A Montessori Program is multi-aged and based on a three year cycle.
Ideally, a primary Montessori classroom will have students in their first preschool year, second preschool year, and kindergarten year. When this happens, the experience for all is greatly enhanced, and allows for an individual student to experience the full cycle of a Montessori Education. At Sunnybrook, we highly encourage families to consider committing to the three-year program.
Year One – The Introductory year
During the initial year, a child is introduced to the environment, expectations, and structure of the Montessori classroom. Three-year old students typically engage in parallel (side-by-side) play with peers. As the year progresses, they begin to observe and participate in social interactions. They spend time exploring materials in the practical life area where they learn personal responsibility and every day skills, such as cleaning up spills, washing tables, pouring, lacing, buttoning, and sweeping. They also engage with sensorial materials where they use individual senses to explore size, shape, color, feel, scent, sound, and temperature.
Year Two – The Engagement Year
At four-years old, second year Montessori students are now familiar with the environment and expectations of the classroom. They know and are known by their teachers, who have observed them and become familiar with their capabilities, challenges, and learning styles. They return ready to engage with the environment and materials. They spend time observing older peers, who act as guides alongside the teachers. They are introduced to abstract concepts in a concrete way to further hone their senses, skills, and thought processes.
Year Three – The Capstone Year – Kindergarten
In the kindergarten year, the Montessori student becomes a role model and leader. This final year solidifies previous experiences while guiding and assisting younger students. More complex concepts are introduced and practiced. Social skills are strengthened as the five-year old student models and leads younger peers through interactions. As Maria Montessori observed, the kindergarten student is in a year of socialization, and will most benefit from being the eldest in a familiar environment. The kindergarten student experiences the joy and responsibility of becoming the role model he once looked up to.
We highly encourage you to consider the benefits of providing your child the full Montessori experience. The core Montessori principles of freedom of choice within a structured environment, where students learn at an individual pace through hands on engagement with self-correcting materials, provides the greatest opportunity for students at all three stages to maximize their learning in all areas.