Please find a description of our Casa de Niños program below, for children ages approximately 3 to 5. General information, including information about our enrichment activities, bilingual instruction and scheduling, may be found on the programs home page.
The Casa de Niños program is designed to empower our students to be independent, active, creative bilingual learners who are able to problem solve, make good decisions, including how to manage their own time and interact confidently and kindly with adults and children. We encourage parents to also read the description of the Comunidad Infantil Program, as the curriculum is cumulative at Río Valley. The foundational curriculum will always be available to our older children; especially the sensorial.
As our program is bilingual, we spend the mornings mostly in Spanish and the afternoons are a mix of Spanish and English. The child is most sensitive and receptive to a second language during the period from birth to age six. During these crucial developmental years, the child tends to learn most effectively not through conventional teaching means, but by absorbing information through activity within the environment to which he is exposed. This is a natural process, embraced by the child with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. So, we are confident that even children who enter without knowledge of Spanish, will thrive in our environment. Please click on the program page to learn more about the bilingual component.
You will see a mixed aged classroom which is a fundamental feature of Montessori education. It encourages interdependence, collaboration, and leadership. A dynamic develops between older children and younger children as the younger ones learn by observing and working side-by-side with their older classmates. At the same time, the older children have the opportunity to become role models and reinforce what they have learned themselves.
The Casa de Niños program includes materials and activities in the classic Montessori areas of study which are Practical Life, Language, Sensorial, Mathematics, Geography and Culture, and Science & Nature. In addition, a full array of enrichment in music, art, dance, athletics and yoga complement the program.
Materials and activities are rotated on a regular basis. Through careful observation and “following the child,” we develop curriculum that is tailored to specific students and classes. For example, if we notice many children are interested in birds, we will develop a whole section on Ornithology in the science and nature section.
Below, please find descriptions of the various components of the program.
Through exercises in daily living, the child gains confidence as he cares for himself and the world around him. Activities enhance fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, balance, orderly thought, and independent work habits.
Rich spoken language, in both English and Spanish, builds vocabulary while specialized materials support early writing; enabling the child to express his or her knowledge without the precise control of a pencil. As a result, children are prepared and inspired to read.
Materials specifically designed to demonstrate qualities like color, size, shape, length, smell, taste, texture and sound refine the senses equipping the child to organize various sensory impressions. Many of these materials serve as concrete representations of mathematical concepts.
Montessori math materials are beautifully designed for the child to “see” and “feel” concepts such as numeration, quantity, place value, fractions and operations. This strong conceptual understanding serves as a foundation for later problem solving and abstraction.
Geography & Culture
A child’s early exposure to the geography and landscape of the world encourages discussion and thought about how and why people are the same and different in places all around the world.
Science & Nature
Even children at a very young age can be encouraged to think critically. They discover facts, learn to classify items, predict the results of experiments, and even test their predictions. Activities such as “Sink or Float”, “Living or Non-Living”, “Magnetic or Non-Magnetic” provide an exciting introduction to the world of science. Additionally, we go for nature walks where children learn naturally about their surroundings and work in our garden in the Spring, Summer and Fall.
We include an ever-changing selection of art and creative activities for children. Preliminary art activities focus on building a child’s skillset; cutting, gluing, color selection etc. In addition, children will enjoy lessons on great artists, as well as matching and sorting activities with fine art prints.