Regina Coeli Academy’s Children’s House offers both half-day and full-day programs for young children ages 3 through 4 years and a full day for children ages 5 and 6. The morning session begins at 8:00 am and ends at noon; the full day program is available from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Commonly referred to as the “Children’s House,” the Montessori method of education stresses the importance of respecting and guiding children to “Help me to help myself.” Dr. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method of education, started her first classroom “Casa dei Bambini,” or Children’s House in 1907.
The goals for a child in the Montessori environment are: a love of learning, a sense of personal dignity and self-respect, independence, a sense of order, the ability to work with others, the ability to concentrate, muscular coordination, self-motivation, self-discipline, joy, and fulfillment in work for it’s own sake without dependence upon an external reward.
The Montessori environment uses concrete learning materials through which children discover simple to complex concepts and are able to learn from their errors. Children develop self-discipline with an internal sense of purpose and motivation. The Montessori method is designed to recognize and allow for the different learning styles of each child. It encourages children to move about freely, to touch and explore the world around them under the guidance of their teacher. Children are encouraged to repeat activities in order to reinforce feelings of success. The Montessori environment also allows for social interaction with cooperative learning among the children. This environment is designed to meet the varying needs, interests, abilities, and developmental levels of all the children in the class.
The Catholic faith formation component of the Montessori program, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, allows children to learn about signs of the Catholic liturgy and Holy Scripture. This is the heart of the Children’s House, and serves to prepare children for full participation in the life of the Church, rooted in a personal relationship with our Lord.
The Children’s House curriculum is an integrated, holistic approach that is designed to help each child reach his or her full potential. Children aged 3 to 6 are sensorial explorers, forming their intellects by absorbing their environment, their language and their culture. The Children’s House classroom provides a prepared environment that allows the children to respond to their natural tendency to work.
This environment includes four distinct areas. The Practical Life area offers children the opportunity for care of self and the environment, exercises of grace and courtesy, and coordination of physical movement. The Sensorial area aids the children in learning to order and classify by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring. The Mathematics area helps children to understand abstract concepts by working with concrete manipulatives. The language area teaches oral and written language, vocabulary, reading, and grammar. The Atrium area is where the child’s spiritual development is nurtured through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
The child’s response to time in the Children’s House prepared environment is one of joy, peacefulness, and self-reward.
The Montessori environment aims to provide a calm, quiet background which supports learning by allowing the learning materials to stand out and allows for the child to move freely and make constructive choices about which materials they would like work with.
Work Period refers to the uninterrupted periods of time made available in a Montessori Program for children to work with specific learning materials in ways in which they were designed to be used. A child might choose working on their own, working within a small group, receiving a presentation or watching someone else but the child is engaged in a constructive way.
The materials are designed to be presented and worked with in a certain order from simple to more complex; they appeal to the senses and are self correcting. The materials are categorized into areas of: Practical life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Music, Art, Science, Geography
What looks different in a Montessori classroom
It is an environment rather than a classroom especially prepared for the children.
The environment is child led rather than teacher led.
The teacher acts as a guide.
The environment is broken up into different areas Practical life, Sensorial, Math, Language, and Catechesis.
The environment is visually calming rather than over stimulating.
The children prepare their own snack. One student a day prepares biscuits for the class.
Children are creating and designing independently while sharing ideas with other children.
The children are using quiet voices and walking feet.
The children are working independently with materials they have been introduced to.
The children clean up after themselves.
The children prepare their own snack someone prepares biscuits.
The children are able to work uninterrupted for up to 3 hrs.
Children could be watching, learning or teaching.
Children are experiencing self-reward.
Children are creating and designing on their own sharing ideas with other children.
Lunch is eaten at small tables set by the children with place mats, plates, and cloth napkins.
The children wash their own dishes and clean up their tables when they are finished.
- Children have the same teacher for 3 years.
- The teacher is able to develop a good understanding of each child’s learning style, strengths, weaknesses and possible needs for learning support, etc.
- The child feels part of a community and learns what it takes to be a responsible member of the community.
- Mentoring happens naturally between the older children and the younger children.
- Children are more interested in trying a task if an older child is doing it rather than the teacher.