Kindergarten Year at SSMA

KidsOne important difference between what Shining Stars Montessori Academy offers the five-year-old and what is offered by many of today's traditional kindergarten programs has to do with how we help the young students to learn how to learn. A great deal of research shows that quite often students in traditional programs don't really understand most of what they are being taught. Harvard Psychologist and author of The Unschooled Mind, Howard Gardner, goes so far as to suggest that, "Many schools have fallen into a pattern of giving kids exercises and drills that result in their getting answers on tests that look like understanding.”

The third year in the Primary classroom or Kindergarten is the culmination of what the Shining Stars student has learned at this level. 

The emphasis has been on moving the child from concrete manipulatives to more abstract thinking and concepts. At Shining Stars, we use this year to focus and transition the young learners from ‘readiness’ to developing cognitive skills on the firm foundation of sensory and motor skill ‘learning’ practiced in the preschool years. During the Kindergarten year, our children are encouraged to develop good work habits, to analyze and process information, and to develop the ability to persist in completing a task once begun.

This video was produced by the Montessori Foundation. We hope it helps you to better understand the importance of the third (or kindergarten) year in the Shining Stars Montessori Academy program. A full DVD, “A Time to Blossom” Montessori for the Kindergarten Years’,  is available from the Montessori Foundation Bookstore.

All preparations for later academic work and for social and emotional development, which have been so carefully nurtured in the three and four-year-old [children], are reinforced in the Shining Stars Montessori Academy kindergarten year.

Our goal is to develop students who really understand their schoolwork. Learning is not focused on tote drills and memorization. Students continue to learn through hands-on experience, investigation, and research. They become actively engaged in their studies, rather than passively waiting to be spoon-fed.

We challenge and set high expectations for all our students, not only a special few. Students develop self-discipline and an internal sense of purpose and motivation. The kindergarten year is carefully structured and integrated to demonstrate the beginning connections among the different subject areas—and prepares the student to ‘step up' to the Lower Elementary classroom the following year in the first grade. We welcome parents to schedule a visit to the school to learn more about Montessori and the 3rd year in the Primary Program (or the Kindergarten Year and the 5-year-old student) at Shining Stars.

A Montessori School

A Traditional School

Emphasis: academic, emotional and social development

Emphasis: social development

Child is the center of the classroom

Teacher is the center of the classroom

Environment and method encourage self-discipline

Teacher disciplines

Mainly Individual Instruction

Mainly Group Instruction

Mixed Age Grouping

Same Age Grouping

Mixed age grouping encourages children to teach and help each other

Most teaching lead by teacher

Child chooses own work

Curriculum structured for child

Child works as long as he wishes on chosen project

Child generally allotted specific time for work

Child sets own learning pace

Instruction pace usually set by group norm

Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success

Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards

Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration

Fewer materials for sensory development

Organized program for learning care of self and environment (tying shoes, washing dishes)

Less emphasis on self-care instruction

Content courtesy AMS 2014