6585 Green Valley Circle, Culver City, CA 90230

Preschool &
Kindergarten

The child who concentrates is immensely happy.
- Maria Montessori

Our Primary Classrooms

Our Primary Classrooms

Walk into one of our primary classrooms, which include preschool and kindergarten children together, and you will see a myriad of activities in progress: Plants being watered, wooden boxes being polished, numbers being counted, stories being told. You’ll see painting, drawing, and research in progress. What will strike you is that despite the variety of activities, each child is calm, peaceful, and engaged. How is this possible?

In our Primary classrooms, children choose their work each day, which allows them to maintain focused concentration on that work for the period of time natural to their stage of development. This approach to early education deeply engages children in the learning process, and meets their fundamental drive to achieve independence. By harnessing that natural drive – the drive that enabled them to walk, then run – our classroom becomes the place where they discover and conquer new challenges in thinking, physical coordination, and social cooperation.

Walk into one of our primary classrooms, which include preschool and kindergarten children together, and you will see a myriad of activities in progress: Plants being watered, wooden boxes being polished, numbers being counted, stories being told. You’ll see painting, drawing, and research in progress. What will strike you is that despite the variety of activities, each child is calm, peaceful, and engaged. How is this possible?

In our Primary classrooms, children choose their work each day, which allows them to maintain focused concentration on that work for the period of time natural to their stage of development. This approach to early education deeply engages children in the learning process, and meets their fundamental drive to achieve independence. By harnessing that natural drive – the drive that enabled them to walk, then run – our classroom becomes the place where they discover and conquer new challenges in thinking, physical coordination, and social cooperation.

Our Primary classrooms are organized
into these main subjects:

Practical life activities allow children to orient themselves to what they see in their world, helping them to master daily tasks while taking care of themselves, their friends, and the environment. Spooning, pouring, sweeping, dusting, sewing, and cooking are just some of the activities available for children to master, as they become self-sufficient members of the world. As children engage in these purposeful activities, they develop large and small muscle coordination as well as concentration and self-esteem. Practical life extends to social skills, and grace and courtesy lessons are infused throughout our Montessori program. Students are treated with genuine respect and learn to treat others with the same generosity of spirit. Good manners and the desire to engage with other children and adults alike are common traits of the Montessori-educated child.

Children are continually surrounded by new sensations. Which is taller, heavier, rougher, or colder? What does it smell like? Do the sounds match? Is the color lighter? Is it salty or sweet? Each piece of material in the sensorial area is designed to isolate one sense — color, size, weight, shape, texture, sound — and activate children’s absorption of new impressions. From there, children organize the unfamiliar and add it to the familiar, expanding their understanding of their environment, as well as their vocabulary, through their senses.

Like many other materials in our Primary classroom, sensorial manipulatives, such as the “Pink Tower” and the “Broad Stair,” have what is called a “control of error,” which means that while working with the material, children have a way to check their own work, without needing the teacher’s confirmation of success. This process is designed to promote children’s independence and ability to problem-solve. Sensorial-based learning is incorporated into the materials of other subject areas as well.

Dr. Montessori believed that the sensitive period for language begins at birth and continues to about six years of age. Because children automatically absorb language from their environment, we use precise language that isn’t oversimplified to build each child’s vocabulary. Each day, we look for opportunities to focus children’s attention on the sounds of their own speech, and they soon are able to make fine distinctions between sounds. From this keen awareness of their verbal language, children begin to match phonetic sounds with the alphabet and continue their journey of learning to name the things in their environment. With this foundation in phonics, many children in our Primary classrooms progress rapidly and begin reading before or early in Kindergarten.

In our Primary classroom, we view math as a fundamental life experience. Mathematical concepts are presented in a logical and exciting way, through experiences with concrete materials. Children compare size, weight, and quantities as they seek to categorize, order, and understand their environment. From stacking blocks and organizing toys to knowing their age or the day, week, and month, children become engaged in the mechanics of math. Number chains present the opportunity for your child to understand the basics of not only addition and subtraction but multiplication. As this strong mathematical foundation grows inside your child, it supports progressively abstract work. With this foundation, many Montessori students excel in math in elementary school and beyond.

Our Primary classrooms are organized
into these main subjects:

Practical Life

Practical life activities allow children to orient themselves to what they see in their world, helping them to master daily tasks while taking care of themselves, their friends, and the environment. Spooning, pouring, sweeping, dusting, sewing, and cooking are just some of the activities available for children to master, as they become self-sufficient members of the world. As children engage in these purposeful activities, they develop large and small muscle coordination as well as concentration and self-esteem. Practical life extends to social skills, and grace and courtesy lessons are infused throughout our Montessori program. Students are treated with genuine respect and learn to treat others with the same generosity of spirit. Good manners and the desire to engage with other children and adults alike are common traits of the Montessori-educated child.

Sensorial Work

Children are continually surrounded by new sensations. Which is taller, heavier, rougher, or colder? What does it smell like? Do the sounds match? Is the color lighter? Is it salty or sweet? Each piece of material in the sensorial area is designed to isolate one sense — color, size, weight, shape, texture, sound — and activate children’s absorption of new impressions. From there, children organize the unfamiliar and add it to the familiar, expanding their understanding of their environment, as well as their vocabulary, through their senses.

Like many other materials in our Primary classroom, sensorial manipulatives, such as the “Pink Tower” and the “Broad Stair,” have what is called a “control of error,” which means that while working with the material, children have a way to check their own work, without needing the teacher’s confirmation of success. This process is designed to promote children’s independence and ability to problem-solve. Sensorial-based learning is incorporated into the materials of other subject areas as well.

Language

Dr. Montessori believed that the sensitive period for language begins at birth and continues to about six years of age. Because children automatically absorb language from their environment, we use precise language that isn’t oversimplified to build each child’s vocabulary. Each day, we look for opportunities to focus children’s attention on the sounds of their own speech, and they soon are able to make fine distinctions between sounds. From this keen awareness of their verbal language, children begin to match phonetic sounds with the alphabet and continue their journey of learning to name the things in their environment. With this foundation in phonics, many children in our Primary classrooms progress rapidly and begin reading before or early in Kindergarten.

Math

In our Primary classroom, we view math as a fundamental life experience. Mathematical concepts are presented in a logical and exciting way, through experiences with concrete materials. Children compare size, weight, and quantities as they seek to categorize, order, and understand their environment. From stacking blocks and organizing toys to knowing their age or the day, week, and month, children become engaged in the mechanics of math. Number chains present the opportunity for your child to understand the basics of not only addition and subtraction but multiplication. As this strong mathematical foundation grows inside your child, it supports progressively abstract work. With this foundation, many Montessori students excel in math in elementary school and beyond.

Our Integrated Curriculum

Our Primary classrooms offer children time, materials, and open-ended activities to develop artistic skills and nurture their abundant creativity. Art is both an independent subject and a bridge to understanding other subject areas. Science and nature are also integrated into all areas of our classrooms, as children explore, create, and express themselves. Materials in our cultural area and a vast array of cultural activities enable the children to learn about themselves, their own and others’ cultures, and appreciate the diversity of their community. Maps, flags, food and “celebrations” add richness to learning.

A Prepared Environment

Our Primary classroom is a “prepared environment” that answers your child’s individual developmental needs. By design, it promotes choice, movement, socialization, exploration, and a strong connection with nature. As your child discovers and masters each subject area, the lessons progress from a concrete, or “hands-on,” lesson to the introduction of abstract, higher-level thinking at the specific moment your child shows readiness to advance.

Unique to Montessori education is our teachers’ ability to observe a child’s “readiness” and act on it. Our teachers are experts at identifying “sensitive periods,” which are specific stages in your child’s development when he or she is extremely attuned to specific kinds of information. Our teachers watch for these sensitive periods in your child, then introduce the material or information that will fulfill your child’s natural appetite for knowledge at the peak of his or her interest.

Another important part of our day is outside play. Hands and imagination work together, as children work with the sand to build tunnels and roads, taking turns with trucks and shovels. Immersed in their shared imaginary world, they lay tracks and build stations for their wooden trains, naturally problem-solving as they play together. Our outdoor time is also a physical release, where children learn to balance, skip, hop, and jump rope. We also venture into group games, in which reacting to “You are out!” is another lesson to be mastered.

Our Integrated Curriculum

Our Primary classrooms offer children time, materials, and open-ended activities to develop artistic skills and nurture their abundant creativity. Art is both an independent subject and a bridge to understanding other subject areas. Science and nature are also integrated into all areas of our classrooms, as children explore, create, and express themselves. Materials in our cultural area and a vast array of cultural activities enable the children to learn about themselves, their own and others’ cultures, and appreciate the diversity of their community. Maps, flags, food and “celebrations” add richness to learning.

A Prepared Environment

Our Primary classroom is a “prepared environment” that answers your child’s individual developmental needs. By design, it promotes choice, movement, socialization, exploration, and a strong connection with nature. As your child discovers and masters each subject area, the lessons progress from a concrete, or “hands-on,” lesson to the introduction of abstract, higher-level thinking at the specific moment your child shows readiness to advance.

Unique to Montessori education is our teachers’ ability to observe a child’s “readiness” and act on it. Our teachers are experts at identifying “sensitive periods,” which are specific stages in your child’s development when he or she is extremely attuned to specific kinds of information. Our teachers watch for these sensitive periods in your child, then introduce the material or information that will fulfill your child’s natural appetite for knowledge at the peak of his or her interest.

Another important part of our day is outside play. Hands and imagination work together, as children work with the sand to build tunnels and roads, taking turns with trucks and shovels. Immersed in their shared imaginary world, they lay tracks and build stations for their wooden trains, naturally problem-solving as they play together. Our outdoor time is also a physical release, where children learn to balance, skip, hop, and jump rope. We also venture into group games, in which reacting to “You are out!” is another lesson to be mastered.

“Every activity in the classroom has a reason.”

-Sabrina Pick

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