Primary Children’s House
Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten
The Children’s House is the realm of the 3 to 6 year old child. It is a warm and welcoming Prepared Environment, especially designed to build concentration and self-discipline. The Montessori directress is the link connecting the child to the environment.
Highlawn has five Children’s House classrooms. Each classroom serves 24 children, directed by an AMI certified teacher and one assistant. Highlawn offers both a traditional schedule as well as a full day option.
- Hours: 8:40– 11:40 AM (Ages 3 to 4 ½)
- Extended Day Hours: 8:40 AM – 2:30 PM (Ages 4 ½ to 6)
New students enrolled in the Traditional Children’s House program, starting as young as age 3, attend our school from 8:40– 11:40 AM Monday through Friday.
As children show academic and social readiness to work independently, usually between ages 4 ½ and 5, the directress will invite them to stay for Extended Day until 2:30. These children stay for lunch beginning one afternoon a week. The children’s workday then extends from morning into the afternoon with opportunity for more in-depth exploration.
Extended Day Program
The Children’s House Extended Day Program is offered to children 4½ and older. This session runs from 8:40-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The afternoon extended day allows the older children to have more academic, smaller group experience in their classroom. Children are invited to start one afternoon and slowly increase the number of afternoons. The decision concerning the child’s readiness for extended day is made by the classroom teacher with input from the parents. Readiness for Extended Day is determined by observing the child. Guidelines the teacher will use include the following.
- Has a desire to stay for lunch and the Extended Day.
- Has given up taking naps or no longer naps everyday.
- Can work independently for extended periods of time.
- Can focus during the more difficult and complicated lessons.
Full Day Children’s House Program
- Hours: 7:30 AM – 5: 30 PM
- 3, 4, or 5 days per week
The Full Day Children’s House program, starting with children as young as age 3, includes extended hours from as early as 7:30AM to 5:30PM. Parents have the option to enroll their child on a fee-based schedule for 3, 4, or 5 full days per week, with varying dismissal times until 5:30pm.
The Full Day program is an extension of the traditional Children’s House class. Children enjoy a relaxed, cozy, home-like atmosphere under the direction of a trained Montessori teacher. This program offers the best of both worlds; the nurturing and comfort of home and the challenging stimulation of Montessori. Children participate joyfully in many activities; care for the environment, science, cultural activities, art, music, movement, cooking and games. The children may choose to participate in an organized activity or work freely in a fully equipped Montessori classroom to enhance the child’s social, emotional, spiritual and cognitive growth.
Children’s House Montessori Classroom
Children ages 3 to 6 directly learn through their senses and absorb information effortlessly through movement and hands-on materials. The focus of Montessori education is not academic readiness or the mastery of a specific skill, but development of the whole child – socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually.
The mixed age classes offer opportunities to learn which do not exist in same-age settings. The older, experienced children become leaders and role models to the younger children, who absorb social values and cultural impressions from the activities of the older children. The children learn details of math, language and geography just from walking through the classroom! Through leadership, the older children gain self-confidence and responsibility. A natural, family-like atmosphere develops spontaneously, resulting in a bond between the children and also with the Guide. From this comes the greatest level of social development – mutual care and respect.
All Children’s House classrooms include four distinct areas: practical life, sensorial, math and language. A fifth area, often referred to as cultural or science, combines work from both sensorial and language.
Practical Life offers opportunity to instill care for self, care for others, and care for the environment while setting the foundation for concentration, independence, and eye-hand coordination. This area helps develop self-confidence while laying the groundwork for all other areas of the curriculum.
Sensorial exercises allow the children to manipulate materials, classify and clarify information into finer and finer distinctions, and comprehend their world through the use of their five senses. Dr. Montessori referred to these materials as “materialized abstractions.”
Language development occurs naturally and spontaneously before the age of six. Montessori exercises focus on both spoken and written language. The classroom is rich in oral language including conversation, stories, songs and poetry. The children learn phonetic skills necessary for composition and reading. The hand, which has been developing control and coordination in Practical Life activities and Sensorial exploration, is now ready to begin the formation of letters. Through effortless learning the child now “explodes” into reading and writing!
Mathematics materials help develop the child’s innate “mathematical mind” as he manipulates concrete materials which isolate a specific concept in preparation for later abstract work. The materials lay the foundation for arithmetic, algebra and geometry. Mind and body become integrated through exploration with the didactic materials.