Early Program classes are small, mixed-age groups of three and four year old children. Two teachers for every 18-20 children provide individual attention. Combining Montessori methodology with activities in art, music, movement, library, science, outdoor play, and dramatic, open-ended play, the curriculum promotes social and emotional growth, as well as cognitive and sensory development.
The Early Program at Caedmon follows a modified Montessori philosophy. Traditional Montessori materials, which address cognitive and sensory-motor development, are enhanced by more contemporary activities to encourage the social, creative, and emotional growth of the child. The classroom itself is a prepared environment designed to provide children with only positive experiences. The furniture is scaled to their size, and thoughtfully placed in the room to achieve a natural flow of movement. Montessori materials are introduced sequentially, in response to the children’s readiness, and then organized on the shelves thematically. Everything in the room is arranged in predictable fashion, so that the children are able to take charge of their own learning, and to discover on their own. With its sensible structure, the classroom itself replaces the teacher as the center of focus. The teacher becomes a facilitator in helping the children utilize their space to learn independently.
During the two-year program, children of different ages are mixed together. First year three year old children benefit from having older four year old classmates to model. The following year, they are empowered by assisting their younger classmates. The effect is to instill in the children a sense of responsibility for each other, as well as for themselves and the classroom.
A foundation is carefully laid for effective and sensitive communication with peers and adults. Children are consistently encouraged to use their words when expressing their needs or feelings. Every effort is made to teach them compassion and empathy, in order to develop their awareness and appreciation of others. The progress of each child is monitored by continuous observation and record keeping on the part of the two teachers. They look to see if the child is functioning independently in the classroom, verbally communicating his or her thoughts and actions, and progressing through the different areas of the classroom at his or her own pace.
The Caedmon School offers an extended day program for children in both the Beginners class as well as the first year of Early Program. This option allows children to be in school until 3:30 pm. The children will have lunch and a rest time, followed by an afternoon of Discovery. The curriculum will be modeled after our Early Program classrooms, providing the children with opportunities to explore the materials, and engage in teacher-directed activities, including art, music, and dramatic play. Children who attend the Discovery Program will also be able participate in our Afterschool classes.