Around the age of three, the children are moving into the Second Plane of Development, that of the “Absorbent Mind.” This is a critical “scaffolding” year that meets the needs of children from the age of 30 months until they are ready to move into the Preprimary Classroom (three years of age as of September of the year they begin). In the Transitional Preschool room, we accept a maximum of 24 children with three Montessori teachers. Near the age of 30 months, children are primed for additional challenges in all areas. They are developing more independence. They have become more physically capable with their gross and fine motor skills and are ready for increased challenges to continue to develop those skills. They are also becoming more interested in learning about their world. For this, the Montessori materials provide a wonderful vehicle to help the children begin to sort and organize all they have been learning during their stage of the “Unconscious Absorbent Mind” – as Maria Montessori characterized the minds of children prior to the age of three. This Transitional Preschool room provides an increasing level of structure, more of the Montessori materials, and a broader curriculum to expand and enrich the learning opportunities for these very young preschool children. Initial exposure is made in all content areas, with the anticipation that the children will be introduced to yet another level when they move into the Preprimary Classroom the following year. Foundation goals we have for the children include helping them develop a work cycle, to work within the organization of the classroom and interact positively with others. In addition, we are working toward helping the children develop their attention spans to enable them to sit in small groups for a teacher’s presentation and to be able to select and complete (age-appropriate) work with focus.
We see our educational approach as one of “process” versus “product.” Many of the academic areas require certain developmental readiness. As children are developmentally ready to advance, they do! As each child’s skills begin to solidify with the foundational concepts, s/he is able to continue her/his progress to his/her level of challenge. With age-appropriate exposure in mind, the areas of focus for the Transitional Preschoolers include: