he Firstyears pre-school section is a purpose built Montessori environment. The Montessori classroom is indeed a child’s world geared to the size, the pace and interests of boys and girls between the ages of three to six. It is designed to put the child at ease by giving him/her freedom in an environment prepared with attractive and didactic materials. These materials are arranged on low shelves within easy reach of even the smallest youngster.Our pre-school classes are divided into two levels.
- Asia class: 18months – 3 years
- South and North America classes: 3 – 5 years
Our curriculum at this level is divided into five core areas as prescribed by Dr. Maria Montessori. They are:
- Practical life
- Sensorial Exercises
- Cultural studies
“A child’s work”, Dr Montessori wrote “is to create the man he will become. An adult works to perfect the environment but a child works to perfect himself”. At Firstyears Pre-school, each and every child gets to work with everyday materials they can find at home or their immediate environment hereby getting acquainted with skills to last them a lifetime. Practical life activities include but are not limited to: pouring, transferring, washing, polishing, working with dressing frames, etc. All these tasks help to improve a child’s co-ordination, balance, and concentration and to gain satisfaction from a task well done.
THE SENSORIAL Materials in our Montessori classroom helps our children to be cognizant of details by offering enough arousal or stimulation of all the senses. A young child meets the world around him through the constant use of his senses. The sensorial materials in our classroom helps the child to isolate defining qualities such as colour, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, smell, e.t.c. Materials available includes: the pink tower, brown stairs, red rods, the smelling jars, colour tablets, sound boxes, baric tablets, cylinder blocks e.t.c.
Introduction to Mathematics
Our learning by discovery approach helps to develop an early enthusiasm in every child for numeracy as opposed to the traditional fear of numbers. Mathematics is 100% practical and not abstract beginning with a set of red and blue rods representing the qualities of one through ten. Using these number rods is an introduction to basic mathematics processes such as addition, basic division e.t.c.
Other didactic materials used in our numeracy class include the spindle boxes, the sequin boards, the golden beads and addition board. Mathematical operations are taught using the short bead stair, the squaring and cubic materials, coloured bead bars, unit beads and the division boards e.t.c. Our children also get to play the bank game, a type of mathematical puzzle.
This curriculum area includes development of a child’s natural sensitivity for language. The individual presentation of language materials in our Montessori classroom allows the teacher to take advantage of each child’s greatest periods of interest.
Oral language development begins from the phonetic sounds of the letter before the alphabetical names in sequence. Learning is systematic and child centred. From the sandpaper letters to the movable alphabet, matching words and pictures, phonograms helps reading development at the early stage.
Our children learn to write not by writing, but by performing a number of purposefully structured activities which prepare them both indirectly and directly for facility in learning.
Our children get to familiarize themselves with their world. Children get to visualize themselves as individuals who are members of their family that belongs to a society in a particular country. They also get to know the various continents of the world through stimulating puzzles and maps. Knowledge and understanding of the world (K.U.T.W) includes simple facts such as land and water formation. The children are also introduced to Botany, History, Geography e.t.c.
Despite our individualized approach to learning ample group activities includes walking on the line- to develop balance and control, the silence game- the solitude during the silence game makes the children aware of sounds which they do not ordinarily hear in the environment, creative arts. e.t.c. The children are also encouraged to pick an extra-curricular club to join.