Sunshine Montessori has two Children's House classrooms. Children’s House West is lead by one Montessori Guide and is supported by two Assistants. Together, they work with up to 26 children each day. Children’s House East is lead by one Montessori Guide and is supported by one Assistant. Together, they work with up to 18 children each day.
In the Children’s House, three-, four-, five-, and six-year-olds share the same environment. In this multi-age setting, children learn a great deal from each other. Younger children get a chance to look ahead and see what is coming next by watching the older children, while older children can reinforce their knowledge by sharing it with younger children. They learn to work with children of different ages and abilities, to respect each other’s work and space, and to treat each other with courtesy. The Children’s House is a nurturing social environment where children learn to cooperate, share, and help others. Discipline comes from within the child and is not externally imposed in the form of rewards and punishments.
Each day, children work in the Children’s House, an environment specifically prepared for them, using materials designed to meet their developmental needs. All furniture is child-sized and the children take an active role in maintaining the environment by putting materials away, washing tables, dusting shelves, sweeping, and doing other maintenance activities, to which they enthusiastically attend. The prepared environment is designed to facilitate independent learning and exploration by the child.
The Prepared Environment
In the prepared environment, children are free to choose from work that they have been “presented” (children are invited from the Lead Montessori Guide who then demonstrates appropriate usage of the materials). These activities fall within the five key learning areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, & Cultural Studies.
In the Language area, the child will develop skills to support reading and writing. These activities develop oral and listening skills, as well as phonic awareness writing.
The cornerstone of Montessori education, Practical Life builds concentration, coordination, independence and order. Practical Life helps to develop fine motor skills, care of self and environment, along with grace and courtesy.
The Math area focuses on learning quantity and symbol, teens and tens, the decimal system and operations. The concrete materials help to move the child to abstract thinking within the three-year cycle.
The Sensorial area helps to refine the child’s senses. The child will compare and contrast size, shape, color, sound, smell and taste through the use of materials.
The Cultural Studies area helps children better understand their world. Activities introduce continent maps, elements of the earth, and concepts such as living and non-living, sink and float.