Preschool - 6
Casa builds skills of independence, introduces and develops academic learning, develops social skills and fosters a love and respect for the natural world. A strong sense of community is evident in the classroom, as well as a respect for others, the classroom, the environment and ourselves. The Montessori casa experience inspires a love of learning and a curiosity about the world that lasts a lifetime.
The casa program is organized into five areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Culture & Science.
Children also learn about art/art history, music, French, nature studies and phys ed.
To enroll in our casa class, children must turn 3 by December 31 of that school year, and must be able to use the washroom independently. We only accept 5 first-year students. Priority is given to siblings of current students, and those who wish to attend casa for the full 3-year program.
Practical Life exercises are familiar activities which attract the child and provide valuable skills for independence, sequencing ability, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The Practical Life exercises respond to the child’s sensitive period for order. Activities such as: tying bows, pouring water, buttoning, zipping, polishing & putting things away.
Sensorial materials isolate single concepts, such as size, colour, shape, texture, sound, weight, taste and scent. Working with these materials helps to refine the senses and provides the language associated with these concepts. These materials respond to the Casa child’s sensitive periods for language and movement.
Language work begins with the sandpaper letters, which prepare the child for writing and introduce the phonetic sounds of the letters. Students work through a series of materials that lead to reading and writing, an introduction to grammar, word study and creative writing.
Math materials allow the child the opportunity to fully understand number concepts, the processes involved in the four operations and squares and cubes of numbers 1 to 10. Self-directed practice with boards and charts provides the means to memorize math facts.
Cultural subjects include geography, science, botany, zoology, history, art, music, and French. A rich array of materials opens the child’s eyes to the surrounding world, both natural and cultural. The casa child is very interested in the concrete world, things he/she can physically relate to. The study of languages introduces children to cultures around the world, and gives them a basic vocabulary of nouns, verbs, adjectives and simple phrases as a foundation to build upon.
Music and Art are an important part of HMS and the children are able to explore both independently as part of a group in the classroom. Students are exposed to composers and artists and their works in their weekly lessons. Music and Art are used to reinforce learning in many subjects, like geography, astronomy and French.
We are outside as much as we can! Recess is for an hour or more each day and on nice days we spend the afternoons studying botany, zoology and biology hands on in the garden or our maple grove.
Social skills such as learning to share, cooperating and taking turns, learning to play safely and talking kindly are an important part of our program and teachers ensure that children are conscious of their actions and how they affect themselves and others. At the same time, children are not forced unnaturally to work together, as developmentally many children still prefer to work side by side, rather than along with, another friend. Or, even, completely alone. And that is perfectly fine
HMS is a family, a community of parents, teachers and children who all work together. Our older students are our role models and our Casa students look up to them.