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EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAMS
(Two Year-Olds and Preschool/Kindergarten 3-6 Year-Olds)
It is important for parents to understand that the Montessori programs provide a unique cycle of learning. Both the two year-old and preschool/kindergarten classrooms are carefully equipped with a broad array of materials which help the child to discover knowledge and develop his independence. The two year-old program offers activities which help the young child develop independence and social skills. In the 3-6 year-old preschool program, the activities support the child’s developing interests while encouraging their independence and refining their sense of order, coordination, and concentration.

The five general areas of the 3-6 year-old preschool classroom are Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Cultural Studies. Children are allowed to choose activities based on their interest and ability. A child who acquires the basic skills of reading and arithmetic in this natural way has the advantage of beginning his education without drudgery, boredom, or discouragement. By pursuing his individual interest in a Montessori classroom, he gains an early enthusiasm for learning, which is the key to becoming an educated person. While independence is the main focus, children are also part of the community and through their daily interactions with others they learn what is required to be part of a group.

The success of the child in school is dependent upon a number of factors, including the child himself. The relationship between the parent, school, and child is of prime importance. Parents are the child’s primary role models and our faculty and staff provide support to the family. Confusion for the child is minimized when the school and family work together.

In The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori wrote, "The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed. But not only his intelligence, the full totality of his psychic powers. . . At no other age has the child greater need of an intelligent help, and any obstacle that impedes his creative work will lessen the chance he has of achieving perfection."

Dr. Montessori believed that competition in education should be introduced only after the child has gained confidence in the use of basic skills. "Never let a child risk failure," she wrote, "until he has a reasonable chance of success." Since each child works individually with the materials, he relies only on his own previous work and his progress is not compared to the achievements of other youngsters.

It is a well-established fact that young children mature at very different rates and their periods of readiness for academic subjects vary a great deal. Because interest is stimulated and the materials are at hand whenever a child is ready, some youngsters in a Montessori class begin to read and calculate at an unusually early age. However, very early learning is not the norm, nor was it ever Dr. Montessori’s objective. Her ideal was only that the learning experience should occur naturally and joyfully at the proper moment for each individual child. "It is true we cannot make a genius," Dr. Montessori once wrote. "We can only give each individual the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities to become an independent, secure, and balanced human being."

TODDLER PROGRAM FOR TWO YEAR-OLDS
The MCS toddler program for two year-olds:

* Provides activities and opportunities which foster the development of order, concentration, coordination, and independence.

* Provides children with a safe environment for physical movement, exploration, and discovery while encouraging curiosity.

* Promotes healthy social development.

* Assists children in developing language.

* Promotes the child’s trust and sense of order by providing an orderly and predictable environment as well as caregivers that understand and cherish young children.

PRESCHOOL PROGRAM FOR 3-6 YEAR-OLDS
Children 3-6 years old form the classroom community in our preschool program. Children remain with the same classroom until they are ready to move to our elementary 6-9 program (grades 1-3). The 3-6 year-old preschool program provides a unique three-year cycle of learning.

The Montessori curriculum provides the child with concrete experiences and information about his world. The child is allowed to progress through the curriculum at his own pace and interest level. The 3-6 program addresses the whole child – his intellectual, social and emotional, and physical development. Activities are provided which foster the development of order, concentration, coordination, and independence.

The program strives to foster and facilitate the development of patterns of behavior that will serve as the foundation for future learning. These include:

* Intrinsic motivation: The child is working and learning through his/her own choices and direction.

* Independence in work: Each child enjoys "working" and selects one task and another tirelessly and independently.

* Completed work cycles: Whatever activity is initiated by the child is carried out to its natural end, signified by the return of the material to its proper space.

* Respect: The child respects the work of others and does not interrupt or attempt to make it his own. Materials are returned in a manner showing respect for the environment as well as for the child who will use it next. The child is kind to himself and to others and works cooperatively with the group.

* Responsibility: The child takes responsibility for her behavior with the materials. If she spills, for example, she will independently remedy the problem. The child also takes responsibility for her words and actions towards herself and others. For example, she knows that it is her choice to be kind or hurtful and each choice brings certain consequences
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ELEMENTARY PROGRAM, Grades 1-6
(6-9 Year-Olds and 9-12 Year-Olds)

GOALS OF THE MONTESSORI ELEMENTARY PROGRAM
We are committed to the Montessori approach to learning. Our goals are for each child to learn:

* To study independently in a program of individualized instruction . . .
Individualized instruction does not mean one-on-one instruction. Some lessons occur in small groups. Each child receives individual attention from the teacher from the on-going evaluations of his work. The child gains guidance and direction in this personal time with the teacher. The teacher determines what needs to be done in more depth or what additional work should follow.

* To work cooperatively with others in a multi-age setting that develops a community spirit . . .
Children are free to work in groups of their own choosing for special projects or to accomplish their regular daily work. They practice problem-solving methods within their small groups. They become effective community members.

* To think abstractly and to use his imagination through a variety of approaches and open-ended exploration . . .
The imagination develops intensely in the elementary child. "To strike the imagination" is to get the child’s interest. It leads to work, which leads to imagining, which leads to abstract thinking.

* To master concepts through work with three-dimensional materials which put abstract ideas into concrete form . . .
The Montessori materials assist the child in reaching abstraction. Spatial time lines, pictorial zoology, fractional insets, and botany charts are a few of the many materials designed to move the child toward abstract thinking. They are a means to an end.

* To apply the "basics" in order to answer the why, the how, and the wherefore within his world. . .
The "3 Rs" serve as tools enabling the child to move forward and pursue a wider curriculum. Math and language skills progress on an on-going basis, with the child practicing math problems and language arts lessons as expected. The student continues to use his basic skills through other studies in Montessori’s cultural curriculum. Math is used to determine the distance between two cities on a map or to weigh specimens collected for studies in geology. Language arts skills come together as a child researches and reports on how the earth was formed, or how people live in another country, or which plants belong to the heliconia family. The child sees how music (rhythm, notation, etc.) relates to mathematics.

* To be self-disciplined and self-directed . . .
The Montessori program aids the children in developing the ability to master their own thoughts and actions . . . in gaining control over one’s own being. The emphasis is on inner discipline. The children learn to take responsibility for their behavior. They make choices. They learn to work responsibly and independently.

* To solve problems creatively . . .
The world is experiencing an accelerated rate of change. The education of the future must prepare students to cope with changes and to find solutions through means other than traditional educational methods and advice from experts.
Montessori children learn to approach many sources for their answers. They research different points of view. They look toward the community for possible solutions. They learn to adapt to change, and recognize their potential for shaping their own lives. "Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities. The teacher . . . works in the service of the complete human being, able to exercise in freedom a self-disciplined will and judgment, unperverted by prejudice and undistorted by fear."
-- Dr. Maria Montessori

DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF THE ELEMENTARY PROGRAM
* Three-year, multi-age grouping
* Goal-setting
* Research work
* Camp-outs (6-9 program, 2nd and 3rd levels)
* Neighbor island trip (9-12 program)
* Public speaking

ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM

I. Language Arts (6-9 year-old program)
Reading:  Phonemic awareness; phonics; sight words; word attack; comprehension; vocabulary; fluency; poetry.

Writing:  Mechanics; process of writing; exposure to different types of writing.

Grammar:  Parts of speech; parts of a sentence.

Spelling.  Handwriting.

Dictionary skills.  Literature.


Language Arts (9-12 year-old program)

Writing:  Writing techniques and structure; basic editing; exposure to different genres of writing; mechanics.

Grammar:  Advanced parts of speech; advanced parts of a sentence.

Oral Communication:  Public speaking; personal expression.

Reading:  Comprehension; vocabulary.

Spelling.  Drama.

Handwriting.  Literature.

Latin and Greek word roots.

II. Mathematics (6-9 year-old program)
Whole number operations.                              

Life skills: Telling time; knowledge of money; measurement; estimation.

Memorization of facts.  Recognition and writing of symbols.

Recognition of quantity.  Plane Geometry.

Place Value.  Word Problems.  

Fractions.  Passage to decanomial.


Mathematics (9-12 year-old program)

Whole number operations.  Pre-algebra.        

Fractions.  Plane geometry; surface area and volume.   

Decimals.  Word problems; group problem-solving.       

Passage to decanomial.  Memorization of facts.         

Signed numbers.  Powers of numbers.

Ratio & proportion.  Graphing.

Square roots; cube roots.  Squaring and cubing sequences.

Life skills:  Measurement; knowledge of money.

III. Cultural Curriculum (6-9 year-old program)

History:  Study of the universe; timeline of life.              

Concept of time:  Clocks; calendars; personal timeline.

Earth science

Science:  Experiments supporting various themes (e.g. DNA and genetics, etc.); physical science.               

Geography:  Physical; political; biomes.

Peace education.

Five kingdoms of life.

Zoology:  External parts; vital functions; classification of invertebrates and vertebrates.

Botany:  External parts; vital functions; classification.

Fundamental needs of people.

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Cultural Curriculum (9-12 year-old program)

History: Ancient civilizations; early humans; U.S. history .                                           

Science: Human body; zoology; botany; physical science; chemistry; simple machines.   

Geography: Physical geography; political geography.                                                 

Study of systems and relationships with scientific principles.

Fundamental needs of people.        

Peace education.

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IV. Personal Development

Goal-setting.  Problem-solving.

Time management.  Cooperative learning.  

Personal responsibility.  Peaceful conflict resolution.

Care of the natural world and the environment; responsibility to the community; multi-cultural awareness and appreciation.

V. Physical Education

Development and maintenance of physical fitness and good sportsmanship.  Awareness and management of the body.  Acquisition of useful physical skills, safety skills, and personal fitness habits.  Enjoyment of wholesome recreation.
6-9 Year-Old Program:  Non-competitive skill-building games, leading to participation in sports.
9-12 Year-Old Program:  Skills incorporated into non-competitive organized games and physical fitness.


VI. Health
General hygiene, nutrition, physical maintenance.

VII. Music
Performing/reading music; creating music; listening to, describing, and valuing music. 

VIII. Art
6-9 Year-Old Program:  Appreciation of the arts; imaginative, creative, and critical thinking; an understanding and appreciation for the natural world.
9-12 Year-Old Program:  Exposure to a variety of media and mediums through an open lab, experimentation set-up.


IX. Campouts
Development and implementation of practical life skills, independence, personal responsibilities, and an appreciation for the natural world.

AFTER-SCHOOL CARE PROGRAMS
After-school care programs are available for all age levels. The curriculum and activities in the preschool and elementary after-school care programs are separate from those offered by the morning program, and are mindful that the children have been in school all day. The after-school care program provides the children an opportunity to relax, have fun with their friends, and (for elementary students) to work on their homework. The curriculum for two year-olds is consistent with their morning program. After-school care program hours are 2:30-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, and children are provided an afternoon snack.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR PROGRAMS

Extra-curricular programs, such as lunch service, gymnastics, dance, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, or music, are offered in order to enrich our programs. The extra-curricular programs are conducted by outside contractors and are handled directly with the individual instructor or program director, according to policies determined and announced by the individual program instructor or director.

HOLIDAY CARE
Programs are closed for Winter and Spring Recess. Child care is available, with minimum enrollment, at an additional charge. Separate enrollment is required. School hours for holiday care are 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Availability is based on minimum enrollment. In general, programs are offered to our own students, for all age levels.

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Montessori Community School
1239 Nehoa Street   |   Honolulu, HI 96822-3071
E-mail: kathy@montessorihawaii.org
Telephone (808) 522-0244   |   Fax (808) 522-0250

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