As you step inside a Norbeck Montessori classroom you will immediately feel a sense of order and purpose. The classrooms are arranged by the teachers to encourage independence, freedom within limits and harmony. You might see a 4-year-old quietly relaxing in the reading nook while another child is eagerly building words using “the movable alphabet.” A 3-year-old may be sitting at the table, very carefully pouring water from one tiny pitcher to another while several other children are concentrating on a puzzle map of the continents.
Our multi-age (ages 3-6) primary classrooms are designed to invite curiosity and learning. Children are drawn to the beautifully crafted materials on the shelves allowing the child to take a hands-on approach to learning. The concrete materials provide pathways to more abstract concepts that become increasingly complex, ensuring that the level of challenge continues to meet their needs.
A Day in the Life of a Child at Norbeck Montessori
Morning Montessori lesson time is a period of uninterrupted learning designed to meet each and every child’s specific needs. Children will engage with materials from each of the main areas of the classroom; Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Geography. Children may be working individually on a dressing frame or using sound cylinders, they may be in a small group with a teacher gently guiding them through a new lesson or partnered with a friend, learning from each other. Our classrooms hum with a level of noise that is productive, not chaotic. The teachers and children are expressing ideas and knowledge in an environment that encourages independence, freedom within limits and a sense of order.
Included in this uninterrupted work time are opportunities for the children to take part in our Fine Arts program. Working with all different mediums, such as oil pastels, charcoal and high quality paints the children are able to create their very own masterpieces which are transported home in their art portfolio. The children will learn the fundamentals of art along with concepts such as blending and shading, depth perception, pointillism.
Also included in this morning work time is an opportunity to learn Spanish. One of our Primary classrooms is a Spanish Integration room, meaning the children are exposed to the Spanish language all morning long through lesson time. Many of the Montessori materials on the shelves will have a Spanish counterpart to them when it comes to learning numbers, colors, sounds, shapes, etc. The children in this classroom will have many opportunities to use the Spanish language during conversations with the teacher or with their classmates. Our other three Primary classrooms have a Spanish teacher come once a week to teach the children the language through songs and group activities.
Of course, your child will want a morning snack while here and we will be happy to oblige! One time throughout the morning when your child is hungry they may sit down at the snack table. Snack time provides your child an opportunity to be independent; they will set their place at the table, serve themselves and pour their own drink from a small pitcher. When they are finished eating they clean up their space and leave it prepared for the next child to come and enjoy their snack.
When the weather is nice the children will have time to play on one of our two expansive, fenced in play areas. These beautiful outdoor spaces include a variety of climbing equipment, lots of swings, large sandboxes, imaginative props and tons of room to just run and play. When the weather is not playing nicely, the children will have an indoor playtime with a variety of creative toys, books, crafts and exercise.
At twelve o’clock some of our children will go home for lunch. Those that stay will enjoy their lunch from home while having time to socialize with their classmates. Again, this part of the day allows children to be independent – unpacking their lunch, eating and cleaning up the classroom. It is also a wonderful opportunity to practice grace and courtesy with their teachers and each other.
After lunch your child will be placed in an afternoon class based on their needs and/or age. Our youngest children at Norbeck typically need an afternoon nap so they go to our “Nappers Room” to sleep from 1:20-3:00p.m. Those that have outgrown their nap will join our “Afternoon Activities Group.” This is a structured play environment with lots of outside time (whenever possible), themes, crafts, games, stories and music. Our four-year-olds (four by Sept. 1) will take part in our “Jr.K Class.” This is a continuation of Montessori lesson time, extending the skills taught in the morning. Jr.K will focus primarily on math, reading and writing skills helping to further prepare the children for Kindergarten. And finally, we have our “Big K Class” for all of our five-year-olds (five by Sept. 1). This is a time for all of our Kindergarteners to have class together while continuing to use the Montessori lessons. An emphasis is placed on math and language skills, taking our Big K kids to new heights. Although every child is different, our kindergarteners are typically reading and doing math on a first or second grade level.
Of course, after all of this learning and sleeping has occurred the children are hungry once again! Any child still at Norbeck between three and 3:30pm is given an afternoon snack provided by us. Once again, all children are expected to help with the set up and clean up of snack while practicing their manners with the teachers and each other.
We believe that each and every child has an amazing ability to learn and grow. Our purpose is to provide the proper learning materials so your child can thrive and be successful. Through love, patience and understanding Norbeck creates a home away from for your child to be a child. Through Montessori practice and philosophy Norbeck creates an academic environment in which your child can thrive and succeed.
Did You Know . . .??
The Hands on Science program the Jr. K kids participate in is a huge success! Remember, this is just the beginning of your child's exposure to this fabulous program. Those children that stay for the Big K Kindergarten program will have an even greater opportunity to take part in Hands on Science activities. These amazing experiments and endless learning moments continue twice a week in their Big K year. Just one more reason to stay with Norbeck!!
The Jr. K kids and Big K kids that stay for our summer program will also have fun with science throughout the nine weeks of camp.
* all academic programs (excluding Big K science T, Th) end at 3:00 p.m. At this time children will be given snack and will then continue with structured indoor and outdoor play activities until pick up time.