Our Lower School environment is a three-year program dedicated to nurturing the child’s inherent curiosity by enabling them to explore and discover. At Fraser Woods Montessori School, children learn through touch and motion and by observing and then doing. Academics are introduced through manipulative materials laying the groundwork for abstract thinking. Classroom materials are joyfully presented and designed to stimulate the child’s senses as well as respond to their need for order and a sense of mastery within his/her world. Children at this level will experience intense periods of change, both cognitively and socially. The teacher, always observant, responds with appropriate lessons to support each child’s growth and capabilities.
Extended Day (Kindergarten)
The Extended Day Program is a culmination of the Lower School experience for kindergarten-aged children ready for advanced work. The environment also provides opportunities to develop early leadership skills mentoring younger classmates, solidifying gained knowledge and inspiring their peers. The Extended Day child uses previously learned skills such as self-control, concentration, order, and independence and applies them with readiness to meet new challenges.
Skills of daily living
This bridge between home and school is designed to foster independence, a sense of order, concentration and coordination. Exercises include:
- Care of the person ( buttoning, zipping, tying)
- Small and gross motor development (pouring, cutting, balancing)
- Social development (interpersonal skills, courtesy, speaking and participating in a group)
Exploration of the world through the senses.
Materials such as the pink tower, geometric solids, sound cylinders and color tablets help a child to understand and internalize the concepts of size, shape, color, taste, touch and sound. These build the foundation for developing skills in such areas as music, mathematics and language.
Journeying from the concrete to the abstract
Through manipulation and experimentation with the concrete Montessori math materials, the child first explores the concept of “how many”, then moves on to symbols or written quantities and finally begins to combine quantities for the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The materials build on each other in a natural progression encouraging the child to explore and discover.
The spoken word to the written word
We begin with oral language to develop listening, comprehension, vocabulary and the ability to express oneself with confidence. The letters of the alphabet and their sounds are introduced and later words, sentences and whole stories are composed using the movable alphabet. All aspects of language development are going on simultaneously as the teacher carefully monitors readiness for each new activity.
Geography and science make up the cultural components of the Lower School program. Land forms, world cultures, dinosaurs, simple machines, the solar system, rocks and reptiles are all introduced.
The French Curriculum provides an entertaining enrichment for this age level. Simple vocabulary and expressions are used and repeated often to become part of the child’s environment. The goal is simply to teach a variety of short subjects where the language remains uncomplicated. The child, in turn, feels curious to participate, and to enjoy the experience.
Within a group setting the children respond to a variety of musical stimuli through song, instrument playing and body movement. Our curriculum accommodates the children’s responses and allows class materials to evolve accordingly.
Once a week, most Lower School children participate in an "Art on a Cart" program. the FWM art teacher arrives at the LS classrooms ready to help our young artists sharpen important skills through a variety of projects which also introduce and reinforce the Elements of Art and the Language of Art. Our Extended Day students, ready for greater creative challenges, attend their classes in the FWM art studio.
Twice a week children meet for cooperative group games, and activities. The program’s goal is for students to feel good about themselves while learning about health-building activities and their bodies. At this level, activities focus on motor development needed for running, hopping and the transfer of weight while building skills. Designed to promote self-esteem and positive cooperation with peers our program also focuses on building organizational and leadership skills.
Technology for Extended Day
Using various programs and repetitive exercises students become comfortable using the computer. Proper use includes mastering the art of using the mouse and focusing on eye/hand coordination. These exercises lay the groundwork for more complex exercises. Extended Day students are shown how to browse the Internet (in a carefully controlled environment using visual search engines), and are taken to various websites that tie in with their other lessons. Students who already have a strong background in computers are given the opportunity to explore other applications according to their interests and abilities.
Art for Extended Day
Cultural Program for Extended Day
Each year, the Cultural Program highlights one of the arts. Guest artists are brought in throughout the school year for both individual classroom activities and general school assemblies. The Cultural Program is interspersed with relevant academics and, conversely, academics that are drawn from the themes of the Cultural Program.