“Children outgrow daycares, but here, the light goes on and stays on.”
-Oak Meadow parent
The Montessori Beginners classroom is a veritable launchpad for our youngest learners. The multi-year program is fueled by children’s natural curiosity as well as their emergent social and emotional skills. To be eligible for this program, children must be 15 months old by September 1st of the year for which they are applying.
Teachers who are trained in both the Montessori model of instruction and early childhood education enliven a balance of structure, routine, and guided independence to support active learning. At Oak Meadow, the Beginners classroom is all about “doing”—using carefully curated materials to create an immersive educational environment that is seriously fun and instills a love of learning and community right from the beginning!
Beginners are 15 months – 3 years
The student to teacher ratio is 4:1.
A multi-age classroom provides opportunities for children to learn important social skills and creates early leadership skills as students help each other.
Explore the Beginners Program curriculum below.
Practical life skills are a foundation for independence, confidence and competency. Oak Meadow’s youngest students begin to practice and refine skills through everyday tasks grounded in care of self and others, and care of the environment. These tasks incorporate a variety of important lessons including sequence, development of motor skills, growth of the student’s ability to focus visually and mentally, and help the child develop an orderly way of thinking. Grace and courtesy lessons foster interpersonal skills, peace, and care of the community.
The Beginners classroom richly supports the development of receptive and expressive language. Teachers use proper names when giving lessons and discussing objects and picture associations to help children develop a broad vocabulary. Children develop vocabulary through hands-on exploration of realistic objects and pictures in language baskets. Presentations are given using the Three-Period Lesson:
Language is constantly developing as teachers model phrases for children to hear and use. There are opportunities to practice language skills in class gatherings, at meals, and through individual and group lessons. Children are continuously developing communication skills through interaction and conversation with teachers and peers.
Exploration of nature and natural materials is interwoven throughout the Beginners program. The natural world is explored both indoors and outside. Many of the classroom materials are made of natural materials such as wood, metal, and glass, providing rich sensorial experiences. Seeds, plants, and other items from nature are brought into the classroom for hands-on exploration.
Daily outdoor play provides an opportunity for children to explore nature. The playground environment is rich with opportunities to observe simple wildlife such as bugs, birds and more. Sunshine, snow, wind and rain also provide opportunities for exploration, and further develop the senses as well as respect for the natural world.
The Beginners classroom facilitates freedom of movement and exploration. The prepared environment includes activities carefully chosen by teachers that appeal to the inner will of the child. The periodic rotation of activities help children to further their growth and development in categorizing the world around them through various attributes such as sight, sound, touch and smell. Through hands-on exploration, children begin to lay the foundations of classifying and sorting which are skills necessary in math. As young children handle the materials, they are also building strength in the small muscles in the hands, wrists and forearms; this will aid in writing, later in the academic journey.
Art for toddlers is all about experimentation and exploration. Children have daily access to art supplies and can use the materials to create open-ended projects. Children are exposed to various media, such as clay, paint, chalk, and crayons, to express creativity and to enhance fine motor skills. Language skills are further reinforced through the child’s description of the art and its personal meaning.
The Beginners program provides ample opportunities to explore and create sound through the use of various instruments and songs. The love of singing and dancing is nurtured in the environment through planned songs at gatherings as well as throughout the day. Both singing and dancing help to develop language skills. Music gives children the opportunity to work on coordination of body movement and to work as a group in a social setting.