At The Fulton School, children learn while "working." In a Montessori classroom we always refer to children's "play" as "work", for young children's work is learning through play and purposeful activity. Dr. Maria Montessori designed a system of early childhood education where everything children engage in contributes to their "work" of becoming the adults they are meant to be.
We refer to our Montessori preschool and kindergarten classroom as Children's House; it accommodates 3- to 6-year-olds. The Montessori classroom has five basic areas:
Practical Life is the area in which young children learn to care for themselves and the environment.
The Sensorial area allows the child to explore, understand, and classify his/her world by using the five senses.
The Language area builds a foundation for reading, writing, and self expression through pre-reading skills like sorting or sequencing.
The Math curriculum builds a concrete understanding of number construction.
The Cultural area fosters a curiosity about the world around us, through subjects such as botany, geography, and biology.
Each of these areas contributes to the child's ability to independently complete a cycle of work, in which he/she chooses an activity, explores it at his/her own pace, and puts the activity away as he/she found it so that the next student is ready to use it.
We believe that because children are always growing and learning, we should focus on the process they engage in rather than the finished product. When the process of learning is healthy, the product is always something to be proud of. In an academic sense, this means we create a classroom that promotes concentration, initiative, respect, and independence. We find that when these four skills are established, the child flourishes intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
Lengthy morning and afternoon work periods continue to enhance the children's independence and cycle of work, but group presentations and activities will also be included to fit curricular units and class areas of interest. Work is completed at school, but at least 15 minutes of nightly reading, either independently or with a partner, is expected of all kindergarten students.
As your children grow, we want to expose them to more specialized subjects, so beginning in preschool they attend Spanish twice weekly for 30 minutes as well as Physical Education classes every day for 30 minutes. In kindergarten, children begin Art and Music classes twice weekly for 30 minutes each.
Parent Involvement and Communication
We involve parents as much as possible, using parent volunteers for everything from special projects and transcribing stories for young children to listening to books and helping with math facts. We depend upon this parental contact to create the smoothest possible transition between home and school. Home-to-school communication occurs on a daily basis as parents see our preschool/kindergarten teachers at both arrival and dismissal. The teachers will also use the Seesaw app to share photos and videos of the students' day. The app is free for parents to download on their smartphone or desktop/tablet. The app provides a "closed" environment -- only parents in the particular teacher's TFS class can see the photos/videos/content and comment on them.
You know your children better than anyone in the world and we value your input tremendously. Whether the issue is toilet training or trouble getting dressed in the morning, parents and teachers must team together in order to provide the most consistent, predictable world for our young children.
We get to know our children very well and always attempt to deal with the "why" of their behavior in addition to the "what" of their behavior. This means that we not only react to the children, but we actively seek to engage them, finding work that will interest each child, crafting routines specific to different days and moods, and remaining flexible with and tuned in to individual needs.
We invite you to observe our Children's House in action. Click here to schedule a tour.