February 2019 Written by Cris Donka
It is a good idea to get an explanation and deeper understanding of why Montessori classrooms are put together in three year cycles. As you know, our Early Childhood classrooms go from ages 3 to 6 years. The third year (Kindergarten) is the capstone of the Montessori Early Childhood education. It is not uncommon for parents to put their children in “regular” kindergarten classes rather than continuing in the third year of the 3-year Montessori cycle. This month, we want to talk about why that third year is so critical in your child’s development.
Let’s take a look at why the Montessori Method works best when a child gets to experience all three years of the Early Childhood cycle.
The first year focuses on laying the foundation for learning and becoming more comfortable with the ideas and materials for this age group. The second year is for exploration. The children explore the lessons and materials in much more detail than they did in the first year of the cycle. The third year of the cycle is when the children begin to actually apply their learning in many new, practical, and creative ways. This third year is critical for your child’s development of higher thinking skills. As they complete their third year (Kindergarten year), they have become more confident in who they are mentally, emotionally, and socially.
They learn to see themselves as important role models to the first and second year children and they know they are the leaders of the classroom. They take this responsibility very seriously and know how important it is. They know how difficult it was to master each skill in the classroom and they are excited to show their peers.
Maria Montessori established the three year classroom cycles with the understanding that the best way to learn is to teach. The Kindergarten year is a rite of passage. It gives your child the chance to develop leadership skills and to apply his or her knowledge in a new direction. The third year in the cycle, the pinnacle year, is an opportunity that every Montessori child is blessed to experience.