Kindergarten is a pivotal year in your child’s educational development. Standing between preschool and the rigors of elementary school, kindergarten is a time of great maturity. Children not only step on the path toward reading, writing, and mastering more sophisticated math and science skills, but they also take their place more firmly in the society of their peers.
At the Austin Children’s Academy (ACA), we understand the importance of this critical year. In fact, as a Montessori school, we spend two years building up to this moment in your child’s educational development. Kindergarten is the third year of our primary school which welcomes children between the ages of three and six. While the three-year-olds are learning basic concepts of numbering, sequence, and pattern recognition, the six-year-olds are securing their own understanding by acting as mentors, helping the younger children whenever they’re not involved in their own, more advanced discoveries. As role models for the younger kids, the kindergarteners begin to “own” their own skills, develop leadership qualities, and grow confident in their practical knowledge even as they continue to build upon it.
In terms of academics, studies have shown that students of Montessori schools excel. A U.S. study published in 2006 in the journal Science found that five-year-olds taught through the Montessori Method were better prepared in reading and math than income- and age-equivalent non-Montessori-educated peers. They also had higher levels of “executive functions,” defined as the ability to plan, organize, and adapt, a significant marker for future academic success. In addition, twelve-year-olds exceeded their peers writing creative, more grammatically advanced essays. But the most striking differences were in social skills and behavior, where the Montessori-educated children excelled.
The proof is in the pudding: Famous advocates of the Montessori Method include such disparate, successful graduates as Jeff Bezos of Amazon, the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julia Child, the Washington Post’s Katherine Graham, the musician Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and both founders of Google.
The academic subjects that we tackle in the kindergarten program include:
- Reading, Writing, and Language Arts
- Basic Mathematics, Practical and Conceptual
- Science and Biology
- Social Studies and Geography
Yet academic success is just one part of our overall program. Kindergarten is when the tenets of the Montessori Method of educational philosophy come into full flower because of the focus on the bigger picture. While our Montessori-certified teachers gently propel your child through academic milestones, they are also keenly focused on larger and far more important lessons, such as:
- Confidence and Self-Reliance: A child who has encouraged to experiment, strive, and work through mistakes is a child who will not be daunted by the academic or life challenges that he will undoubtedly face.
- Determination and Grit: Recent studies have postulated that “mental toughness,” or “grit,” plays a crucial role in determining success in later life. A child who has experienced the wonder of achievement after his own undaunted efforts isn’t going to be easily dissuaded by the prospect of hard work.
- Kindness and Empathy: We want to nurture citizens of a better world, so we focus on conflict resolution, developing empathy, and working with others in a community. As an eco-friendly campus that reuses, recycles, and up-cycles, we also model a care and concern for our environment.
- Initiative and Creativity: Encouraged to follow the path of his or her own curiosity, a child will learn that taking the initiative to follow a passion for any subject will propel him or her through many rocky days.
- Love of Learning: This is the core lesson of a Montessori education. When a child enjoys the process of learning, he will set himself on his own path to a lifelong hunger for knowledge.
The source of this success lies in the way Montessori schools focus on specially-designed individual advancement. There will likely be a time in your child’s academic progress when he’ll be subjected to a blizzard of homework assignments, the high-stakes pressure of frequent tests, and the sit-in-rows-of-seats method of lecture and lessons. He’ll be spared that in a Montessori classroom. Science has shown that encouraging the deeper qualities listed above is more effective than drill-and-kill in early childhood education, and will better prepare children for the inevitable challenges to come.
The basis of our success lies in ACA’s Montessori-certified teacher’s focus on each child’s individual progress and development. After a period of keen observation in the classroom, a personalized curriculum is written up for each student, adapted over time to their interests, style of learning, and academic needs. On a weekly basis, certain goals have to be met in whatever order the student would like to fulfill them. The students move at their own pace and thus have the option to spend hours on a project if they get absorbed by, say, researching whales or South American geography. By following their passions, they gain initiative, confidence, a love of learning, mental flexibility and original thought.
Our Montessori-certified teachers act as guides to keep children on track, praise effort over results, and watch keenly to promote collaboration, prevent frustration, and encourage advancement. Your child will grow and flourish in an atmosphere where they won’t be measured against others or chided for mistakes. Every child moves forward at his own rate without the judgement or competition of test scores or grades.
As a parent, you and all of us at ACA share the same concern: Finding the best kindergarten program for your child. We’d be thrilled to show you around our 10,000 square foot facility that includes both indoor and outdoor recreational areas. Each classroom has a dedicated library and computer lab. Our teachers, who must re-certify every three to five years, will be happy to talk to you about specifics of the Montessori Method as well as the day-by-day workings of the kindergarten classroom.
To learn more, don’t hesitate: Call us to schedule a tour today.