Early Childhood Program


“At the age of three, life seems to begin again; for now consciousness shines forth in all its fullness and glory . . . Only with the advent of consciousness do we have unity of the personality, and therefore the power to remember.”

Maria Montessori

Private Preschool in Garden Grove, CA


Early Childhood Level

2.8—5 years:   Early Childhood classes

4.9 (by September 1)—6 years: Offering a stand-alone Kindergarten class  (Belgrave Facility)

AND . . .

2.6—6 years:  Offering a traditional multi-level program that includes the

Kindergarten level (Los Alamitos Facility)

    Young children have an innate desire to learn which leads them to teach themselves through their own activity. Montessori viewed the child of this age as an unfolding organism who absorbs the environment and actively constructs his or her own intelligence from the experience and interaction with the world. Montessori also believed that early childhood is characterized by “sensitive periods”—internal urges which motivate the child to focus on, respond to, and internalize particular aspects of the physical and psychological surroundings. These special sensitivities make the early childhood period a crucial one for the refinement of movement and the senses, for acquisition of language and social skills, and for the growth of a sense of order.

    The style of a Montessori class is matched to the developmental style of this age period. At this age, an optimal learning situation provides opportunity for each individual to be stimulated according to her own needs and to progress at his own pace. Each child is supported by a democratic leadership style that facilitates growth in capacity for social interaction. Although lessons are given, in terms of demonstrating how equipment may be used successfully, they are informal and compatible with the young child’s natural learning style and cycle.

The Early Childhood Curriculum

To maximize the child’s natural and creative energies in development toward autonomy, competence, and healthy self-esteem, an activity must arouse such an interest that it “engages the whole personality.” Montessori believed that the fulfillment of potential grows from the ability to concentrate generated by the child’s interest. Our environment presents children with a hands-on curriculum, organized as a developmental continuum that includes many valid and purposeful choices of activity.

In the Practical Life area, activities focus on strategies for work, for care of self and environment, and for participation in social life. Their content presents skills the child will need in dressing and grooming, using basic household tools to keep the environment clean and orderly, in preparing and serving simple foods, and learning social conventions for courteous interaction. These exercises offer many opportunities to develop purposeful activity, motor coordination, awareness of order and sequence, concentration, independence, and sense of personal and social responsibility.

The Sensorial curriculum offers the child varied opportunities to refine observation skills, perceptual discrimination, and judgment. Materials focused on the qualities of objects encourage the child to cultivate specific perceptual awareness (visual, tactile, kinesthetic, gustatory, olfactory, auditory) and explore relationships in size, color, shape, and texture. Through activities that involve sorting, matching, grading, and construction, the child gains physical experience of certain concepts which are prerequisite to mathematical understanding, such as class inclusion, recognition of patterns, global and serial ordering, and one-to-one correspondence.

The Mathematics materials introduce ideas of set and number, numeration, and base system. Using manipulative materials, the child  practices  grouping  and  logical  quantification,  counting, numerical operations, and the use of simple algorithms, proceeding eventually to memorization of number facts and abstract computation.

Language development is supported through the child’s expansion of vocabulary and organization of thought in the meaningful context provided by all curriculum areas. Activities in language arts encourage listening, speaking, and graphic expression, then build on the child’s own development to introduce more formal levels of language: encoding (writing) and decoding (reading). Our language program is “whole,” in the sense that the awareness and exercise of language permeate all activities, from the oral reading of good literature to dramatic play—but with the added strength of materials that present an organized approach to the development of phonics skills.

Cultural Studies present experiences designed to foster a basic understanding and appreciation of human cultures. Many such experiences are presented through a project approach that integrates activities around a central theme and assists children in exploring ideas of who people are and what they need (history), how they interact with their environment (geography), how they express themselves (fine arts), and how they observe and think about things (science).

Art, Music, Foreign Language, and Physical Education are an ongoing part of every classroom program. Our weekly music classes follow the Orff Schulwork tradition (through Music Rhapsody) and offer experience of tempo, tone, and beat, utilizing voice, traditional Orff instruments, and movement.  Our Teaching staff utilize their special talents in a team approach to provide the enrichment of art, physical education, and Spanish.


 

FAQ

Does my child need to be potty trained to be enrolled at the Early Childhood level?

Because the Montessori classroom in the Early Childhood Program (3-6-year olds) offers many extended opportunities for the development of independence, self-responsibility, and inner discipline, children at this level are expected to be demonstrating skills such as the independent use of the toilet and the ability to feed themselves before enrollment.

Is lunch provided?

Two lunch options are offered at Montessori Greenhouse for full-day students:

  1. Bring lunch from home

  2. Snacks each day will be provided by the school, two per day at the toddler and early childhood level (a.m. and p.m.) and one at the elementary level (a.m.)

Do you offer partial week programs at the Early Childhood level?

Although typically Montessori Greenhouse offers only 5-day-a-week programs for early childhood students due to the recognition of consistency as an important factor in facilitating the young child’s ability to internalize classroom procedures, we do understand that some very young children require (and some parents prefer) a shorter schedule in the beginning of their school experience.  For that reason, the option of a partial week program is offered at the toddler level, and to children under the age of three who are enrolled at the early childhood level at our Los Alamitos facility.  You may choose the 3consecutive days which work best for you (i.e.: W, Th, F).  Days may be increased upon the availability of space.  At this level, once your child reaches 4 years of age, s/he must be transferred to the 5-day-a-week program. (Please note that the Early Childhood level at our Belgrave site offers only a 5-day-a-week program schedule.)

Do you offer any “after school” programs for the early childhood level?

Currently, Montessori Greenhouse offers two auxiliary* programs after school (and at additional cost).

  1. “Webby” dance classes

  2. “Webby” gymnastics classes

*Auxiliary programs are offered at our facility, for our students, but are separate businesses.  All payments and communications should go directly to them.

What form of discipline is utilized at Montessori Greenhouse?

Our staff members use a positive discipline approach which is tailored to meet the needs of each individual student.  Within this view, children are encouraged to take care of others, and the environment, and to demonstrate cooperation.  When problems do arise, the students involved are supported in taking a look at the behavior that was unsuccessful, and in taking responsibility for that behavior by participating in a problem-solving process to find a more effective way to approach problematic situations.  Children are encouraged to notice that natural (or logical) consequences are the outcome of any self-chosen behavior.  Sometimes this is a more positive experience than other times.  At Montessori Greenhouse, there is a zero tolerance to bullying behaviors and/or physically hurting any other student.

Dealing With Separation Anxiety?


Starting School: Separation Anxiety

   The child may feel afraid that s/he may not be safe here without the parent, anxious about self control (without the familiar safeguard of the parental presence); s/he may even wonder if s/he’s still loved, or feel angry about having to endure this new anxiety. The sadness at being parted for awhile from the parent may come rushing over the child at the moment when s/he says goodbye at the school gate—and all of this at the same time as wanting to come and having fun once s/he’s there!

    For example: Mother may, to her surprise, have many of the same negative feelings that the child experiences, especially if she does not have a full-time job outside the home. She has arrived at this choice carefully, sure that Montessori school is just what the child needs—and perhaps looking forward to a little freedom for herself, for the first time in three years. Yet, when the first day comes she too is filled with uneasiness, especially if the child looks downcast or even cries a little. Do the teachers here really know what they’re doing? Maybe this child is too young, after all. Underneath that layer of feelings may be some deeper fears, not even conscious: this child who has defined her identity as “mother” is growing up, so who will she be now? If mother works at home, the house will seem so empty while the child is at school; she misses the child and feels a bit lonely already. Will she still be needed? Has she done her job well enough that her child will “measure up” to the others? Why can’t her husband understand how upset she is about this, how confused and uncertain she feels at times? Stay-at-home dads are also not exempt from these feelings.

    Even working parents can feel the wrench of the heart brought on by this ambivalence. A mother’s decision to leave a young child and go out to work is a hard one to begin with.   Even if she  finds  the most wonderful of substitutes to replace her as the daytime caregiver, she may harbor a small residue of guilty feelings; if they were not resolved at the time of initial separation, no matter how long buried, they are likely to reappear when the child starts school.

    The first separation of parent and child may become the prototype for all those that follow in the child’s lifetime—so acknowledging the feelings of fear, sadness, and even anger that can be associated with separation may be the most important task for the parent-child partners to accomplish all year. If these negative feelings are denied and suppressed now, they may cloud the emotional life of the child for years to come, an impediment to healthy development and the ability to learn. If a child’s heart is home with the parent (even if that parent works outside the home now), the mind and body can’t take full advantage of being at school.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

The child may. . .

  1. Say s/he doesn’t want to go to school (though the staff may report s/he seems perfectly happy after you leave)

  2. Resist getting ready in the morning (create a conflict about what to wear—or simply  dawdle unmercifully)

  3. Cry when the parent leaves school (or seem glued to the teacher’s side for a little while)

  4. Complain that s/he has no friends at school

  5. Complain that other children hurt her/him

  6. Complain that the teacher “doesn’t help me”

  7. Complain of a tummy-ache before school

  8. Get angry with parents or siblings (about very little)

  9. Refuse to take off his/her coat at school

  10. Wander instead of choosing something to do in class

  11. Avoid the teachers during class

  12. Withdraw into thumb sucking (or wet pants)

  13. When the parent arrives at pick-up time: run away, hide in the tunnel, or insist s/he wants to stay and play (Message: I waited for you all day, now it’s your turn to wait for me!)

The parent may. . .

  1. Find reasons for being late to school (Secret message: I don’t really want you to go or School is not really important)

  2. Need to “explain” the child to teachers (Her needs are really very special, you know)

  3. Feel overly critical of teachers, or disliked (No wonder the child doesn’t want to go; they don’t like her/me or If the place were really OK, s/he’d want to go)

  4. Feel ashamed or angry if the child cries (Good children [the children of good mothers] don’t cry)

  5. Try to leave school without saying goodbye (I don’t want to have to deal with this…why isn’t s/he like other children?)

  6. Say goodbye several times, prolong the moment of parting (You won’t really be safe without me or When I’m upset, you should be, too)

  7. Want to stay with the child at school beyond the first few days (You can’t make it here without me)

  8. Feel frustrated at not knowing what the child does at school each day (Have you stopped loving mother?)

  9. Ask teachers “how s/he did” each day (Are you keeping something from me?)

  10. Get angry with husband, child, or self—about very little

What To Do?

  • Be prepared. Know in advance that some of these feelings are natural, and know their signs. You decided your child was ready and took care to choose a school you trust, so relax and rely on the judgment you made at a less-trying moment to carry you through the separation period.

  • Decide ahead on how you will handle the first few days, and let both child and teachers know. If you plan to come with the child to get him/her started, either stay all day or take the child with you when you must go. Sit in the play yard or classroom as an observer. By the third day, bring something of your own to work on and retire to the office to spend the time. Let the child know that the next day you will drop him/her off and come back when it is time to go home. Your goal here is to transfer trust and authority to the school—so the child can know s/he is safe there.

If you can’t stay with the child, communicate the way it has to be—and why. It may help to emphasize when you will be back to pick him/her up and what the two of you will do together after that.

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Our School Locations

4001 Howard
Los Alamitos CA 90720
(562) 430-4409

5856 Belgrave
Garden Grove CA 92845
(714) 897-3833

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