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Infant & Toddler

  • Though the philosophy of Harrison Newark Montessori School and many aspects of environmental design and program design are consistent throughout the multi-age and infant/toddler classrooms, there are some unique differences in our infant/toddler program. Our infant and toddler classrooms contain practical life, sensorial, beginning math, and pre-literacy shelves (see our Pre-Primary and Primary Programs page for details!). Additionally, all of our HNMS classrooms offer a well-developed art area for self-directed projects. Materials on every curriculum shelf are attractive, easily accessible, and thoughtfully and carefully designed for the specific age group of the class.

  • Community is established throughout the day during work time. Children are free to work together during work periods. In HNMS classrooms, learning is an ongoing, dynamic process of self-construction within a social context. The Infant/Toddler classroom begins with a sparse offering of materials, which assists children to find comfort and predictability in their new environment as they navigate separation from parents and caregivers in the first days of school. Small and simple manipulatives dominate the offerings. Children are gently introduced to the process of resetting work for the next child by teacher direction and modeling. With this repetition, children become acclimated to the cycle of activity in the classroom; eventually, more multi-step activities and some materials that are included in the early childhood environments are introduced.

  • Music and movement are daily and integral parts of gathering times, offering an irresistible invitation to join together. Yoga cards are available as prompts for poses, with support provided by a classroom teacher. An art project, such as large scale marble painting or exploring paint with your feet, might be offered for all children to explore over the course of a work period; the children are welcome to choose, or not choose, this activity throughout the day.

  • For the Infant/Toddlers, the peaceful classroom begins with the daily interaction of children in the environment. Their approach to the Montessori peace curriculum is organic: teachers observe, see a situation, and step in, if necessary, to guide or mediate. They provide language, assisting children to find the words to express their feelings appropriately. The children come to understand their own responsibility for their shared environment and the community as they are guided to return their materials to order for the next child’s use.

Pre-Primary & Primary

  • HNMS has an integrated and individualized curriculum. Each classroom has a rich assortment of open-ended and structured hands-on activities, which can be used individually or collaboratively with classmates. Physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth occurs as children explore materials and develop skills in our curriculum areas. Each classroom has thoughtfully designed areas dedicated to sensory-motor, practical life, math and language, with art, music and large motor activities intertwined. Through observation and interaction, teachers plan and implement a highly individualized learning path for each child.

  • SENSORY-MOTOR materials give children an opportunity to explore through their senses and develop an understanding of their environment. These concrete materials can be used in either an open-ended or structured manner, and typically consist of graded components which children arrange in various patterns. One-to-one correspondence, ordering and classification are among concepts developed in this area. Sensory-motor activities lay the foundation for writing and math concepts.

  • PRACTICAL LIFE materials are structured projects and activities related to caring for oneself (dressing, combing, etc.) and one’s environment (cleaning, washing, gardening, etc.). Control of movement (pouring, squeezing, twisting, etc.) and grace/courtesy (greeting, helping, thanking, negotiating, etc.) are also developed through these activities. Practical life projects reinforce critical thinking, problem solving, independence, sequencing, organization, concentration, and small/large motor development.

  • The classic Montessori MATH materials are structured, goal-oriented and divided into the following categories: 1–10, teens, tens, 1–100, addition/subtraction, multiplication/ division, and the decimal system. Math operations and concepts (e.g., nonstandard measurement and estimation) are interwoven into children’s everyday activities (e.g., dividing snack into portions or figuring out how many napkins are needed for lunch).

  • Our classrooms swim with oral and written LANGUAGE as children talk and write about their plans and finished work. Each classroom has a library and dramatic play activities. We read aloud every day—one-on-one and in small or large groups. Children “read” to each other by reading through pictures, recalling from memory, phonetically sounding out words, recognizing sight words, or a combination of these strategies. All children write—even the youngest—beginning with invented writing and spelling, progressing to writing initial sounds and words they know, and then to semi-phonetic spelling. Classrooms also have a wide range of structured visual and auditory perceptual and phonemic activities.

  • Each classroom has activities devoted to CULTURAL awareness and broadening a child’s understanding of the world around them. Concepts involving science, nature or geography are explored through maps, magnets, electricity, leaves, anatomy, chemistry and other units.

Auxiliary Programs

(Extended Learning, Stay & Play, Before and After Care)

Stay & Play programming allows children to remain in school after the typical school day, and includes an additional work period for children to expand their learning, practice with their preferred materials, and spend more time with their classmates.  In addition to the extended work period, children have the opportunity to engage in a variety of enrichment activities in the comfort of the HNMS environment.

Before and after care hours are available to accommodate the schedules and needs of our HNMS families.

Summer Camp

  • HNMS Summer Camp classrooms are led by HNMS teachers, allowing us to offer the same level of exceptional programming that is offered during the year. Children find comfort and consistency in continuing the philosophy and curriculum at HNMS, and enjoy the familiarity of friends or teachers, classroom environments, routines and the use of the outdoor play space.

  • During camp, children are given opportunities to expand upon their interests in ways that are not usually offered during the school year. For example, in past years, summer camp has welcomed visitors including musicians, a puppeteer, a soccer coach and a magician. 

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