During our annual enrollment cycle we give first priority to families who plan to enroll their children at age two and a half to three, and attend for the full three-year developmental program.  Montessori philosophy stresses the importance of a three-year cycle, confident that the full potential of the child is attained through continuity in the same environment with the same teachers. Also children in a Montessori program are known to be flexible in transferring to another Montessori school as the philosophy and environment are familiar.  We enjoy supporting the continuing development along this path.

Montessori teachers are prepared to meet the specific cognitive, social, and emotional needs of the children in their age group. Teachers design a three-year developmental curriculum, including learning areas in practical life, sensorial refinement, math, language, science, geography and art. Children are free to explore the environment at their own pace; teachers observe, assess, and present new lessons on an individual, small group, or large group basis.  Their progress is documented in support of the periodic lessons to be given as a spark to new experiences. Each child finds a unique path forward.

First year students are typically three year olds, whose developmental needs are to explore the environment and learn to do things for themselves.  The Montessori classroom offers a world to explore, as they refine their senses, internalize order, learn to sort and classify, and practice concentration—the skills which lay the groundwork for their ability to think and learn.  Montessori classrooms encourage the three year old’s need for independence, to practice skills and find the tools to take care of themselves within the environment. They move freely as they follow their own interests and progress at their own pace. They learn to take responsibility for themselves and for their work, which in turn develops the good work habits which will enable their future academic success.  As a new group of children join the classroom a common identity of purpose develops into community.

Second year students are typically four year olds, who have had their year of independent exploration and concentration, and are now turning their focus outward, becoming more interested in their classmates and the social world of school. They are developmentally driven to practice social interactions and explore group dynamics. They continue to practice their independent work habits, but also begin more teacher-directed activities, and are inspired by the work of others.  Care of the classroom is of importance and generates self-directed activity.  This is a time of repetition based on lessons leading to new skills.

Third year students are typically five year olds. These children have a strong background in all areas of the classroom, and are able to work independently and in collaboration. They are developmentally ready to become strong mentors and more sure of a path both with academics and with social skills.  They continue to refine their good work habits, as they accept responsibility or their own learning. These children are self-confident, creative-thinking problem-solvers, who are aware of their learning environment and able to make informed decisions.

Learning activity in this 3 year stage of early childhood is hands on, concrete experience that will be internalized by the child and called upon to support the abstractions of years ahead.  Children who complete the three year cycle (exploration, experimentation, and expertise) will gain the most benefit from the Montessori program, but even children attending for two years will still benefit greatly. A child needs time for learning to be authentic and for character to be refined.