KEP is a one or two-year program that prepares students for success in our Lower Elementary. All lead teachers are Montessori-certified at the 3-6 age level.The KEP curriculum covers five broad areas—the traditional Montessori areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Science, and Cultural. KEP students also participate in weekly classes in Visual Art, Performing Art, and Science. Once a week, all Kindergarten students attend gym classes at Boston University’s Fitness and Recreation Center. Through Montessori activities and projects, students gain experience working in longer uninterrupted blocks, asking their own questions and developing their own interests. Students take pleasure in their work. By the end of the year, KEP students are ready to take on the challenges of our Lower Elementary mixed groups.
The KEP classroom is located in the Exeter Street building, while our other Kindergarten students work in mixed-aged classrooms at the Fairfield Building. Students are working in a variety of groupings; small groups, independently, with a teacher, etc. Students are participating in the care of the classroom environment. They also take part in our special Kindergarten Engineering Program and Kindergarten Marathon.
The Kindergarten Entry Program supports the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of the child. Teachers encourage students to explore and use materials at their own developmental level and pace. The teachers thoughtfully prepare the classroom environment to invite curiosity and stimulate learning. By making independent choices, the child develops self‐motivation, self‐regulation, and problem-solving skills. Children move from the concrete to the abstract through manipulating, experimenting, and discovering. Teachers find many opportunities to refer children to one another; adults support students’ spontaneous cooperative efforts.
The mixed aged group is a foundational element to Montessori education. Within this model, the youngest children look to and learn from their older peers while older students have opportunities to be role models and leaders. Children remain in the KEP classroom for one or two years, depending if they begin as a four-year-old or a Kindergarten student. The materials are familiar and many routines remain the same from year to year. This consistency provides security and a sense of ownership, and as children develop and change, their use of the materials changes too. Students have the opportunity to plan, monitor, and assess their own work.
Throughout the Montessori classroom, language is constantly heard and expressed in a multitude of ways. Materials and activities in all curriculum areas are designed to develop and refine the sensory‐motor skills necessary for reading and writing. Learning the letter sounds phonetically, rather than by name, leads children organically into reading, while tracing sandpaper letter shapes begins the natural progression into handwriting. Children utilize self‐correcting materials as they progress from the visual, concrete task of letter/sound association to the more abstract concept of grammar and story development.
Due to the multiage environment of a Montessori classroom and the wide range of ability levels that come with that, children in KEP are assigned to reading groups where they work with a teacher to explore the Language curriculum at their own pace.
The Mathematics curriculum area allows the child to begin the journey from concrete to abstract mathematical explorations. Through manipulation, experimentation, and discovery, the child does not merely learn to count, she understands the concept of “quantity” because the amount is held in her hand. The Montessori Mathematics material allows the child opportunities to become familiar and comfortable with three primary areas: numeration, place value, and operations.
Activities in Science give the child opportunities for prediction and observation. Materials present facts, nomenclature, and classification of botany, zoology and physical science. Kindergarten children work with the Science teacher once per week to reinforce and enrich the concepts introduced to them in the classroom.
Maria Montessori designed the Cultural Studies curriculum as an interdisciplinary study of the life of man on earth throughout time and in all geographic regions. It includes the study of geography, history, music, art, botany, zoology, and physical science. It encompasses all cultural subjects as part of a meaningful whole. Maria Montessori's primary goal was for education to help the child become a fully developed individual adapted to his time and place and culture; to be a citizen of tomorrow; and a participant in a harmoniously functioning society. The child gains an understanding of unity, of variety and of the inter‐relatedness of all things, both living and non‐living.
In the KEP Program, the principles of Grace and Courtesy become the scaffolding that serves to support the rest of the curriculum. From the very first day of school, teachers emphasize the importance of self‐care, care of one’s environment, and care of one another. There are many opportunities for the children to practice these principles throughout their day as they interact with each other and their environment. Children learn to interrupt politely, listen when another person speaks, and use “I” statements when speaking about their own needs and desires. The Montessori Grace and Courtesy curriculum is enhanced through our school-wide social-emotional framework called RULER.
Through the Cultural curriculum, the children hear stories and read non-fiction books about people from other cultures, what their foods look and taste like, what their homes and schools are like, and what kinds of things children do for fun. Kingsley parents come into the classrooms to share family traditions and holidays by teaching songs, reading stories, sharing foods, and doing culture‐specific art projects that help students understand other ways of life in a hands‐on and age‐appropriate way. Materials and instructional content reflect a diverse world.
A young child meets the world around him through the constant use of all of his senses. In order to continue his creative task of development, a child needs to express and classify the impressions he has already received. Through sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell, the Sensorial Montessori materials enable each child to clarify, classify, and comprehend his world. The Montessori program offers a multi‐sensory approach to learning, encouraging a child to use the optimum combination of senses. The KEP classroom environment allows for a variety of activities such as individual/group, floor/table, noisy/quiet, active/sedentary.
The Sensorial materials enable a child to clarify and internalize such concepts as size, shape, color, sound, similarities, and differences. Such skills provide a basis for concurrent and future activities in Math, Music, and Language.
CONCENTRATION, COORDINATION, ORDER, INDEPENDENCE
The Practical Life area provides an opportunity for the child to use familiar and everyday activities that allow for meaningful and productive work such as pouring, scooping, sweeping, hand washing etc. By engaging with these materials in an organized, purposeful way, the child builds their concentration, coordination, independence, and order. Practical Life activities also serve to refine gross and fine motor movements and hand‐eye coordination. Many of these materials require precise, controlled hand movements, strengthening the muscles used for handwriting. These learned skills provide the child with the necessary building blocks for concurrent and future learning in Math, Language, and Cultural Studies.