The Pre-Renaissance 3–6 Year Old Class is the foundation of the Renaissance Montessori program. The three-year age span nurtures the development of personality and social behavior as well as intellect for children in these important early formative years. Classes are large with two teachers working together so children are able to work with a variety of students as well as individually, learning to get along with others and share in a community. The indirect learning that occurs is invaluable. Younger children have models for more mature behavior and activity, kindergarten students have a special place as they develop their potential for leadership and social responsibility as well as mastering skills through demonstration.
This is a world specially prepared for children. Children move about and choose from a full array of Montessori learning materials on easily accessible shelves. Beginning with practical and social skills, children learn to keep track of their belongings, to put things away, to communicate and interact positively with one another. They work on floor mats or at small tables. Children are encouraged to explore, discover, and grow in areas of language, practical life, sensorial, mathematics, geography, social studies, science, and more. One child might paint, as another places beads into groups of ten to perform a multiplication function, and a third child prepares a snack, while a teacher works with a small group forming words using sandpaper letters. Teachers carefully track each child’s progress and provide a sequence of tasks sufficiently challenging and interesting to engage the child and help develop mastery.
A key principle which underlies and guides activities in Renaissance Montessori classrooms is respect. Adults respect each child as an individual, a unique learner with specific strengths. Children learn respect for each other and for the learning materials through the lessons of grace and courtesy and from positive role models. Part of every day is devoted to individual work, and part of the day is set aside for children to enjoy social activities such as singing, storytelling and outdoor play. Children also begin learning a foreign language. Listening and speaking skills are emphasized as the children are introduced to Spanish conversation, songs and culture. Art, music, and physical education, are integrated into the full day primary curriculum.
Renaissance Academy Kindergarten is the culmination of the Montessori pre-elementary experience. It offers the beginning transition to elementary school while allowing children freedom to explore and expand their intense natural need for knowledge. Our kindergarten students attend the 3–6 year old multi-age Montessori Class where one teacher is especially focused on catering to the five and six year old kindergarten students during this highly sensitive learning period.
Academics are introduced through concrete, manipulative materials which utilize all five senses and lay the groundwork for abstract thinking. All subjects are taught in an integrated curriculum that encourages students to work to levels far beyond the expectations for their age level. Renaissance Kindergarten students graduate with the academic skills and social competencies that lay a foundation for success in elementary school and beyond.