Transition to Elementary

Around this time each year the Lower Elementary classrooms begin receiving visits from Children’s House students who will be graduating out of the Children’s House program in June and ready to enter the Elementary program next fall.

When a child is around six years old, meaning between six and seven, they enter into a new stage of development that Dr. Montessori referred to as the “second plane of development”. They display physical characteristics like loss of baby teeth and elongation of their body (less baby, more wiry) and they display psychological changes like wanting to work in a small group versus working alone, and starting to use their reasoning mind. They become very curious about what the older children are doing and they ask to visit the Elementary classrooms.

When a child asks to visit an Elementary classroom, their first task is to write a letter of request like Bennett did (above) in the Maple Room this week.

“Dear Robert, I would like to come to Camassia. From Bennett”

They then deliver their letter and await a written response with a scheduled day and time. It’s all very “grown up.”

When the day arrives to visit the Lower Elementary, the visiting child typically brings with them a material to work with like the Moveable Alphabet to practice writing, or the Stamp Game to practice math, or a book to practice reading. While they are visiting they are paired with a host, a Lower Elementary child who takes them under their wing, orients them around the classroom, and makes sure they get settled and feel comfortable and safe. The host works close by so that they can offer any help they may be needed.

This week Natalie in the Trillium Room was host to rising Elementary students Nate(above) and Amit (below).

Typically on their first visit children stay in the Elementary for a short period and, upon subsequent visits, work up to spending the entire morning and sometimes the day.

These opportunities to visit the Elementary honor the child’s natural transition into the second plane of development while supporting them at every step of the way to create a smooth and successful transition into the Elementary program.

This pattern is very true to Montessori; follow the child’s natural development and set them up for success by meeting them where they are at, removing any obstacles, and providing them exactly what they need in order to thrive independently in their next challenge.

 Elementary Presentation Day

It was wonderful to see so many of you at Elementary Presentation Day yesterday. The children worked very hard on their presentations and we hope you both enjoyed yourselves and learned something in the process. A huge shout out to Emma for taking photos of this precious event.  Thank you Emma!

Here are just a few of the photos that Emma took. To see all of the photos follow the link below.



Huckleberry Cottage

Toddler Community

ages 16 months – 3 years

Outside of toileting independence, fine motor development is a large part of the young toddler’s work. The Huckleberry Cottage provides a large array of materials that meet this very need. Juliet (above) works on the challenge of maneuvering an object around a curve.

David (above) stacks the rings on the pegs and can use this material later to color code.

Isla strings the large beads.

Large motor control is another huge area of a toddler’s developmental focus.

When combined with sunshine, friends, and team work, it’s just plain fun!

Toddlers who are ready to transition up are also making their classroom visits to the Children’s House.

This sweet photo was taken after Frances made a morning visit to the Sunflower Cottage. She came back into the Huckleberry Cottage and found a photo of Anna Ardizzone (Sunflower Guide) in the language material cards and then found a photo of herself and put them together and just smiled, and smiled, and smiled.

It is such a joy to watch a child who is not only ready for the next stage, but so incredibly happy and excited that they just can’t wait to get started.

Maple Cottage

Children’s House

ages 3-6 years

Salter waters the plants.

Watering plants is one activity among many that constitute Care of the Environment. These activities nurture responsibility (taking ownership of the environment and taking care of it), a sense of purpose (being helpful and productive) and independence (developing skills that allow a child to do for himself, which in turn gives the child a sense of pride and confidence).

Gideon paints the world.

This activity typically signifies the mastery of identification and naming of the continents.

Madeleine gets a lesson in Sand Paper Numerals.

This lesson follows the same pattern as the Sand Paper Letters (below);

While tracing the number or letter, the child says the number (or the sound of the letter) out loud. This combined tactile and auditory approach simultaneously builds muscle memory for recreating the symbol in writing later and associates the appropriate language (or sound) with the symbol which makes it easier to retrieve the information from your brain when you want it.

Gideon’s list of words written with the Moveable Alphabet.

Once a child has learned the sounds of the alphabet (and mastered how to identify distinct sounds in words with the Sound Game) he is offered the Moveable Alphabet to sound out his own words and then writing, the ability to express yourself through the written word, begins!

Trillium Room

Lower Elementary

ages 6-9 years

Gavin and Reed need TWO flat bead frames to do their very large multiplication problem.

Luke and Declan use the peg board to find common multiples.

Aiden and Luca S. use the checker board to solve multiplication equations with double digit multipliers.

Laya and Amelia get a lesson in Reading Analysis.

Do you remember diagramming sentences? This is very similar.