Montessori Works: Every day, the children have at least one long, uninterrupted work time. During this time, they may choose to work on any of a variety of learning tasks (called “works” in Montessori education parlance). A teacher must present the work—that is, show how to correctly complete the task—before a child may choose it. Usually, these presentations take place one-on-one or in small groups of two to four children. Children’s House works fall into five categories:
- Sensorial: Examples include sorting wooden cylinders according to size; using a tweezers to sort small beads into different containers according to color; and tracing map shapes on paper using a straight pin. These works lay a solid foundation for more advanced math, reading, and writing skills. For example, honing fine motor skills prepares children for holding and manipulating a pencil.
- Practical life: The practical life area of the classroom offers children an opportunity to practice caring for self, others, and the environment through a variety of practical tasks—washing, cleaning, ironing, and food preparation, to name a few. The practical life works help children develop grace of movement, courtesy toward others, and a sense of order.
- Mathematics: Popular math works include counting beads, geometric shapes, and algebraic puzzles. The math works use concrete materials to help children internalize abstract mathematical concepts and learn basic math facts.
- Language: The language works include such materials as the movable alphabet and sandpaper letters, among others, helping children develop literacy and pre-literacy skills.
- Cultural: Cultural materials expose children to geography, history, life science, art, music, and more. A popular geography work involves creating maps of continents, countries, or even the world.
Circle time: During circle time children sing songs, discuss topics of common interest, or have “show and tell.”
Field trips: Field trips are an integral part of Montessori education and the Children’s House curriculum. In the past, Children’s House students have visited dairy farms, apple orchards, the National Eagle Center, the La Crosse Children’s Museum, and local plays and musical performances.
Lunch, recess, rest time: Children who are enrolled for full days at Children’s House have lunch and recess midday. A snack is offered each day, hot lunches and breakfast are available. Children may also opt to nap or rest in the early afternoon.
After school care: Bluffview Montessori School partners with the Winona YMCA to offer an after-school care program for students.