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Careful Planning, Gentle Guidance, Daily Joy

Progressive Montessori

pro•gres•sive adjective
1 a: of, relating to, or characterized by progress b: making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities c: of, relating to, or constituting an educational theory marked by emphasis on the individual child, informality of classroom procedure, and encouragement of self-expression
2: of, relating to, or characterized by progression
3: moving forward or onward : advancing

In applying the definition of progressive to the Montessori theory, we feel we can better meet the needs of today’s children. We consider that children have varying learning styles, personalities, home lives and temperaments. What works for one child may not be so successful with another. In allowing the classroom to be flexible and to move forward with the children, we can help the child to reach his or her educational potential. We acknowledge current practices in Early Childhood Education and welcome our teachers to continue learning about not only the Montessori philosophy but to observe other schools of thought as well and to apply the very best of today’s research in child development in the classroom.


Social and Emotional Growth

Willow Tree School is a nurturing place where a child’s social and emotional development is carefully fostered. A child is progressing in this area when he or she demonstrates:

  • self-confidence at school
  • Understands and appreciates the unique qualities that make him or her an individual
  • Learns to be a friend
  • Learns to be part of a community
  • Learns to solve problems
  • Feels comfortable with the school routine and is flexible when changes occur
  • Demonstrates independence by making choices and initiating activities
  • Learns about and appreciates the cultural communities of the class

The Montessori Cultural and Geographical Curriculum give children an awareness of others around the world and the fundamental needs of all humans.


Practical Life

The Practical life area is divided into four main areas of concentration

  1. Care of the Person
  2. Care of the Environment
  3. Grace and Courtesy
  4. Fine Motor Skills

Teaching the child to care for the person is a very crucial step in building independence. It is in this area that the child learns to wash, dress, and care for and to take personal responsibility for themselves. Taking care of the environment is not only important in the classroom but globally as well. In the classroom, you may observe children pushing in chairs, cleaning tables and floors, watering plants and giving many hours of devotion to any classroom pets. Much of this may appear to be work to an adult however, to the child it is the process of creating a responsible adult. When children begin to take responsibility for the things in the classroom, we are preparing them to take care of their belongings, home, community and our Earth.



The Language Arts curriculum consists of speaking, listening, reading and writing. We use a balanced approach that encourages teachers to address the varied learning styles of children and to combine phonetic and whole language approaches to meet their needs. Through literature and meaningful experiences with oral and written language, students become eager to learn about literacy and begin to build a lifelong enjoyment of reading and writing. In this area, you may observe children working with the sandpaper letters for sound and letter recognition, using the metal insets to gain muscle control while writing and expressing themselves freely through drawing and storytelling.



Montessori manipulative materials are used to introduce and reinforce the following math skills:

  • Number recognition
  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Number writing
  • Sorting
  • Matching
  • Classifying
  • Estimating
  • Predicting
  • Graphing
  • Sequencing
  • Ordering
  • Patterning
  • Comparing by dimension and weight
  • The concept of time as it relates to the child’s day

The Montessori math materials are designed to assist children with a variety of learning styles. In this area you may observe children counting objects, performing basic number operations and working to gain a positive relationship with numbers in their environment.


Geography and Culture

We begin the year by learning about ourselves and our environment. We study our fundamental needs, our cultural similarities, differences, and the town in which we live. Throughout the year, we explore each continent, its people and animals. We look at Earth and the Universe as part of each and every one of us. In understanding ourselves, we look to understand others. It is this area of the classroom that focuses on teaching tolerance, celebrating diversity and having respect for the Earth, our home.



Science within our classroom is inquiry and discovery based driven by the children’s curiosity and interests as well as their need to make sense of their environment. Using everyday experiences and materials, and aided by simple scientific instruments, the children develop and practice the skills of scientific inquiry. Children are given the tools needed to ask observe and ask questions, gather and record data, draw hypothesis and finally to develop and communicate explanations and predict outcomes.

Our science curriculum consists of Geology, Botany, and Zoology. Within these large topics, you will find the study of weather, gardening, and the study of mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and more.



fish printChildren in our classroom are exposed to a universe of concepts and ideas. With these concepts and ideas, the children begin to form a picture of the world that they live in. From this picture the child draws what is relevant and expresses it in a manner that has meaning, often only to the child themselves. Children are able to express themselves by using a variety of modalities and materials within the art area. It is through their artistic expressions that we see the foundation for writing and reading emerge. The telling of a story through a picture, scribbles developing into a name and meaningless single pages when combined turning into a self-published book, happen here everyday.



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