St. Mary’s Preschool is centered on the Montessori method of education, which prioritizes the holistic development of each child. We believe that each student is naturally eager to learn, and aim to bolster this initiative by creating a supportive and thoughtfully prepared learning environment. Classroom activities are designed to encourage independence, autonomy, and a sense of order. Each child is given the freedom to choose from these activities based on his/her personal interests, and seeks out teachers’ guidance as needed.
In a Montessori classroom, students develop healthy peer relationships by interacting with peers of multiple ages. Younger students learn from their older classmates, and older students reinforce their understanding of concepts by helping and teaching their younger classmates. This fosters children’s collaboration and prepares them for future social interactions with people of all ages and personalities.
We believe that in early childhood, students learn best through direct experience with materials that develop their cognition through sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and movement. Therefore, at St. Mary’s Preschool, we integrate early bilingual literacy and numeracy skills with sensory-motor activities that encourage exploration using all the senses.
Montessori preschool education is rooted in four main learning principles: Coordination, Concentration, Independence, and Order
One of the main accomplishments in early childhood is the mastery of physical control and coordination. Coordination is essential for children to be able to write and draw, balance while walking and running, and perform everyday tasks like tying shoes and zipping or buttoning up jackets. As our students hone their coordination skills, their senses of self-reliance and self-worth grow as well.
Concentration, or cognitive control, is another key component of Montessori learning principles. This type of mental focus is crucial for students’ successful transition to kindergarten and elementary school. Although people typically believe that young children have very short attention spans, we find that the opposite is true when we match students with activities that precisely meet their interests and developmental needs. At St. Mary’s Preschool, we create an environment that fosters the type of concentration and focused effort that will serve as the foundation for students’ future academic pursuits.
Fostering children’s independence and autonomy is a critical part of St. Mary’s Preschool philosophy. A healthy sense of self-reliance lays important groundwork for students’ self-care and future learning habits. Through choosing their own learning activities, taking responsibility for their belongings, and participating in mealtime set-up and clean-up routines, students strengthen their independence, initiative, and self-care skills.
Children have an instinctive need to make sense of the world around them; this is why they thrive on bedtime rituals and daily routines. At St. Mary’s Preschool, we fulfill and nurture this innate love of order by establishing a regular daily schedule and designing lessons that are carefully thought out and logically sequenced. This sense of order sets the stage for students to develop effective organizational skills.
Through these principles of Coordination, Concentration, Independence, and Order, we teach students to treat themselves and others with respect and dignity, and prepare them to enter society as responsible, caring, and confident lifelong learners.