Afternoon Montessori Program and Work Cycle
First and Second Year Children who stay past noon will continue the day beginning with lunch at noon. After lunch, children who take a nap will transition downstairs. All children in the nap room spend a minimum of thirty minutes on their cots as per state regulations. At 2:30, the lights come on so the teachers and children who are awake can prepare the environment and snack. Children are also invited to join their friends on the playground or the quiet activity room if the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities.
Snack is available at 3:15. Children are involved as much as possible in the preparation and serving of snack and during the growing season we include food from our own small gardens (see below). In the afternoon the playground and the downstairs classroom are open and the Montessori materials are available. Our goal is to provide a program which meets the needs of the children and continues the Montessori Method throughout the child’s day. The Grace and Courtesy lessons are the foundation of our Montessori classrooms continue in the afternoons as well as the teacher’s role of preparing the environment, guiding the children’s self-directed activities, and facilitating problem solving. Afternoon Montessori finishes at 5:00, when the children help the teachers to clean the classroom and prepare for the end of the day with a small group activity. All children at UMS are picked up by 5:25.
The 2016-17 school year is the first to have the Garden/Enrichment Program as part of the children’s day at UMS. This is a Montessori approach to enrichment opportunities. The students will participate in a vast array of enrichment activities: gardening, cooking, weaving, art, and more. Most of this program rotates around the garden, and sees the children participating in the upkeep of our garden beds throughout the year. As the children are given the opportunity to care for the garden, art lessons may be available – sketching the fruit that is ripe and ready to be picked, or a child may choose to work on a small loom, creating a pot holder while sitting by the garden. The aim is to allow children to choose their own enrichment activities, much as they choose their own work in their classrooms.