Welcome to our Pre Primary Classroom
 
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Our Pre-​Primary class­room is a car­ing, respon­sive envi­ron­ment that is com­prised of chil­dren from age 2 to 3 years. Of the three teach­ers in the class­room, one con­verses in Eng­lish at all times, while the other two converses in Span­ish at all times. No more than 18 chil­dren are present at any given time. The most promi­nent tenets of the Pre-​Primary class­room are:

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  Toilet Learning:

At reg­u­lar times, Pre-​primary chil­dren are asked to use the toi­let. Such times are when the chil­dren enter the envi­ron­ment, before snack, before going out­side, before lunch, before nap, etc. We just state, in a mat­ter-of-fact way, “We are going out­side soon, so it is time to use the toi­let.” We are mak­ing an offer phrased in such a way that the child will not automatically refuse. If he does refuse, we recognize that this is his conscious choice, so we do not push the issue. He is given every opportunity to observe other children using the toilet or getting dressed. Eventually, he comes to accept that using the toilet is a natural behavior in the environment, and he will no longer want to be in diapers.

Once a child is wear­ing train­ing under­pants dur­ing the day, he should wear them at night as well. It is a good idea to use flannel/​or rub­ber sheet­ing under the mat­tress cover to pro­tect the bedding.

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 Prac­ti­cal Life:

It exer­cises develop inde­pen­dence, motor coor­di­na­tion, con­cen­tra­tion, sequen­tial mem­ory and social skills. While often appear­ing decep­tively sim­ple, these tasks estab­lish how the child views and val­ues him­self. The child builds basic trust in him­self and con­firms basic trust in the environment. Exer­cises are daily activ­i­ties to care for our­selves and our sur­round­ings, such as dress­ing, wip­ing nose, prepar­ing food, set­ting the table, dust­ing plants, sweep­ing floors, wash­ing dishes, etc. Most early prac­ti­cal life exer­cises are open-​ended, allow­ing the child to extend his atten­tion span nat­u­rally. Later prac­ti­cal life exer­cises (at the Pri­mary level), such as multi-​step food prepa­ra­tion and clean­ing exer­cises, chal­lenge mem­ory and sequenc­ing skills.

 Grace and Courtesy:

Children show respect for adults by making eye contact, lis­ten­ing, and respond­ing cour­te­ously. Sim­i­larly, we adults show respect for chil­dren by low­er­ing our heads to their level, look­ing at them, and lis­ten­ing to them. We, as adults, are the best lan­guage mod­els to chil­dren, who observe and absorb every­thing we say and do. There­fore, we must model grace and cour­tesy in the proper way when­ever we inter­act with adults and chil­dren. In this way, chil­dren can inte­grate these skills into their lives.

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Maria Montes­sori stated, “Lan­guage is an instru­ment of col­lec­tive thought.” Pre-​primary chil­dren absorb lan­guage from their envi­ron­ment at a phe­nom­e­nal rate. In the Montes­sori envi­ron­ment, we focus on spe­cific vocab­u­lary enrich­ment. The mate­ri­als we use for devel­op­ing and enrich­ing lan­guage are:

• Adults as mod­els

• Real objects for con­crete sen­so­r­ial expe­ri­ence

• Replica objects when the real objects are dif­fi­cult to bring into the class­room

• Objects with cards: 3 dimen­sional objects matched to 2 dimen­sional pic­tures

• Clas­si­fied cards

• Books

• Poetry and songs

• Self expres­sion: lis­ten to the chil­dren and allow them to talk to us.

• Ques­tion Exer­cises: this is the process of ask­ing a child or group of chil­dren ques­tions with the inten­tion of help­ing the children orga­nize thoughts around a sin­gle concept. Because these mate­ri­als for lan­guage acqui­si­tion are con­sis­tent between lan­guages, our tod­dlers expe­ri­ence lan­guage immer­sion in a bilin­gual envi­ron­ment. In this class­room one teacher is speak­ing Span­ish only and the other is speak­ing only Eng­lish. Once a child gets older and tran­si­tions to the preschool (Pri­mary) class­room, par­ents may choose Spanish/​English or French/​English class­rooms. At the Ele­men­tary and Junior High lev­els, stu­dents are immersed in all three languages.

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Every tod­dler (pre-​primary stu­dent) has an art ses­sion with an art instruc­tor once a week at the Art Stu­dio. Each ses­sion is about 30 min­utes long. Once in the art stu­dio, the child is wel­come to choose his or her work, to receive a les­son or to cre­ate an art­work prac­tic­ing her or his art skills. Dur­ing the les­son time, the art teacher pro­vides gen­tle guid­ance on a one-​on-​one basis to each stu­dent on how to orga­nize his/​her own work­ing place, how to use age appro­pri­ate art mate­ri­als and how to put the work away and independently clean up the work space.

Tod­dler art cur­ricu­lum includes but is not lim­ited to:

• Draw­ing with col­ored pencils

• Paint­ing at the easel

• Glu­ing pre-​cut pieces of col­ored papers onto a cardboard

• Work­ing with poly­mer clay

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 Music is a uni­ver­sal lan­guage that should be inte­gral to the life of the child, not just a sub­ject or a les­son. Music to some means sim­ply to play an instru­ment, or to sing, or to dance. But to many, and espe­cially to chil­dren, music is a mag­i­cal language.

Chil­dren love to sing. Singing songs devel­ops both sides of the brain and research has shown singing increases a child’s abil­ity in spa­tial rea­son­ing; addi­tion­ally, singing often light­ens the mood. All tod­dlers (Pre-​primary stu­dents) par­tic­i­pate in Kodály-​inspired group singing classes twice a week, and per­form in two school-​wide con­certs in Decem­ber and June.