Sunset Hills Montessori School

Reston Pre-School and Private Elementary 20th Anniversary. Sunset Hills Montessori School is nestled in the woods of Reston, on the edges of Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau. We provide a peaceful school setting for children ages 18 months to 3rd grade.

                      Photo Credit:   Paperkite Photography, LLC.

                      Photo Credit:  Paperkite Photography, LLC.

The Pre-Primary program is designed for children 18 months to 3 years of age. One class meets 3-days per week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) from 8:45 - 1:00 and one class meets 5-days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) from 8:45 - 1:00.

The benefits of enrolling your child in our Pre-Primary program are many. As Dr. Montessori observed, children in this age group are in a “sensitive period” for the development of independence, movement, and language. Designed specifically to meet the needs of toddler age children, the class provides the opportunity to develop positive school and group behaviors, overcome separation fears, and explore their burgeoning desire for independence.

We believe that this program offers an exceptional opportunity for parents to introduce their children to the Montessori method of learning, one in which the needs and development of each individual child is the central focus of the class.  

Classroom Environment
The children in the Pre-Primary are in their own enclosed, serene environment, including their classroom, play yard and bathrooms. All of the materials and activities are chosen specifically for this age group, and chosen to guide the children through the beginning phases of Montessori education.

There will be an emphasis on the careful use of the materials, appropriate choices and respect for the work and feelings of the others in the class. With a 1 to 5 teacher – child ratio the Pre-primary classroom allows the development of independence, concentration, and pride in one’s work, and prepares the younger child for the transition to the Primary classes.

                                                                                  Photo Credit:   Paperkite Photography, LLC.

                                                                                  Photo Credit:  Paperkite Photography, LLC.

Typical Day
When the children arrive at school, they will be greeted and brought directly into their classroom. Each child will have a place to hang his coat, backpack, and lunch. After changing into slippers, they will enter and gather with their friends for a short morning circle. After circle the children will begin work time. It is at this time, the children will be able to choosework from the materials on the shelves and in the room, or be invited to lessons with the teacher. These lessons are designed to introduce new work, or reinforce previous lessons. This allows the teacher to individualize the child’s path through the room, and continue to present new materials as each child is ready. After work-time, the children will clean their room, and return to circle for snack time. Our snack time together will also be a time to share in group conversation, and practice the skills of listening and taking turns. Following snack, there will be music, stories, or special activities. Then children spend time outside on the play yard, while the room is prepared for lunch. Once the children have finished lunch they will enjoy another recess on the play yard, and prepare for dismissal.

Twice during the morning there will be scheduled bathroom breaks, for all the children. The bathrooms will always be accessible to the children who are already independent. We will work with the parents to actively encourage and help any potty training. Those still in diapers are changed as needed.

The Pre-Primary classroom offers the young child a curriculum designed for their needs and sensitive periods. The areas in the classroom include practical life, sensorial, language, math, art and Music Together taught once per week The practical life curriculum fosters independence and fine motor control while the sensorial areahelps the child recognize and categorize according to size, shape, and color. There is an emphasis on beginning language skills in all areas of the class but we also introduce the sounds and formation of the sandpaper letters and the identification of beginning sounds in words. in the Math area, the approach is to recognize, sequence and match the symbols to quantities. The classroom provides many opportunities to develop gross motor skills, with balance beams, and a variety of manipulative materials to climb, jump onto, toss, and roll. The art area is set up for daily exploration of painting, cutting, and designing as well as seasonal projects throughout the year. These activities will be introduced with a special emphasis on using and seeing the beauty in natural materials.