three-year cycle
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The Three-Year Montessori Cycle

In Montessori education, the three-year cycle is a key feature of the preschool program. It refers to the multi-age grouping of children in a classroom for three years, typically spanning ages 3-6.

During this three-year cycle, children are grouped into a single classroom with a trained Montessori teacher who guides their learning and development. The idea behind multi-age grouping is that it allows children to learn at their own pace and work on tasks that are appropriate for their abilities while observing and learning from their peers. The other idea is that the Montessori classroom is curated to reflect our society. 

According to HMP Lead Guide, Anki Williams it is key to support social development within our prepared environment as we are giving the child the aids to life. “Societal life is social, cooperative and engaging. It is our responsibility to support and give the child meaningful skills so that they can become a helpful, respectful, loving member of society” Anki explains.

Hatfield Montessori Preschool is committed to providing a supportive and nurturing environment that helps children to complete the full three-year Montessori cycle.

Year One

In the first year of the cycle, the focus is on establishing a strong foundation of social and emotional skills. The teacher helps children learn how to work in a group setting, share materials, and engage in respectful communication with their classmates. The children are also introduced to the Montessori materials, which are designed to facilitate self-directed learning and exploration.

The first year is a year of observation for the little one. As they learn to communicate respectfully you might notice a little one observing an older child’s work. Anki shares, “The child absorbs the older child’s movements and processes as they observe. The practice of respecting another child’s work as you quietly observe is an important social skill, as you are caring for another person by not disturbing them. They become inspired and intrigued by their older role-models”. 

These skills are essential for success in any academic setting, as they help children build positive relationships with peers and adults and establish a strong sense of self-confidence and self-awareness.

Year Two

In the second year, children begin to take on more complex tasks and work with the materials in greater depth. They build upon the skills they learned in the first year and begin to develop a deeper understanding of concepts such as maths, language, and science.

In the second year, children build upon the foundation established in the first year and begin to develop more advanced cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. These skills are also essential for success in any academic setting, as they help children to process information and make connections between different concepts.

Year Three

In the third year, children become the leaders of the classroom. They help guide younger children, reinforce their knowledge by teaching others, and take on more responsibility for their own learning. They also prepare for the transition to primary school by further developing their skills in areas such as reading, writing, and maths.

Children take on leadership roles within the classroom and further develop their academic skills in preparation for the transition to primary school. They also continue to develop their social and emotional skills, becoming more self-aware and better able to communicate and collaborate with others. 

An example from class is when a 3-year-old was paired with a 5-year-old to work on the Pink Tower together, Anki says.  “The 5-year-old took the initiative to instruct the child when and where to roll out the mat, how to carry the pink cubes and in which order to place the cubes. The 5-year-old had done the tower many times but he was learning something new this time round. It offered a space for the older child to build their initiative by sharing out roles for the younger child and themselves. This builds independence and confidence for the older child and for the younger child, this builds social skills and co-operative work”.

The three-year cycle in a Montessori preschool provides children with a stable and consistent learning environment, allows them to work at their own pace, and fosters a strong sense of community and collaboration within the classroom. It also helps to ensure that children receive a well-rounded education that focuses on social, emotional, and academic development.

By completing the full three-year cycle in a Montessori preschool, children are well-prepared for the demands of primary school and beyond. They have a strong foundation in both academic and social-emotional skills, which can help them thrive in any learning environment. Additionally, they are more likely to have a love of learning and a strong sense of curiosity, which can serve them well throughout their academic and personal lives.

Reach out to us to learn more.


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