The prepared primary environment includes sequential learning activities in four major areas:
- Practical Life: Practical life activities are those that the child has observed being accomplished through daily living. These include all the simple tasks we engage in to establish and maintain our living and working environment. Participation in this “real-life” set-up allows children to construct themselves as total individuals through an initial successful relationship with their surroundings. Care of self and care of environment are indirect aims of the activities in this area. As the child works in the Practical Life area, he develops order, coordination, concentration, and independence.
- Sensorial: Sensorial materials assist the child in the mental organization of past experiences. Sensorial materials also lead the child to new discoveries and new sensations. This sensory education is undertaken not only to sharpen the senses but also to assist the child in the development of his intellect, which is dependent upon organizing and categorizing his sense perceptions into an inner mental order.
- Math: The Montessori environment provides the necessary stimulation and exploration for preparing the child’s mathematical mind. The child explores and discovers mathematical concepts and relationships through manipulation of concrete materials. These materials are sequenced from simple to complex and from concrete to abstract. The child is aided in discovering relationships by dealing with the math materials sensorially.
- Language: The Montessori approach is one of indirect preparation, and this preparation begins at birth. Indirect preparation refers to the preparation of the environment including opportunities for attainment of skills to be used later in life. The progression through spoken language, writing, and reading is a long process. The sequence of materials and activities made available to the child in the Montessori classroom is designed so that when the child is ready to read, his skills are at hand. By this time the child has absorbed and practiced the skills that allow the reading experience to come to him/her in totality.
The classroom environment offers additional activities and materials in the areas of geography, art, science, music, movement, and dramatic play. It is fully interdisciplinary.
This multi-age class for children 3-6 is designed to incorporate the young child’s attraction to language, order, and movement. The curriculum and environment reflect the child’s natural sense of self-motivation and inner direction. Students have a personalized educational experience based on a combination of their own initiative and the nurturing guidance of their teacher. The three-year cycle within the class allows children to develop social skills in a family-like setting.
At AMS we strive to give children an individualized education through child-directed work. Children are given the freedom during classroom work time to choose their own work activities, as well as whom and where to work with. However this freedom is earned through responsible behavior and choices. The expectations that children will work in a calm manner without interrupting others is built in from an early age and practiced over and over. This allows for a classroom where many different activities are taking place simultaneously and natural interaction and social connections are made. While children are expected to study a variety of topics and touch on all academic components we understand this will happen naturally over the course of their schooling and does not need to be forced into a single daily schedule.
Uninterrupted time is provided to students to allow them to fully immerse themselves in their chosen work. Teachers monitor each child’s progress through observation and help guide children to the next natural progression of their studies and continue to develop their focus and concentration. Students are exposed to new materials through either individual or small group lessons and then allowed to practice the work as often as they desire. Many of these materials are self-correcting, empowering the child to notice and fix their own mistakes.
Throughout the day, a broad variety of materials are available for hands-on exploration, allowing children time to self-pace their intellectual, social, and physical activities. There is time and space for music, drama and the relaxed social interactions that provide a home-like atmosphere during the parents’ workday. American Sign Language and Special Projects are offered each week. Older children in the class benefit from helping the younger ones, thus reinforcing their knowledge; younger children initiate and internalize skills modeled by the older ones.
School Day Attendance (3-4 years old)
After eating a lunch brought from home, younger children nap giving older children a chance for further academic exploration, extensions of materials and special projects in a small group setting.
Please discuss your child’s rest and sleeping habits with the teacher, and update as necessary. A child who appears to need a rest will be invited to lie down, even if not routinely scheduled for napping. Mats are provided for every child. Each child may bring soft animals/blankets to put in his nap bag. The bags are used by the same child all year, and are sent home every Friday for laundering.
Children who have moved developmentally past the need for a nap will be invited to observe a period of quiet time. Afterwards, they will resume their classroom explorations while their younger peers sleep.
School Day Attendance (5-6 years old)
Please see Extended Day
Toddler and Primary Summer Camp
Anchorage Montessori School offers camp sessions for toddlers (age 19 months to 3 years) and primary (age 3-6 years). The sessions are held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and include time for eating lunch on daily outings. Toddler camp activities include outdoor activity, language, and self-care skills. The primary program adopts a particular subject or theme for concentration during each session, and emphasizes outdoor activities.