The “absorbent mind” is blossoming at this stage of development. Until the age of three, children learn by what Dr. Montessori referred to as an “unconscious mind.” The young students develop effortlessly and without conscious awareness. Each one is driven by an intense desire to “do it myself”. To facilitate this, the classroom is arranged so that the students can function as independently as possible. They are at the peak of their sensitivity to order and language acquisition. Socialization with peers develops primarily through parallel play and transitions into interactive play as they age.
Beginners Age 2 – 4
Millhopper Montessori School’s Beginners Class allows children to explore and learn in a prepared, safe environment. Subject areas include practical life activities, sensorial lessons, language, mathematics, cultural studies and science, music, Spanish, art, library and media, and physical education. Learn more in our detailed curriculum guide.
The Prepared Environment
The prepared environment encompasses the teacher, student, and classroom. The teacher’s role in the prepared environment is to observe and facilitate. Teachers provide the link between the materials and the student, maintain order, and preserve the environment. The materials are set up so that the students can witness success or correct errors by themselves. They are free to move about the room and make choices independently. The items in the environment are reality-based and found in nature. Furnishings, countertops, sinks, and décor are all at the students’ height. There is structure and order in the room, within the shelves, and within each individual activity. Elements are sequenced from simple to complex, top to bottom, left to right, gross to fine motor, no tool to tool, few objects to many objects, isolation to complex, one-step to multiple steps, and concrete to abstract. Each work has specific direct and indirect aims in the student’s development.
The Three Period Lesson
The three period lesson is the method used to teach new vocabulary in all areas of the curriculum. In the first period, the student is introduced to new vocabulary as the teacher names two or three objects (This is a cone. This is a sphere). In the second period of the lesson, the student is asked to recognize the objects (Point to the cone. Point to the sphere). During the third period, the student is asked to recall the objects (What is this?).