Inspiring a Joy of Learning
The Montessori Day School of Brooklyn serves children ages 2 years through 5 years, divided into toddler and primary/mixed age classes. The school has a total of seven classrooms. Each class is led by a team of three teachers, with class sizes appropriate to the ages of the children. Classroom calendars are distributed monthly to parents identifying the themes, special projects, and daily activities for the month.
Using Montessori principles, our dedicated, experienced teachers create an environment that is both nurturing and educationally stimulating for the children. Teachers work together so that as children pass through the classes during their years at MDS, they build on their experiences in each classroom.
Two-year-old children at MDS learn to care for their own belongings and bodies, choose their own materials, participate in group activities like Circle Time and outdoor time, and engage in parallel and interactive play.
Children may begin attending without a parent or caregiver no sooner than their second birthdays. Though the school year begins in early September, families may enroll children who will turn two a little later in the fall.
The toddler classroom supports children and families' understanding of the school experience. Separation is at the forefront of the curriculum. This touch point in a child's development sets the foundation for all future learning and school experiences. Teachers work closely with families to ensure all children and families successfully navigate this pivotal time in each child's development.
Our toddler classes are made up of two-year-olds, with a maximum group size of twelve. (When appropriate, we place some “old twos,” those turning three in the fall, in a mixed-age class with “young threes.” These classes have a majority of three-year-olds and a maximum group size of fifteen.) Each class is led by a team of three teachers, exceeding the adult-to-child ratio requirements for an early childhood program.
Three-year-old children show the results of their tremendous two-year-old development; they become more agile, verbal, and social, and tend to enjoy engaging with younger or older children as well as age-mates. Fours and fives become leaders or big siblings in their classrooms and often show great interest in academic readiness skills (like science topics, letter sounds, number concepts).
The focus during this age is making concrete connections. This prepares children to understand abstract concepts. For example, before children are introduced to a lesson about Brazil, they are given a concrete understanding of their environment. This starts with a lesson about neighborhoods, boroughs, and cities that they experience every day. This is also reflected in literacy, math, science, and practical life lessons.
The primary classes have mixed-age groups (i.e., 3 to 5 years of age) following the Montessori model where young children learn from older ones and older children reinforce their learning by helping the younger children. In addition to our Montessori-focused curriculum.
As a four or 5-year-old in a mixed-age class at MDS, older children become leaders in their classroom environment. This is at the core of the success of the Montessori philosophy. 4 and 5-year-olds at MDS gain a real sense of being an active contributor to the learning process.
Children who have been at MDS for at least a year are already accustomed to their environment - they know their classmates and teachers. This allows us to focus their efforts more on learning during the Pre-K year than they might see in other programs.
The Pre-K curriculum is rich and dynamic. It builds on all prior knowledge and moves concrete knowledge to abstract. For example, a lesson on division moves from apple slicing to connecting the slices with numbers and building simple equations. This is also reflected in literacy, science, practical life skills, and global studies.
The Pre-K year at MDS culminates the entire preschool experience. Children move on not just prepared for kindergarten but with the foundation for ongoing success as learners and contributors
Our program includes Kindergarten as part of a multi-age classroom. In the Montessori tradition, five-year-old children who have aged up in program are in their "flowering year," when many of the concepts introduced at ages three and four seem to click.
Socially and emotionally, this is a time when children are better able to step into a big sister or brother role in the classroom. There are many individual reasons to consider keeping your child at MDS through age five before enrolling in another school. The additional exposure to the Montessori environment can be a boon. It can also give you the time you need to locate the best available elementary school match, whether public or private. Our teachers and Executive Director can help you determine what is best for your child. We are always here to help!