A typical day at San Anselmo Montessori Preschool begins with 30 minutes of outside play. During outside play, children develop and master gross and fine motor skills while exploring the play structure, swings, monkey bars and riding tricycles. Socials skills are developed and refined in the sandbox and around the playground through peer interaction. Time on the swings and play structure also lets thechildren get out excess energy before entering the classroom.
Classroom, Garden and Greenhouse Time
After outside play, the children enter the San Anselmo Montessori Preschool classroom. Beauty and order play important roles in the Montessori classroom and in keeping with this philosophy SAMS classroom, garden classroom and greenhouse are bright, cheerful and exceptionally well organized. Both rooms are filled with child-level shelves that hold trays of hands-on activities or “work.”
Once in the classroom, children make self-directed choices for their morning activities. Teachers provide gentle guidance for those students having trouble settling into an activity. Through out the morning, teachers observe the students, provide lessons on new work, and continue to offer gentle guidance so that all students get the most out of the program. During this time, the classroom becomes what Maria Montessori termed “a quiet beehive of industry.”
Activities use Montessori and other materials to help children master fine motor skills, experience social interaction, develop spatial awareness and more. They include:
–cutting banana slices and serving them on a tray to classmates
–learning letter sounds and formation with sandpaper letters
–learning the decimal system with the bank game, a counting activity that uses beads in ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands
–making a maze out of wooden, multi-sized Red Rods
In addition to the main classroom, children can opt to go outside to the garden during the spring and fall or head over to the greenhouse during the winter.
In the garden, the children learn about their natural environment through observation and discovery. Through hands-on activities and exploration the children learn to care for plants, they learn about life cycles, and planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Our beautiful garden environment provides an outdoor classroom that both extends and enhances the children’s learning at SAMS.
During winter months, children can choose to visit the greenhouse, which is also lined with activity-filled shelves. The clear windows allow children to see the rain while staying warm and dry, serving tea to their classmates, grinding crackers to feed the birds, or making an airplane out of wood by sanding and drilling.
Whether in the classroom, the garden, or greenhouse, students are observed and gently guided by SAMS highly trained teachers who focus on each child’s individual developmental needs.
The morning ends with a brief circle time during which the children sing, dance, perform mini-plays, or are introduced to a new activity (or work) as a group. At the end of the circle time, children can be picked up or they can stay for lunch and then the Afternoon Program.