The Montessori Children’s House experience is by design a three-year cycle, that is, two years of preschool plus the kindergarten year. New enrollment into AIM’s Children’s House program does require a three year commitment from parents.
A 3-year-old joins the class, and is drawn in and finds help from the older peers. He aspires to do what they do: children often learn more and better from those just slightly older than them, than from adults! As he grows and become a 2nd year, he begins to master more of the many skills and activities around the classroom. He can watch the new 1st years coming in, and start to help them! He starts laying the foundations of language and math activities, learning and perfecting the component skills of writing, reading and arithmetic.
The 3rd year is when it all comes together. It’s the year the child cashes in on all the work of the prior two years, where she puts it all together and explodes in her development. Suddenly, she goes from sounding out words, to reading sentences. She gets numbers, and delights in doing arithmetic into the thousands. She can draw pictures, and may write entire illustrated stories.
Maybe more importantly, she comes into her own as a leader in the classroom. Often, the 5- and 6-year-olds in the Children’s House class naturally become teachers and mentors for their younger peers. They feel at home in their Montessori environment. As one student put it: "I don’t need the teachers to show me any more, I can just pick my work and complete it all by myself!"
In addition, for those students who join AIM’s immersion program without strong Chinese or Japanese skills, the third year is often when the development of the second language takes off, where children transition completely to speaking in Chinese or Japanese in class, even with their peers, even when no teacher is watching.
These factors – academic success, confidence and leadership, second language mastery—all make it very important that children stay at AIM for the full 3-year Montessori cycle. Give her the opportunity to cash in on her prior experience, and gain the confidence and academic foundation that are only possible by completing the 3-year Montessori cycle.