The most important part of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when a person’s intelligence itself, the greatest implement, is being formed.
A carefully prepared classroom environment provides opportunities for children to actively learn in a multi-aged community. Hermosa’s preschool and kindergarten programs recognize the importance of the first six years of life and children’s self-motivation. Certified Montessori teachers guide children to use concrete materials to learn math concepts, and child size movable alphabets to explore language and begin to read and write.
The Practical Life area of the classroom helps young children develop both gross and fine motor skills and their attention span. These foundational skills help students become independent, confident, and ready to undertake the opportunities they will find during their elementary school years.
Sensorial activities help children broaden, refine, and order the sensory input they receive. The Montessori materials help broaden and refine a child’s senses and provide the associated vocabulary to describe their observations and experiences.
“To make himself heard, man no longer depended on the volume of his voice. With the alphabet, he could be heard from one continent to another, from yesterday to tomorrow. He could reach people distant in space and in time. Without uttering a sound-in silence-his thoughts could be heard all over the world at the same time.”
– Mario Montessori quoting his mother Maria Montessori
Dr. Montessori found that young children have a natural desire to read, write, and experience the delights of language. With appropriate exposure and materials, children effortlessly learn the joys of expressing oneself using language. Through stories, songs, poetry, games, and Montessori materials such as Sandpaper Letters that associate shape and sound—many Hermosa students who begin preschool at age three are on their way to becoming children who love to read and write.
Colorful, carefully sequenced, hands-on materials illustrate the meaning of symbol, quantity, and the meaning of the four operations of arithmetic. Using beautiful and enticing materials students learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide with numbers into the thousands using these novel and illustrative materials. This prepares children for the higher-level math concepts they will encounter as elementary school students.
Learning about geography helps children understand their place on Earth. Beautiful wooden maps illustrate how Physical geography focuses on the features of Earth’s environment. Cultural geography demonstrates how humans have adapted to the land. Geography becomes the curriculum element that creates the foundation for understanding and respect for the oneness of the human family. Various cultural activities illustrate the basic needs that all people share while learning to appreciate the cultural diversity of humans on our planet.
Children love to explore how the world works. Hermosa teachers have 16 acres in which to allow children to explore physical science in nature. Teachers provide correct scientific nomenclature as they allow children to explore and make basic observations about forms of matter (solid, liquid, gas), forms of energy (light, heat, sound, chemical, magnetic, electrical, simple machines), and the force of gravity. Students also learn about the biology and zoology that surround them through interactive lessons.