Children’s House (ages 3-6)
The Aspen, Maple, & Oak Communities
Our Children’s House program is a caring community designed to nurture the young child to become a self-confident and curious learner who will learn to value himself, others, and the world around him.
The "Absorbent Mind" – Montessori for Young Children
Dr. Maria Montessori viewed the First Plane of Development, the “Absorbent Mind” (from birth to age 6), as a time when a child is creating himself as an individual.
This tremendous task occurs through constant absorption of the world around them. Young children need beautiful, safe, and ordered surroundings where they feel protected and loved, along with extended periods of concentration in an environment where they feel encouraged to learn by doing concrete tasks and experiencing the real world around them. They are internally driven by phases of intense interest or “sensitive periods” in learning a particular skill or concept. (Read more about Children’s House Curriculum).
Elements of an Authentic Children’s House Environment
The SVCMS Children’s House environment meets young childrens' needs with beautiful, orderly classrooms, and features a full range of Montessori materials that are engaging and developmentally responsive to children between the ages of 3 to 6, arranged invitingly on low, open shelves. All of the furniture is child sized and all of the materials are scaled to fit the physical dimensions of a young child’s body.
There is a strong emphasis in the Children’s House on peace education, including inner peace, peace in a community, global peace, and peace with nature. Students are encouraged to respect one another and their work, to use their peace lessons to resolve conflicts, and are introduced to a global view of life in learning about people around the world through cultural and geography lessons.
Everyday, children are able to fully engage in self chosen work within a three-hour, uninterrupted work-cycle that gives them the opportunity to fulfill their own curiosities and interests in the classroom. The Montessori method of instruction uses a three-period lesson format which introduces new concepts and/or language to broaden a student’s understanding of the materials and the environment.
Lessons in Children’s House
The first period of this Montessori method of instruction is a lesson presented by a Guide who clearly, concisely, and gracefully shows the student the concept. (Read more about Children’s House Curriculum).
During the second period, the child undertakes practice with the materials alone or with a peer, conferring with the Guide.
In the third period, the child achieves conceptual and practical independence as s/he internalizes the concept and demonstrates mastery.
To further deepen their learning, the mixed-age Montessori community allows younger children to have the opportunity to see what learning lies ahead by observing the older children having or reviewing a lesson. Older children are able to solidify their knowledge by sharing their work with the younger children.
Growing together over several years in a warm and supportive environment, the students in Children’s House develop themselves while developing very close relationships among their peers and their Guides.
Children’s House Faculty
Guides in the Children’s House program are kind, knowledgeable, and careful observers of the needs of each child in the classroom. They establish a physical environment that is orderly, precise, and attractive, and know when to present new lessons when a child is most ready for them.
They establish a psychological environment that is encouraging and supportive of purposeful activity and they guide each student towards a freedom within limits that allows them to pursue their own interests while learning to respect the needs of others.
Children’s House Blog (password protected for current families)