Our Programs

So much more than just child care

Our flexible, personalized program is designed to challenge, inspire and support each child’s unique learning style in a peaceful atmosphere of partnership and respect. The result are happy, independent learners with the foundation of knowledge & skills they need to succeed in their personal, spiritual, and educational journeys.

Toddler (Ages 18 months – 3 years old)

The aims of the Grace Montessori toddler program are to assist children as they fulfill the basic human tasks of trust, separation, independence, and self-control. The focus is both on curriculum and materials and on helping the toddler respond to the rapid and conflicting changes of this developmental age.

The carefully planned and meticulously prepared class environment beckons the toddler’s strongest desires to make order out of chaos, to move with intention and coordination, and to communicate with others.

In a Montessori toddler environment, the child develops feelings of support, security, and self-esteem. Children are guided toward appropriate behaviors through a non-judgmental atmosphere that offers consistency; children come to understand the balance between freedom and limits. Toddlers need to know that they are safe, both physically and emotionally, and that they are loved for whom they are. The comfort and reassurance of caring adults is never far away.

During the beginning weeks in a toddler class, children experience a major transition. To ease this transition, we require a one to two week “phase-in” period. The first day is one hour with a parent in the classroom. Both the parent and child leave after one hour. We try to increase the time by an hour each day and to slowly move parents out of the classroom as children become comfortable with their teachers and environment. After a child has experienced the phase-in process, the best way children can feel comfortable at school is if they see that their parents have trust in the new situation.

Consistency in the daily way parents handle the transition away from their child also helps to support the child’s ability to build trust. A tender hug or kiss and a confident demeanor as you leave are routines that help your child adjust to the “newness” of school. To successfully pass through separation anxiety is one of the major learning experiences for the toddler.

Most toddlers quickly adjust to the Montessori environment. Nature assists by offering him or her an insatiable curiosity and a boundless enthusiasm for activity. Toddlers literally propel themselves through their busy day! Out of this newfound freedom of movement, there eventually comes a flourishing of concentration on an enticing activity.

Despite minor distractions, children focus and engage in hands-on activity, music and song, group time, and participate both in the daily care of their class and in their own personal care. Patience, self-control, and respect of peers emerge as children participate in community life.

Toddlers also learn to use language skills, both verbal and non-verbal, to solve conflicts in social situations. They quickly grow in their ability to carry on extended conversations and request help. Gestures and physical communication remain valid ways of communicating, but they diminish as the child’s phrases and simple sentences are understood. As words become a primary means of communication, we are careful not to attribute an understanding to the toddler that he or she does not yet possess.

​One of the several challenges unique to toddlers is toilet learning. Adults become aware of a child’s readiness to entertain this challenge when the child exhibits certain characteristics, but children must make the decision on their own. As they do, teachers help ease this new routine naturally into the child’s personal care. Children experience independence, self-control, motivation, and confidence in their success.

Our toddlers activate their senses and their awareness of the world around them with daily experiences in the Town of The Plains. They explore the playground and and church courtyard. Nature is incorporated into the daily curriculum and children are encouraged to make observations and discoveries while outdoors.

Program Schedule:

Half Day                 8:30am – 12 noon
School Day             8:30am – 3:00pm
Full Day                  8:30am – 5pm

Early Childhood (Ages 3-6 years)

The goal of the Early Childhood environment is to cultivate—and be a catalyst to—a child’s own natural desire to learn. We encourage children to experience choice and decision making, which empower them with intrinsic motivation and self-discipline, and strengthen their ability to think and act for themselves. We guide each child “to do it by myself,” thus satiating the child’s basic need for independence. Additionally, by helping children believe that they are capable, competent, and confident, we help create positive attitudes toward learning that last a lifetime.

“Learning by doing” is the foundation of the Montessori approach. Our pre-school class is indeed a child’s world, geared to the size, pace, and interests of boys and girls between the ages of three and six.

Sounds and movements abound in the class as children actively explore, manipulate, and investigate in order to see, hear, feel and personally know his or her world. Although individualized instruction is emphasized in the Grace Montessori classroom, group collaboration and cooperative learning are also encouraged, and children often engage in small group work.

A well-established fact is that pre-school children mature at very different rates, and their periods of readiness for academic subjects vary a great deal. Knowing this, Maria Montessori believed that learning experiences should not be tedious, but should occur naturally and joyfully at the proper moment for each individual child. The Montessori approach to education teaches children to think, to ask probing questions, and to seek creative answers.

​We like to think of our early childhood class as a learning laboratory, organized into several curriculum areas, among them language arts, mathematics, everyday living skills, sensory awareness exercises, and culture (geography, science, social studies, art, music, movement). Simpler tasks are mastered before complex ones are introduced. Many materials involve the child in tasks that facilitate eye-hand coordination and small muscle control. Throughout the curriculum, one finds a web of indirect preparations that enhance the learning process. For example, our simple, everyday living exercises have complex aims: to develop order, concentration, coordination, and independence.

​Carefully designed activities allow children to joyfully learn to care for themselves and for their class environment. The tasks of buttoning, transferring quantities, polishing, and preparing all subconsciously develop accurate eye-hand abilities, which are later needed for reading, writing, and other academic pursuits. Children soon develop courtesy, graciousness, poise and self-control, since vital interest in purposeful activity almost always breeds social maturity.

​Our sensorial awareness exercises provide purposeful movement and aid in muscular coordination. Children become aware of details by learning to finely discriminate among textures, colors, and dimensions. They learn one-to-one correspondence in matching/sorting and grading/discerning differences tasks, both necessary cognitive preparations. Intelligence is built up as the child learns to distinguish, categorize, and relate new information to what s/he already knows. Children move through the structured materials independently, challenging themselves and gaining confidence. “Never let a child risk failure unless s/he has a reasonable chance of success,” Montessori cautions; we heed her advice, believing carefully planned success motivates further learning.

​As for our language arts area, it is designed to enrich a child’s vocabulary and conversation and to establish a personal interest in reading and reading comprehension. Children working with everyday living and sensorial foundation exercises develop many reading readiness skills. As the child shows an interest and a comprehension of activities preparatory to written language, the teacher provides opportunities to explore letter sounds and formation. The unique Montessori approach to language development is a carefully respectful, individualized response to each child’s natural desire to absorb language and communicate.

The purpose of the mathematics area is to follow the child’s basic need to seek order and logic in all things. Children count with enthusiasm and that enjoyment is channeled to a concrete understanding of math facts and concepts. Later, the school age child can make abstractions and truly understand the theoretic rules of math. Our math materials are firmly based in process, not product. The child grasps (literally and figuratively) a personal mathematical understanding through extensive use of manipulatives—objects that may be held and felt, personalized, and understood.

​Grace Montessori Schools’ children are also introduced to art history and art studio. Each day they explore the world of arts and crafts through the media of paint, clay, paste, and color, and through the use of simple desk tools, they get in full touch with their creative and individual expression.

Music is a daily activity that is both spontaneous and planned. It includes an exploration of musical instruments, music makers, and music of many nations and styles. Physical education is also scheduled daily, with children being led in various activities that help develop gross motor skills such as walking with purpose and balance, running, and jumping.

Our Early Childhood students activate their senses and their awareness of the world around them with daily experiences. They explore the outdoor world during nature walks, and are encouraged to make observations and discoveries while outdoors. Nature instills in the preschooler a strong desire to repeat an activity over and over. With each repetition, new observations are discerned; stronger physical and mental muscles develop; concentration appears; and with heightened concentration, learning takes place naturally.

​Grace Montessori Schools’ children are also introduced to art history and art studio. Each day they explore the world of arts and crafts through the media of paint, clay, paste, and color, and through the use of simple desk tools, they get in full touch with their creative and individual expression.

Program Schedule:

Half Day                 8:30am – 12 noon
School Day             8:30am – 3:00pm
Full Day                  8:30am – 5pm

Montessori Beginnings

Montessori Beginnings (Parent and Child) Montessori is your chance to experience “Montessori in a nutshell.” You and your child will be in a Montessori classroom, experience some of the typical daily activities, and learn from an experienced Montessori teacher. Seeing is believing: if you are at all unsure if Montessori might be right for your child and family, you’ll have your answer after this class!

Montessori Beginnings Program is for children ages 18 months – 3 years old.  Classes will start Fall 2022.

Experience why our children are HAPPY to learn!