"Such experiences is not just play…. It is work he must do in order to grow up.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
Our Lady of Grace’s early childhood program for 3 to 6 year olds is located in what we lovingly call "The Wings" - North and East.
Our nationally recognized and accredited Montessori program follows New York State standards and curriculum while centering on the time-tested observations and methods of Dr. Maria Montessori, who identified special characteristics in all children.
In The Wings, children begin their educational journey and learn the foundations of language arts, mathematics, geography, science, music, and art.
From the time a child is born, parents experience everyday triumphs - the first word, the first step. Beginning in November, we invite our parents to observation sessions, so that they can witness firsthand the progress and classroom triumphs of their children.
Our early childhood curriculum is based on the following Montessori disciplines:
Through Practical Life activities children develop an understanding of their environment and how it works. The motions involved in these activities help children to gain gross motor control and hand-eye coordination while enhancing the development of task organization and cognitive order. For example, children will engage in daily living activities such as: mopping, dusting, polishing, etc. All of these lessons involve many steps which when completed successfully help the child to feel a sense of pride in what he/she has accomplished as well as develop manual dexterity, which will be helpful once the child begins to write. These exercises correspond to the children’s sensitive period for refinement of movement and coordination, as well as a growing sense of independence through established activity.
In order for children to continue their creative task of development, they need to classify and express the impressions they have already received. Through sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, the Sensorial Montessori materials enable children to clarify, classify, and comprehend their world.
Through the use of materials that introduce multi-dimensional approaches to the concepts of number, symbol, sequence, and mathematical operations, the Montessori mathematics materials enable children to begin their mathematical journey from the concrete to the abstract through manipulation, experimentation, and invention.
Throughout the Montessori environment, children hear and use a precise vocabulary for all activities. Beginning with the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, the foundations of oral language development, written expression, reading, and the study of grammar are mastered through the use of materials that allow children to link sounds, symbols, and concepts.
Our carefully prepared environments balance the children’s developing imagination and powers of abstraction with down-to-earth, concrete, hands-on materials. The children “work with materials, rather than play with toys.” In our nurturing, child-friendly setting, each material has a structured sequence designed for discovery and understanding. By surrounding children with appealing materials and learning activities, they become accustomed to engaging in activities on their own.
Multi-aged Community of Learners
All classrooms have a mixed-age group setting, with 3–6 year olds in the same environment. This setting allows children to learn from and to teach one another. Younger children are eager to try what the older children are doing so they will push themselves to try more difficult tasks. Children have the same teachers for three years, thus providing the teachers and the students the opportunity to know one another very well. This allows the teachers to know where the children are academically and to challenge them appropriately.