Learning to read begins during the infant and toddler years when young children learn to understand the spoken or signed language; it does not occur spontaneously or naturally. Adults must show children various purposes for written material such as story books, letters, menus, shopping lists, etc.; identifying functional purposes with these materials increases a child’s motivation to learn to read. Research has shown that children learn to read more easily and earlier when they are read to often.
There are many learning-to-read activities throughout the Montessori VPK curriculum. These are grouped into categories called exposure to language, phonemic awareness, phonics development, phonological awareness, word identification, word study, comprehension, composition, and fluency.
Reading/Language lessons continue throughout the Montessori VPK student’s day in all curriculum areas and in all activities. By the end of their VPK year, our students know the sounds of the alphabet, blends sounds into three (or more) letter words, reads three letter word books, and writes a sentence with the moveable alphabet. They are exposed to Montessori Language Materials such as: Sandpaper Letters, Language Cards, Sound Games, Moveable Alphabet, Metal Insets, Word Cards, Puzzle Words, etc. Country Day For Children’s VPK program has a 100% Kindergarten Reading Readiness Rate.
Illustration 1: Moveable Alphabet: The moveable letters allow the child to “write down” words as he or she determines each component sound. This series of exercises increases in difficulty from learning beginning sounds, writing three letter words, and progresses to writing stories.
Illustration 2: Object Game: This reading activity uses small objects with names containing long and short vowel sounds. The child matches the object with the name of the object.
Montessori Math materials graphically show what is taking place in a given mathematical process making it much easier for the Montessori VPK student to really understand and put their skills to use in everyday life. Our VPK students use hands-on, concrete educational materials that make abstract concepts clear; they can literally see and explore what is going on, offering a logical strategy for helping students understand and develop a sound foundation in Mathematics.
By the end of the school year, our VPK students have learned the foundation for working with the decimal system, adds and subtracts up to thousands, counts by 1’s to 100, and has learned the basics of multiplication and division. By using our Montessori Math materials such as: The Red and Blue Rods, Spindle Boxes, Numeral Cards, Cards and Counters, Golden Beads, Short Bead Stair, Teens and Tens Boards, The Hundred Board, Fraction Circles, The Stamp Game, etc., Country Day For Children VPK students are well-prepared to enter Kindergarten and beyond.
Illustration 1: Spindle Box: Two boxes with compartments numbered 0-4 and 5-9 respectively allow the child to count a quantity of “spindles” into the appropriately numbered compartment. The fixed sequence of the numbers on the boxes serves as a guide for this first experience of counting separate objects into a stated quantity. This material also introduces the concept of zero and that there are no digits other than 0-9.
Illustration 2: Cards and Counters: Individual number cards to arrange in order and individual discs to count demonstrate that the child recognizes the number 1-10, knows the order of the numbers, understands one-to-one correspondence, and can relate the proper quantity to the numbers.
Illustration 3: One Hundred Board: A square board with a 10×10 grid pattern holds tiles numbered 1-100 for linear counting practice and reinforcement of number recognition in the tens.
Montessori’s integrated thematic curriculum allows a broad scope of study in the areas of Geography, History and International culture. The children study the emergence of human beings during the old and new stone ages, the development of the first civilizations, and the universal needs common to all humanity. The Geography activities present facts and nomenclature of physical geography, i.e., the physical characteristics of the earth, and political geography, i.e., the countries and cultures of the world.
VPK students at Country Day For Children love to work with the Puzzle maps which help them to learn the names of the continents and identify the many countries, states and provinces. VPK children can also identify land and water on a Globe and using the Land and Water Forms they learn to identify and name the largest lakes and islands etc., VPK children also enjoy working with the flags of the world and identifying the parts of a flag.
Illustration 1: Puzzle Maps: A set of 8 maps which teaches the children to recognize and name each continent, the countries of each continent, and the states of the United States. Labels for each puzzle piece extend reading skills; map making activities extend writing skills. Outlined paper maps of each puzzle to color and label provide extended practice of the names and recognition of the continents and their respective countries.
Illustration 2: Colored Globe: Each continent is painted in a different color on this blue globe. The lessons teach identification of Continents and Oceans.
Children receive impressions through their senses from the moment of birth. They look, listen, touch, taste, pick up, manipulate and smell almost anything that comes into their grasp. Designed to isolate and categorize qualities of the environment perceived through the senses, the Sensorial activities focus on the development of sensory perception. Country Day For Children’s VPK program offers a multi-sensory approach to learning, encouraging the children to use the optimum combination of senses for learning.
Our Sensorial curriculum is designed to help children focus their attention more carefully on the physical world, exploring with each of their senses the subtle variations in the properties of objects. We use Montessori Materials such as: The Pink Tower, Red Rods, Geometric Cabinet, Color Tablets and Knobless Cylinders, to name a few.
Illustration 1: The Pink Tower: Ten graduated wooden cubes, usually painted pink, stack in sequence to form the Pink Tower; students identify incremental decrease in size in three dimensions.
Illustration 2: Red Rods: Ten squared rods, usually red, placed length by length, and aligned on one side, form an elongated stair. Varying only in length, this visual discrimination activity is considered more challenging than the Brown Stair. The child identifies incremental decrease in length. Various exercises isolate and compare the mathematical relationship of the rods. Other activities introduce the concept of incremental measurement.