Montessori refers to a method of teaching designed by Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. She became the first woman to earn a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Rome in 1896. She then began to work with children with various degrees of mental illnesses and disabilities. By 1906, she took the methods she developed for working with special needs children and began to use them to teach children who were considered to be mentally normal. She was the first educator to use child-sized equipment and furniture in a classroom. She developed the theory of "following the child" where the environment and work available is changed based on the interests of the children in the classroom at the time. She implemented the ideas of allowing children to choose work themselves and giving them uninterrupted work time to help them develop their concentration. She believed the teacher should be an observer and should be there to help direct children in the direction that was best for each individual. Maria Montessori trained other teachers in her methods, many of which are used in non-Montessori schools today. Children's Montessori Preschool embraces the Montessori ideals of following the individual child and the teacher's role as observer and guider of the students. We follow each student's ability and interests in helping to prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond. We have integrated more recent child development theories into our curriculum, making our program a hybrid of the best of Montessori philosophy and current modern teaching methods.
While the weather is warm, we start each day with outside time on our playground. This time is very important for the social development of the children, and makes it easier for children to say goodbye to their parents. We then proceed inside for group time. We sing songs, play instruments, play games,and give lessons on work from the classroom and in foreign languages. This is also the time when children take turns giving the weather report and having show and tell. After group time, children are allowed to choose work from the traditional Montessori areas of the main classroom: Practical Life, Math, Language, and Sensorial. Children may also choose to look at books in the library or explore their creative side at the art center. Around 10:15 each day the children share snack together. This gives children the opportunity to interact with one another and work on their social skills, including using manners. Following snack, we have another work time in our second classroom. This room features works from various areas of study including science, zoology, botany, history, health and fitness, and geography. Children can also work on their socialization skills in the role playing areas of the grocery store, play house and grooming center. Each day at 11:00, we go outside to the playground. Children are picked up from the playground at 11:30. Lunch is from 11:45 - 12:30. Preparation for nap time, including cleaning up and brushing teeth takes place from 12:30-12:45. Story time is from 12:45 - 1:00. Nap time is 1:00-3:00. The rest of the afternoon includes another 30 minute outside time, snack, and games and other activities until pickup.
Snacks are purchased by the school and the charge is included in the current tuition rates. Snack items served include graham crackers, various vegetables, goldfish crackers, various fruits, peanut butter crackers, hot dogs, and muffins for birthday celebrations. The snack menu is customized each semester based on preferences of the students and taking into consideration any food allergies. Snacks are the same every day of the week; for example, every Monday the children eat graham crackers and drink milk. The repetitive nature of our snack calendar helps children feel safe and secure at school, as they always know what they will be having for snack on a given day.
Unlike snack, lunches should be brought from home. Items should be packed in a lunch box or bag with your child's name clearly visible. Food should be packed so it is ready for your child to eat, in containers or bags that your child can open himself. Remember to include utensils and a drink. Please avoid sending items such as soda, candy, cake or gum and avoid sending glass containers for the safety of all our students.
We follow the Los Alamos Public schools calendar for our school holidays and for snow delays and closures. A copy of the days we are closed for Thanksgiving, winter break and spring break, along with any three day weekends is available to download here on our website, and you will receive a copy of this calendar when your child begins school.
If LAPS calls a delay, closure or early dismissal, we will follow suit. The snow line is 505-663-2223 and has updated information on any delays or closures.
We maintain an open door policy in regard to our classroom. However, we ask that visits be short, as some children have a hard time seeing someone else's mommy in the classroom and begin to cry for their own mom. Observers should come and watch and try to minimize interactions with the students as much as possible to get a true idea of what happens in our classroom each day.
We find that our class is too small to warrant parent volunteers on a regular basis. We may ask parents to come talk to the children about their job or a hobby that coincides with our curriculum. We also may ask for parent help during holiday parties as needed.
While field trips can be a valuable educational experience for elementary school-aged children, preschool age children benefit most from consistency in their environment. Children of this age do much better visiting zoos and museums with their families than with their classmates. Also, the safety of the children in our care is always of the utmost importance and ensuring that safety becomes much more difficult away from the school grounds. We have fun activities come to the school, such as a visit from the Los Alamos Fire Department every October. Parents are also welcome to come into the classroom to talk about their jobs or if they have an interesting hobby they would like to share with the children.