our learning environments are filled with many different games and activities designed and tested for over 100 years. First, we demonstrate beginning activities, then we empower children to follow their interests and repeat what is engaging. We closely observe each child’s personality and interests and we then suggest more advanced activities when they are ready for a new challenge.
Learning activities include practical life activities such as food preparation and caring for the classroom and ourselves. Learning to sweep the floor, wipe up a spill, zip a coat, and chop vegetables encourages concentration, independence, and pride for children. Language games to expand vocabulary and practice conversations and stories, and activities to learn letters, sounds, writing, and reading. A number of sensorial games and puzzles provide opportunities for children to hone their senses and learn vocabulary related to color, shape, size, texture, smell, sound, and more. Mathematics activities teach numerals and quantity and provide a hands-on experience of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Children arrive at school and are greeted by an adult. Over the next few hours each child chooses activities based on their interests with support from adults. It is during these hours that each child’s personality is truly revealed; does the child want to jump immediately into work, or do they want to have breakfast first and chat with friends or read a book before choosing a challenging activity? Does the child prefer to work alone or beside friends? Which activities hold their attention for a long period of time and which do they choose to repeat several times? Adults observe during this time, recommend activities to individual children, read books, sing songs, and play small group games. Children are welcome to join small group activities but are not required to participate.
During the morning children are invited to help prepare lunch. At noon we eat our meal family style to practice table manners and conversation.
After lunch we play outside and we may visit a local park or walk to the library. Upon returning to the school we turn off the lights, close the curtains, prepare beds, and offer rest time. Children are not required to sleep, but we ask all children to spend some time quietly resting or reading a book on their bed. After a reasonable period of time we invite any children still awake to quietly choose activities as in the morning.
Afternoon snacks are provided and children are picked up for the evening.
We celebrate diversity by respecting each child as a unique individual with their own interests, passions, and developmental needs. We celebrate the diversity of our community by creating a diverse school leadership and inviting and welcoming families from all backgrounds to our school.