The Pre-Pre-K program is for children from about 3 to 4 years old. This classroom is adjacent to the Toddler program, and shares materials and interacts daily with the Toddler program. Children in the Pre-Pre-K program are engaged in a classroom where everything is just their size, thus encouraging independence, confidence and ease.
Three and four-year olds are ready to begin more complicated lessons centered on the skills of reading, writing and mathematics. Moving from the concrete to the abstract, teachers guide students through the curriculum, as they are ready, introducing lessons and observing students while they practice and incorporate what they have learned. As in all Montessori classrooms, children learn at their own pace, moving on to new lessons only when they are ready to do so.
Although the children in the Pre-Pre-K program interact in both English and Spanish, English is the focus of their Language development. Children come to school five days a week and may choose to stay a half day or full day. After they turn four, students may continue in our Pre-K and Kindergarten class.
The Montessori classroom is divided into separate work areas where children rotate through lessons on a daily basis. Although, the areas are separate and distinct, the information children learn from one area, helps them to integrate new knowledge and experience gained from another area. There is a dynamic interconnection between all the areas of a Montessori classroom, which aid the holistic development of each child.
Practical Life activities are central to the Montessori classroom and prepare the child for all other areas. Practical Life exercises allow children to refine their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, hand strength, balance, concentration and ability to do things for themselves, thus creating a sense of independence and confidence. Through the repetition of Practical Life activities, children develop practical skills that will serve them well in their lives, academically, socially and intellectually. Some of the Practical Life exercises in the Pre-Pre-K classroom include Pouring, Scooping, Sweeping, Snaps, Buttons and Table Washing.
Language pervades a Montessori classroom. Pre-Pre-K students are introduced to the phonic alphabet, and begin to blend sounds and to read. Language materials are tactile, taking advantage of the three- and four-year oldâ€™s sensitivity to learning through touch. Writing often comes early to the Montessori child through the use of concrete materials, like the pre-cut letters of the Moveable Alphabet and Sandpaper Letters, which allow students to express their knowledge without needing precise control of a pencil. Other Language Materials include the I Spy game to identify objects and their phonetic sounds and Early Reader books.
Every quality that can be perceived by the senses is explored in the Sensorial area. Unlike Practical Life, Sensorial materials are generally items the students has never before seen nor experienced. Sensorial activities assist children in becoming good observers of the world. Sensorial materials in the Pre-Pre-K classroom include Knobbed Cylinders for practice with dimension, Color Tablets, Rough and Smooth Boards, Geometric Solids, Pegs, the Pink Tower in which children can see and feel different dimensions, and the Binomial Cube.
Concrete materials introduce mathematical concepts in the Montessori classroom. Children learn abstract mathematical skills from these early concrete experiences. Through tactile exercises, like the Red and Blue Rods, children learn how a number represents an amount or a value. They manipulate objects to see operations like addition and subtraction. Math activities include Sandpaper Numbers which teach children how to identify and eventually write numbers, the Spindle Box for counting, Red and Blue Rods for learning value, Count Encounters, The Memory Game, the Hundred Board and Bead Chains.
Geography is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum. The curriculum begins with the globe and becomes more and more detailed as children learn about continents and then countries. Pre-Pre-K students learn first the continents and then are introduced to the 50 States within the United States, beginning with Florida. Students in the Pre-Pre-K class learn geography through song and the use of wooden puzzle maps.
The Pre-Pre K classroom includes many creative materials for children. Fine motor practice, color work, and imagination all come into play in Art. Collage and glue, cutting with scissors, hole punching, markers, crayons, paint and making playdough are all part of the Art curriculum.
Grace, Courtesy and Care for the Environment
In the Montessori classroom, children and adults take care to be gracious and courteous toward one another and their environment. Children are encouraged to develop respect for oneself, for other members of the community, for the living things in the classroom, and for their environment. Carefully putting lessons away so others may use them, carrying things carefully, moving carefully, using polite and respectful language, showing consideration to others and good table manners all practiced in the classroom.
Students are taught Hebrew in words and songs, celebrate Shabbat on a weekly basis and learn about the holidays.