At Alexander Montessori School, we generally define our Preschool Program as the three-year time span when children are in school with us between the ages of 3 through 6 years.
The Montessori Kindergarten Year
This includes the traditional Kindergarten year, although the experiences a child has can travel far past the experiences of a Kindergarten student at a traditional school. The Montessori learning experience is cumulative: What a child learns in the Kindergarten year depends on what s/he has learned in her/his previous Montessori years. There is a large leap that is often described as a “Kindergarten Explosion” that children experience in this third year.
There are crucial differences between a Montessori Kindergarten and a traditional one. In most traditional Kindergarten classes, the primary emphasis is on developing social skills with some preliminary work in cognitive “readiness,” whereas in a Montessori classroom, the primary emphasis is on developing cognitive skills on the firm foundation of sensory and motor skill training. Our Montessori motto, “Help me to do it myself,” can expand to include this piece for the Kindergartener: “Help me do it myself so that I may help others.” The ultimate expression of growth during the Kindergarten year is for the child to teach peers and younger children what they have mastered. This makes the connection between independence and interconnectedness.
Benefits of a Montessori Kindergarten Program
Consider the Kindergarten year as the completion of their first half of childhood. Your child has acquired many new skills and is growing more confident each day in his or her abilities, and will have the opportunity to end this cycle on a high note. There are Kindergarten fireworks ready to explode!
Watch the American Montessori Society's video on what defines and distinguishes a Montessori Kindergarten Program.