Early Childhood Program
The Early Childhood Program at TMA is a three year curriculum which includes children in the age range of 2½ to 6 years (preschool – kindergarten). It offers students a combination of challenging academics and extensive enrichment experiences through daily hands-on activities.
Daily outdoor activities enrich our traditional Montessori curriculum, allowing students to bring their work into the courtyards and develop gross motor skills in our expansive natural playscape where children use real shovels for digging, balance on rocks with their bare feet in our sensory walk creek bed, develop their vestibular system in our labyrinth, and feed and care for our pig and chickens. The school day begins at 8:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm with Extended Day options available from 7:30–8:30 am and 3:30–4:30 pm. Beginning August 1, our Extended Day program will return to pre-pandemic hours which begin as early as 7:00 am and end as late as 6:00 pm. For 3 and 4 year old children, we also offer a half-day program from 8:30–11:30 am.
We follow AMS accreditation standards, which promote large group size rather than low student-teacher ratios, allowing children to be more independent and develop intrinsic motivation. Our maximum group size is 24 students with 2 credentialed teachers, 1 teacher assistant, 2 outdoor specialists, and 1 librarian. If a classroom needs a lower ratio at times, we can accommodate this need.
Some young children may not be ready, emotionally, developmentally, or otherwise, to participate effectively and successfully in our program. To provide the best environment for children, we consider the first three weeks of enrollment in the Early Childhood program as a trial basis.
- Provide a Montessori experience for students which includes learning experiences in the major curriculum areas:
- Practical Life (everyday living skills)
- Sensorial (pre-mathematics)
- Language Arts (pre-reading, writing, reading, and Spanish)
- Cultural Subjects (social studies and science)
- Fine Arts (art, music, and movement)
- Social-Emotional (grace & courtesy and conflict resolution)
- Provide Outdoor Education as an extension of the Montessori curriculum.
Addition Strip Board
The Addition Strip Board is a material that is best used to allow students to check their work once abstraction of single-digit addition math facts has been achieved. This Kindergarten-age student has become enthralled with the work, completing a sheet of addition problems abstractly, checking his work for accuracy, then asking to do more sheets. It is so wonderful to see children who love to learn!
Designed to isolate the relationship between dimension and volume, each cylinder block offers the child ten different cylinders, differing in their relative heights and weights. Some are tall and narrow. Some are tall and wide. Some are short and narrow. Some are short and wide. And most are varying degrees in between!
The child removes each cylinder from its block by grasping its handle with just three fingers, feeling the full weight of each cylinder on the delicate muscles of the hand. Exploring the blocks, using either one, two, three, or all four blocks simultaneously, the child is able to internalize the differences in weight caused by different proportions.
Word Building with the Moveable Alphabet
Our Montessori classroom is rich with language, from the casual conversations children enjoy between friends and teachers to the formal lessons in decoding, reading, and writing. Our language materials are quite simple; early materials introduce children to phonetic sounds while later materials build upon those sounds to put together simple words.
The Moveable Alphabet is an early example of word-building, supporting the child as he or she begins the arduous tasks of deconstructing ideas into the individual letters that comprise their names. Children begin with accessible, three-letter phonetic words, sounding out each comprising part, identifying the letter in the box of moveable letters, and placing it in its appropriate place on the mat or table.
There is nothing quite like the authentic Montessori Method for early childhood education! This unique approach enables children to discover their true potential and develop an organized, engaged, and focused mind. The Montessori experience prepares them to be curious, lifelong learners, as well as good citizens, future innovators, and able leaders.
This child wrote a history about our playground and built it, combining items from nature and classroom materials. What a great work!
Take a Peek Inside a Montessori Classroom
Here is a little snippet of our work cycle. You can see that all of the children are engaged in a variety of activities. How awesome to see so much concentration in just a short video!