"Casa" – Our Preschool Program
Preschool children are in a receptive and explosive stage of learning. Maria Montessori called this phenomenon the period of the “absorbent mind.” The "absorbent mind" refers to the brain’s capacity to take in information and sensations from the world that surrounds it and create meaning from them. Three to six year olds are eager to self-construct knowledge, skills, and social graces through hands-on learning and community interactions.
The preschool classroom is a specially designed environment rich with materials that serve to meet and enhance the natural learning tendencies of preschool children. The classroom is beautifully and specifically laid out in a precise manner that invites children to discover and interact with the materials that are designed to encourage understanding and mastery.
Our Montessori credentialed preschool teachers are uniquely trained and educated to observe and support children as they develop skills and intellect. Through observations, our teachers adapt the children’s learning experiences so that knowledge can be personally constructed.
Our children’s day begins with a three-hour work cycle. This period of time is devoted to independent work and to individualized or small group lessons provided by the teacher. The classroom is also composed of mixed age groupings that serve to enhance peer relationships and mentorship. This provides an atmosphere of caring and strengthens leadership skills. It also mirrors the real world in which people work and socialize with people of various ages, beliefs and ways of being.
The following are some of the main areas of activity in the classroom aimed at fostering independence, collaboration, and the development of mental muscles:
Language development is woven throughout every aspect of the classroom through rich, oral language opportunities, such as conversations, stories, and poetry. The children also work extensively with various didactic materials, such assandpaper letters, which allow them to trace or manipulate the letters of the alphabet while learning the phonetic sound each makes. The activities in this area also include word building materials, writing, the study of grammar, and the classroom library.
For more information about language at Battery Park Montessori, please visit the Trilingual Montessori Language Program section of this website.
Casa children have access to concrete mathematical materials that represent all types of mathematical quantities. By combining, separating, sharing, counting, and comparing this equipment, children demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of mathematics. The manipulation of these materials is intended to foster a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles that prepares children for the abstract reasoning and problem-solving capabilities they will need later.
Science & Nature Studies
The children are encouraged to strengthen their connection to nature as a foundation for a lifelong interest in the sciences. Science is an integral part of our curriculum and incorporates topics from Botany, Zoology, Physical Science, Astronomy, Geology, Ecology, Earth Science, and Weather. It is an investigative process that, among other things, represents a way of life - a clear thinking approach to gathering information and problem solving.
Geography & Culture
Large maps of different continents are available for the children to manipulate. Childreneventually learn the names of different countries as well as various facts about each one. The maps provide concrete illustrations of many geographical facts. Children also learn the common land formations. The children gain an awareness of the world around them by exploring other countries, their customs, religions, food, music, climate, language, and animals.
For young children, there is something special about tasks that an adult considers ordinary - for example, washing dishes, making juice, and polishing shoes. In the practical life area of the classroom, children take part in activities that allow them to act like their older role models. Such activities helps children perfect their coordination and refine their motor control; continue to learn grace and courtesy, and care for themselves and their environment; lengthen their span of concentration; pay attention to details; learn good working habits as they finish each task and put away all the materials before beginning another activity.
Sensorial materials help develop the discriminatory power of all the senses. Children build cognitive skills and learn to order and classify impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical properties of their environment. Through beautifully and precisely designed materials children are also able to discover mathematical relationships through manipulation.
Physical Development & Health
We want our students to understand, appreciate, and adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, a proper diet, and intelligent choices regarding personal health and hygiene. We provide students with opportunities to facilitate self-care, choose healthy food, and work on their fine and gross motor development, which areimportant elements in reaching these goals. We also promote movement in the classroom. Through freedom of movement, children learn to respect other people and to self-monitor how their own actions impact others.
Peace education is as vital an element in our curriculum as any other area, and incorporates human relations and conflict resolution skills, nonviolence, leadership training and cooperative teamwork and communication skills. The “Peace Table” is full of interesting and calming objects from around the world, like smooth stones, or tiny flowers, for children to touch and hold. There may be large cards with reminders of different calming and soothing breathing techniques, or books on how to resolve conflict. At the Peace Table teachers model for children how to be good listeners and forge mutually agreeable solutions to conflicts. The goal is that children could have these delicate conversations on their own or as mediators for their friends. The peace table is also a place where children can choose to go to enjoy a peaceful moment alone.
Grace and Courtesy
The Montessori Sensorial shelf is another popular area of the classroom with so much to explore and discover. Each scientifically designed material isolates a quality found in the world, such as color, size, shape, etc. which focuses the attention on that one aspect. Also available are the Pink Tower, Cylinder Blocks, Color Tablets, Knobless Cylinders, Smelling Bottles, Binomial Cube, Trinomial Cube and much more to explore through the senses!
Battery Park Montessori also serves kindergarten-aged children. If your child is entering kindergarten, please see the Kindergarten section and contact us to speak with someone from our Admissions Team.