Ages 5-6 Years
The Kindergarten year at the Montessori School of Pullman may look different depending on a child’s needs. Some children will spend this formative year in the 3-6 classroom completing the 3-year Montessori cycle in what is referred to as their “leadership year.” Pulling from memories and experiences of their time in preschool, the Kindergartners teach and guide younger friends while pushing forward with their own learning, exploring more advanced works. Some children will spend their Kindergarten year with the Elementary children, learning from the older friends as they begin their time in the next 3-year Montessori cycle of ages 6-9.
Kindergartners tend to gravitate toward Cultural Studies. As their empathy and understanding of relationships develops, they often find a fascination with similarities and differences between cultures. Their fine-motor skills and concentration are developed enough for them to spend multiple days carefully pin-poking, gluing and labeling maps of countries and continents from around the world and they are able to articulate traditions and experiences from their personal lives to enhance class discussions.
Math in the preschool and kindergarten Montessori classroom moves from concrete to abstract. Introductory materials are designed for children to both see and feel quantity to fully grasp the concept before introducing the abstract symbols that represents quantity- numbers. Many materials are explored to help children solidify their understanding of 0-10. Once a child internalizes the single digits, math learning is infinite. Various manipulatives are used to help children understand that quantities can be combined and taken apart to create new quantities (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). Montessori math also appeals to a child’s imagination to grasp concepts.
For instance, early on, children are introduced to the concept of “one thousand.” They feel the size and weight of a cube of 1,000 golden beads and compare it to a single bead. They may then explore the 1,000 long bead chain to see how far across the room 1,000 beads reach.
While language is present in all areas of the classroom (songs, rhymes, books, building vocabulary, etc.) the Language area is designed to focus on the letters and sounds in the English alphabet. The children use tools such as the sandpaper letters to feel the form of a letter while they say the letter sound out loud, thereby both articulating and hearing the sound. By using multi-sensory experiences to learn about letters and sounds, children unlock the tools for language that resonate most strongly with them. When a child first builds, writes or reads a word it is a thrill to see a new world of understanding and opportunity shine across the child’s face. As the children have
been preparing for reading and writing since their first activities in Practical Life and beyond, it is not unusual for a teacher to ask, “How did you know how to do that?” and for the child to respond, “I just...knew!”
In their Kindergarten year, many children use language to extend their learning in other areas of the classroom. They may label the parts of a flower in the Science area, write a word problem in the Math area, invent a creative story about Australian animals in the Cultural area, or write a letter to a friend. Once a child is comfortable reading simple stories, he or she may practice their leadership by reading aloud to younger friends.