A bilingual environment for children 1 (once they begin to walk) to 2.5 years old.
The Μontessori Community School Infant Community welcomes the child leaving their home environment for the very first time.
This is an engaging, nurturing and caring learning environment that greatly supports the child in this important transition.
The 1 to 2.5 year old child, is a sensorial being, eager to explore everything in their environment.
Children at this age:
- Develop their movement (hand coordination, grasp development, fine and gross motor skills)
- Are “thirsty” for words and the names of objects in their environment
- Are eager to perform things on their own and for themselves, thereby building physical, mental skills and competences, while simultaneously enhancing their self-esteem and will power.
- Is welcoming and prepared with care and attention, so that it fully meets the developmental needs of the child
- All materials and activities on the shelves are carefully prepared to engage the young explorer and promote his/her overall development
- The objects and tools the child uses are real, specially designed for the child of this age, offering real-life experiences
Our Practical life activities
- Are familiar to the child, from their everyday home environment
- Introduce self-care and care for the environment
- Assist the child with their adaptation to the real world
- Afford the child many motor experiences that reinforce movement and eye-hand coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and balance.
Individual work is alternated with group activities, as is the setting up of the table to eat with their peers or the cutting of fruit and the preparation of a snack, which encourages the interaction and socialization of children.
We place special emphasis on language. It is a bilingual environment where both languages –Greek and English- are spoken and absorbed by the child, through various activities. Vocabulary is enriched daily via numerous activities, including the naming of objects and an enriched daily vocabulary through narration, book and poetry reading and singing.
Above all, we encourage the child’s self-expression from the moment they begin to speak.
The outdoor environment is an extension of the indoor environment and equally prepared and organized with activities as the indoor space. Children may move freely between these two spaces throughout the day.
A bilingual environment for children 2.5 to 6 years old.
Dr. Maria Montessori used the term “Casa Dei Bambini” or “Children’s House” to describe the special environment she created for children aged 2.5 to 6 years old and to emphasize its differences from a traditional school setting. All new children, of this age, enrolling in our school, as well as the children transitioning from the Infant Community are welcomed to the Children’s House.
The Children’s House is a manifestation of Montessori’s vision for human society.
It is at the Children’s House that a child will slowly construct his or her individuality, practicing and incorporating all those physical, spiritual, mental and social skills that mold a well-rounded personality. The children will also engage in meaningful relationships with their peers, based on respect, freedom of expression and an emerging social consciousness.
Οur environment endorses and offers children:
- Developmental activities and materials that capture the child’s interest, develops their intellect and heightens their understanding of the world
- Physical, spiritual and emotional independence, which is accompanied by a sense of responsibility and social consciousness
- Self-confidence, which is strengthened by free-choice and free-movement
- Collective social experiences and exceptional communication skills, resulting from team-work, collaboration and the Children’s House mixed-age group.
Montessori activities in the “Children’s House” fall into 5 distinct categories, organized separately within the classroom:
- Practical life
- Sensorial materials
The materials in every category are organized in terms of degree of difficulty and each material builds upon the skills and knowledge the child has previously acquired.
The activities of this group are, as their name suggests, activities the child has previously encountered during their everyday lives at home. These activities serve as a link between the child’s home environment and their school environment and ultimately help children transition not only from one environment to the other, but also from an adult –sized, to a child-sized reality where, appropriately-sized, light-weight furniture, real-life objects and tools facilitate their adaptation to their surrounding reality.
Even the schedule of the child’s daily rhythm at school resembles the natural rhythm of family life—time for work, time for meals, and time for rest.
Practical life activities work towards the coordination and refinement of a child’s movement, and all the activities offer different types of movement (gross and fine) with increasing difficulty and challenges. Children can pour water or grains from a jug into different glass containers, chop cucumbers, clean surfaces, wash cloths or furniture, polish different objects (glass, metal, wood), plant vegetables in the garden, water the plants, bake bread, make orange juice and set the table, among other things.
Dr. Montessori stressed the importance of the hand in the overall development of the child’s intellect and character. The hand can take in so much information in a concrete way, which then passes on to the brain and vice versa.
In particular, while children are working with their hands, concentrating on the work performed, mastering their task, they strengthen:
- their willpower
- their perseverance
- their patience
- their inner calm and order, inspired by the order in their environment and effected by the orderly way they work in order to succeed in a task
- their logical thinking, as their actions have a logical sequential order
- their concentration
- their self-esteem with every activity they successfully complete
- their self-awareness
Children develop on a physical, spiritual and emotional level.
Through practical life activities, children become masters of themselves and play a starring role in their lives.
Τhe sensorial materials are an embodiment of the sensorial nature of Montessori education as they respond to children’s natural drive to absorb their environment through their senses.
These materials, often referred to as materialized abstractions, represent abstract notions of size, volume, musical tonalities, touch, taste, smell, and the combination of all the above. Whilst building the Pink Tower, a sensorial material, children grasp the concept of shape, volume and size, as the various cubes of the pink tower differ in size in their 3 dimensions. The Constructive Triangle activities introduce children to geometry and the role of the triangle as constructor of other shapes.
All human beings are natural born explorers. Through the exploration and interaction with the environment man was slowly able to name, organize and classify his surroundings, thus gradually building great civilizations.
In the Children’s House, we offer children the opportunity to classify and organize everything they absorb from their surroundings. Children, are therefore introduced to, among others:
- Botany classified cards and materials, introducing the names of different plants or flowers, botany related Practical Life activities like flower arrangements, seed sowing, watering plants in the environment, cleaning the leaves and more
- Zoology materials, such as animal classification cards, classifying animals based on their habitats and physiology, zoology puzzles, magnifying lenses for the study of insects and other living organisms
- Materials that introduce the child to geography including, puzzles of maps of continents, oceans, countries, their corresponding flags and capitals, land and water formations models (introducing the formations of islands, lakes and more) and the different food, clothing traditions and rituals around the world
- Materials and activities relevant to the concept of time and the passing of time through everyday conversation, reading, stories or poems narration, the reading of biographies of prominent figures of the arts, are part of the child’s introduction to history lessons
- A glimpse and sense of the world of Art, through the sensorial introduction to different art movements and techniques (drawing, water-painting, collage, printing, sewing) the naming of famous painters, music composers, musical instruments
- Some physical science activities and experiments, which introduce the child to the notions of gravity, magnetic attraction and repulsion, among others.
In the “Children’s House”, children understand mathematics as an integral part of everyday life.
Even the very first Practical life material the child engages with, when they join our Montessori community, responds to man’s mathematical mind and to our tendency to calculate, estimate, quantify, compare, classify things and draw rational conclusions.
These are natural mental processes of everyday life, which have been labelled mathematical.
The mathematics activities introduce abstract mathematical concepts through material that is both appealing and engaging. For example, mathematical functions like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the operation of the decimal system, fractions, counting and the concept of infinity, are attractively introduced for the child to explore and to help them understand abstract notions, helping the children absorb and appreciate the mathematical nature of our world.
Oral language in the Children’s House constitutes the first and most important aspect of the Montessori language program.
Upon arriving to the Children’s House, the child of 2.5 years has already absorbed his culture’s language. The structure of his native tongue is already in place.
In our Children’s House, and with our extensive, bilingual, oral and written language program, the child will begin to build upon his spoken language skills, enhancing his vocabulary and phrasing, and begin to explore the written forms of language through writing and reading.
The Montessori approach to language is phonetic.
We progressively focus on:
Letter sounds, which form words, and on words that form sentences.
- Children hear and absorb sounds through songs, poems, riddles, tongue-twisters, narrations and games
- Following this, they are introduced to the concept that every letter sound -they hear- corresponds to a symbol, a single letter of the alphabet
- While their vocabulary grows at a rapid pace, children begin to write by joining the sounds-in the form of letters- they identify in the name of something, or in a word, and soon begin to write
- The Montessori material for language acquisition enables children to progress from writing single letters of the alphabet, to writing creatively and successfully, expressing their thoughts and sentiments.
Once the children learn to write, at some point they may express the need to read what they have written. The process of reading initially involves the identification of the letter, which will allow the child to recall the sound and the child will then have join all these sounds to read out a word.
In order to help children develop their writing skills and boost their creative writing abilities with clear expression, comprehension and emotion, we offer materials that introduce a) the parts of speech (for instance the verb, or the article and more) and their role in a sentence and b) basic syntax understanding, through the Phrase Analysis material that will support the child’s writing and also enhance his or her reading.