The Montessori del Mar Children's House (MdMCH) opening timeline has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place county/state orders. We are now planning to open in the heart of Fort Bragg in Fall 2020. We will serve children ages 3 years to 4 years & 11 months in the Primary program at MdMCH in 2020-21 and ages 3 to 6 years in future years. Montessori trained teachers and an assistant with an early childhood background work with the children at the Children's House. The Children's House is an extension of Montessori del Mar Community School (MdMCS). Some key information for enrollment is as follows:
Students will be considered enrolled after a completed application, enrollment packet, and a nonrefundable tuition deposit are received by MdMCH.
MdMCH is enrolling children ages 3 years to 4 years & 11 months.
Hours and calendar of operation will mirror those of the elementary school: Monday through Thursday, 8:30-3:30 and Fridays, 8:30-12:30. Children under the age of four years will be considered for a modified schedule on a case-by-case basis.
The curriculum and schedule at the Children's House will follow a traditional Montessori Primary program, with an uninterrupted work period of 2 to 3 hours each morning. Afternoons will be times for quiet or rest time, art, music, outdoor education, special projects, and off campus field trips.
Families are invited to schedule an observation of our current Primary program (ages 4-6 years) at our elementary school, Montessori del Mar Community School. Contact us to schedule an observation.
Below are a variety of resources that are helpful when learning about the Montessori Method and making decisions about your child's educational future.
Helpful Montessori Websites:
Freedom within limits – This term refers to a Montessori ideal that children have freedom, but it is freedom that is structured by the environment and the teacher. For example, at this point in the year, a child may be asked to complete work in math, language and cultural daily. The child would be free to choose the order in which the work is completed, the work in those areas, and the amount of time spent on the work. Children in a Montessori environment are given quite a bit of latitude when they make appropriate choices.
Work time/work period/work contract – Typically referring to a three hour period of time in which the children cycle through work, being very diligent, slowing down or taking a break, and then reenergizing to finish the work or choose something new. It is tremendously important that the work period not be needlessly interrupted. During the work period, teachers observe the behaviors of the children and invite individuals and small groups to short lessons when they see opportunities to assist a child’s progress. Optimally, the majority of each morning and afternoon is devoted to self-motivated work. At the Primary level, teachers tend to give mostly individual or small group lessons. Large group lessons are given for cultural subjects. The work contract is used to guide student work throughout the work period and encourage independent learners. A contract, work plan, or work journal is used to facilitate the development of organization and time management skills. The work contract/plan/journal is an individualized daily or weekly list of lessons, activities or projects. Students are to complete their contract daily as well as by the end of the end of the week.
The American Montessori Society describes a Montessori Primary program as follows:
In the prepared classroom, children work with specially designed manipulative materials that invite exploration and engage the senses in the process of learning. All learning activities support children in choosing meaningful and challenging work at their own interest and ability level. This child-directed engagement strengthens motivation, supports attention, and encourages responsibility.
Uninterrupted blocks of work time (typically 2+ hours in length) allow children to work at their own pace and fully immerse themselves in an activity without interruption. Your child’s work cycle involves selecting an activity, performing it for as long it remains interesting, cleaning up the activity and returning it to the shelf, and making another work choice. This cycle respects individual variations in the learning process, facilitates the development of coordination, concentration, independence, and a sense of order, while facilitating your child’s assimilation of information.
Children learn daily-life skills, such as how to get dressed, prepare snacks, set the table, and care for plants and animals. They also learn appropriate social interactions, such as saying please and thank-you, being kind and helpful, listening without interrupting, and resolving conflicts peacefully. In addition to teaching specific skills, Practical Life activities promote independence, and fine- and gross-motor coordination.
Children refine skills in perceiving the world through their different senses, and learn how to describe and name their experiences—for example, rough and smooth, perceived through touch. Sensorial learning helps children classify their surroundings and create order. It lays the foundation for learning by developing the ability to classify, sort, and discriminate—skills necessary in math, geometry, and language.
Through hands-on activities, children learn to identify numerals and match them to their quantity, understand place-value and the base-10 system, and practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They also explore patterns in the numbering system. With an exploratory approach, children do more than just memorize math facts; they gain a firm understanding of the meaning behind them.
Activities throughout the Early Childhood classroom teach language, help children acquire vocabulary, and develop skills needed for writing and reading. The ability to write, a precursor to reading, is taught first. Using hands-on materials, children learn letter sounds, how to combine sounds to make words, how to build sentences, and how to use a pencil. Once these skills are acquired, children spontaneously learn to read.
A wide range of subjects, including history, geography, science, art, and music, are integrated in lessons in the cultural area of the curriculum. Children learn about their own community and the world around them. Discovering similarities and differences among people and places helps them develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our world, and a respect for all living things.