the kindergarten year
The Kindergarten program is a full day program and is the final year of the three to four year cycle for children turning 5 years old by October 1st. It is an exciting year for children to master their skills and become leaders in the classroom.
The final year of Primary, the Kindergarten year, is one of integration where previously difficult tasks and concepts begin to fall into place. The children can work independently on many activities. They can be working on newly introduced materials or showing familiar tasks to younger peers. They work for mastery and to consolidate their knowledge. They know the routines and social expectations of the classroom. The Kindergarten students rise to become the leaders of the class and mentor the younger students. They truly respect this position and are proud of their senior role in the class. As such, they confidently help their younger friends.
HMS Kindergarteners enjoy a year of spectacular growth as they embrace their new leadership roles in the classroom. In this culminating year of the Montessori three year cycle in Primary, students explore special units of study and focus increasingly on academic skills in preparation for their transition into elementary school. In the Kindergarten year, the children work on small group projects to develop academic skills and collaborative abilities. Various projects and topics allow children to work with an extended work cycle to explore topics in more depth. Kindergarten children engage in more advanced activities that often extend into the afternoon hours allowing the children more time to strengthen their math and language skills—critical for successful transition when they move on to various elementary settings.
The following provides a brief description of our reading, writing and math program for Kindergartners:
With a firm foundation in the phonetic Montessori Language curriculum, our Kindergarten students continue to build their reading skills. Varied exercises introduce consonant blends, double and long vowel sounds, as well as many common phonograms and sight words, expanding the reader’s vocabulary. Daily lessons strengthen the student’s word attack and blending skills, as they become more fluent, competent readers. Parts of speech (noun, adjective and verb) are introduced through fun and engaging activities to stimulate interest. In addition to our vast Montessori curriculum, students also work with the ‘Go Phonics’ reading series. This Orton-Gillingham based series is sequential, multi-sensory and compliments our Montessori based curriculum.
Using the Montessori metal insets and supplemental activities, the children continue to develop good writing habits. By using a multisensory approach, the children enjoy learning to form letters and numbers neatly and consistently. In the Kindergarten year, good handwriting habits are well established, enabling the children to be clearly understood in journaling, school work assignments and creative writing.
The Kindergarten year is the one in which the concrete math instruction of the previous years comes to fruition. The children are now incorporating all of the concepts, from learning names for quantities one through ten, to exchanging numbers. While teaching the decimal system, formation of numbers, and operations, concrete materials are consistently utilized, enabling the child to visualize and handle the materials, thus noting the differences in numerical value. As the hand is the child’s best teacher, he teaches himself the concepts needed to progress through math while using the Montessori math materials. After a multitude of exercises in the practice of math, the abstract begins to be introduced, in the form of recording answers. This is an important step in the gradual process from handling materials. The child now has the tools needed to progress to higher math of an abstract nature, with the understanding of basic mathematical concepts internalized.
In the study of geography the children discover the connectedness of cultures around the world as well as terms shared as in land forms, weather and the exploration of space and the oceans. The language to describe types of families, homes and traditional costumes and holidays open up opportunities for the children to see the similarities between people and their customs all over the globe.
The Kindergarten year in the Montessori classroom serves as a capstone to the child’s experience and is fondly remembered for many years to come. For more information on the importance of Kindergarten as the culmination of the three year cycle in a Montessori classroom: Why Montessori for the kindergarten year?