Children's House (Preschool)
Developmental Spotlight: Early academics and fine motor skills; empathy and caring for themselves, their community, and their environment
First Plane: Infancy - Physical and Biological Independence, the Absorbent Mind
Compass’ authentic Montessori experience is rooted in the philosophy of educating the whole child. It begins with Children’s House and the First Plane of Development, and the alignment of the child’s absorbent mind and their will and intentions. Traditional Montessori materials coupled with hands-on Practical Life works develop both academic and fine motor skills. Literacy and math are introduced by learning to spell with wooden letters, sounding out simple words, counting on bead chains, stacking geometric blocks, and more. Students might also practice pouring water, spooning items from one dish to another, or crushing eggshells or herbs. They also begin to internalize appropriate social skills and cooperation in work and play. Art, music, P.E., and the occasional field trip round out their experience.
Students in Children’s House primarily work independently, and occasionally in pairs. Teachers often give one-on-one lessons to ensure focus and that they are meeting the individual needs of each child. When not in a lesson, children select materials from designated areas, have a teacher review their completed work if appropriate, and replace the work the way they found it. During this First Plane of Development, the child’s abilities to care for themselves, others, and their environment is emphasized.
A typical day in the Children’s House begins with a community meeting which sets the tone for a successful day, and may include movement or meditation. After the morning meeting is the morning work period, where children move into their flow of activities like punching outlines of countries, matching pictures with words, manipulating wooden blocks, or counting colored beads. A group expression of gratitude opens lunchtime, and recess and a nap period or afternoon work period complete the day.