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Pre-Casa Montessori Programme

pre-casa

 

A Foundation Built On Excellence


The Montessori philosophy and method of teaching fosters a loving, independent environment tailored to the individual needs and development of each student.

The Montessori approach is a student-centred and student-directed teaching method that is offered within a prepared environment, which fosters exploration, experimentation, creativity, and respect. Our Pre-Casa Montessori programme builds on the foundation of the Montessori Method with extremely popular enhancements and additional learning opportunities for our students in music, science, visual and dramatic arts, and more.

We are very proud of the strong reputation of our pre-school programme which has, for many years, provided children with a strong foundation in academic and life skills all within family-like and supportive classroom environments.

When comparing UMS with other schools, either public or private, parents may ask themselves what is the Pre-Casa Difference?

  • Academic Excellence: Our structured, traditional Montessori approach helps students at an early age to develop solid foundations in language and mathematics compared to play-based kindergarten class
  • Advanced Specialized Teaching: Pre-Casa students benefit from exposure to world-renowned teaching methods by our highly-trained Montessori teachers. In rotary, our teachers are specialized in their respective fields, giving them the ability to deliver our programmes effectively. For instance in French, teachers make use of the AIMS gesture program and in music, teachers use the Orff Approach.
  • Top of the Class Teaching Tools: Classes have been enriched with of instruction on iPads and Smart Board technology enabling our children to learn with 21st century resources
  • Parent Communication and Updates: Parents receive regular updates on their children’s development through individualized tracking sheets developed by our teachers
  • Yearly Program Innovation and Investments: UMS takes great pride in continuously improving and taking advantage of the newest approaches to education. We are one of the very few schools that have a full-time research and development department that allows us to follow education innovations around the world

 

Academics


Key Areas of learning in a UMS Montessori Classroom include:

Practical Life exercises are exercises of daily living which assist children to refine motor skills while providing opportunities to take care of themselves and their environment. Students acquire grace, courtesy, and control of movement while learning to work independently, develop concentration, and prepare for later grades and specific subject areas
Sensorial Exercises help children to enhance and refine sensory perceptions vital to developing minds, incorporating activities that distinguish between various shapes, sizes, colours, weights, and smells. All sensorial apparatus is sequential, building on earlier experiences and competencies and preparing children for later learning
Language programmes include the introduction to phonetic reading and writing skills. The children are immersed in a state of total reading, including grammar and syntax. Opportunities are provided for verbal and written self-expression. The language programme is integrated into all areas of classroom learning.  Unique to UMS, our students participate in the “Balanced Literacy” programme. Realizing that students need to use multiple strategies to become proficient readers (language learners), this programme provides and cultivates the skills of reading, writing, thinking, speaking, and listening for all students
 Mathematics programmes provide an excellent foundation and understanding of mathematical skills, always leading children from the concrete to the abstract. The Montessori mathematical materials offer sensorial and visual impressions of numbers 1 to 9999 and the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
 Cultural Studies, such as history, botany, biology, geography, anthropology, and the arts, introduce children to the world and its people through sensorial materials, language lessons, stories, and simple experiments

 

Programme Enhancements


We have significantly enhanced the Montessori programme of education by offering additional opportunities for learning in such areas as French, music, visual arts, technology and computers, library, and physical education.  Students participate in these enriching opportunities in small groups with same-aged peers. See the detailed information on our core program below:

Our music curriculum is designed to help students develop an understanding and appreciation of music, as well as practical skills, so they will be able to find in music a lifelong source of enjoyment and personal satisfaction. UMS practices the Orff Shulwerk approach to music, a child-centred way of learning music education in which a progressive development of musical skills and creativity, along with aesthetic awareness, is achieved through working with the elements of music found in speech patterns, songs, poetry, and movement. A heightened awareness of rhythm and melody is developed through playing a wide range of pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments. The Orff program provides a strong foundation and prepares the students for the vocal and instrumental programmes offered in our elementary program.

At UMS, we believe that focusing on the whole child is crucial; this means we must not just focus on developing the children’s minds, but their bodies as well. Regular physical exercise is essential to children’s overall health and development. We have, therefore, incorporated it into the school in ways other than formal physical education classes. During circle times in the classroom, students participate in songs and games that encourage movement, and twice daily students are allotted blocks of outdoor recess times. We offer specialized after school activities such as Music and Movement, Dance, Rhythmic Gymnastics, etc. providing additional opportunity for our Pre- Casa students to be physically active. As part of our enhanced curriculum, students participate in regular Physical education classes with our specialized teachers. These highly qualified teachers have incorporated the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA) curriculum into our school’s Physical Education programme. In physical education classes, not only do the students have the opportunity to be physically active while learning important skills, but they also work on developing self-esteem, learn about good sportsmanship, and develop positive exercise habits while having a great deal of fun! Through monthly themes, such as hockey, yoga, dance and creative movement, gymnastics, and ball skills, students develop spatial awareness and locomotion skills, stability, balance, ball skills (rolling, bouncing, kicking, throwing), safety skills, and they learn about how to work together as a team.

Students at UMS are progressively introduced to French vocabulary over their pre-Casa and Casa years to develop solid foundations for their future learning. Apart from learning simple conversational skills in French such as how to say hello, goodbye, how are you, I am fine, thank you, etc, students also learn vocabulary words such as the date, parts of the body, fruits, vegetables, and other foods, as well as colours, numbers, sizes, weather, parts of the house, the seasons, school related words, family members, methods of transportation, and clothing. Students are taught in a fun and interactive manner using stories, props, songs, actions, games, pictures, and activity sheets. UMS French teachers use a unique programme called AIM (Accelerative Integrated Method), which makes language accessible for different types of learners. The basic premise of this method is that students learn and remember better when they associate gestures with the words they are saying. AIM includes defined gestures for 700 essential French words. As this approach is also used in our Elementary programme, it allows our Casa students, entering grade one at UMS, a smooth transition into our grade one French programme.

Students in our Casa programme are given the opportunity to visit their school library once every six-day cycle. During the library class they are read a story, discuss the story, answer questions about it, and are then invited to borrow a book to take home and read with their families. Borrowing books they must care for and then return, helps children learn about responsibility and trustworthiness. We are pleased to be able to offer the students libraries stocked with many wonderful books to stir their senses, inspire their imagination, and spark a love of reading that will last a lifetime! We believe these classes are essential; reading skills lay the foundation for children’s successes inside, outside, and beyond school. Reading comprehension ensures understanding of written word and opens doors for future successes.

UMS offers students the opportunity to participate in a computer class to develop their computer and technology skills using different games, apps and activities. Initial teaching focuses on mouse control, following instructions, focusing, and sharing. Once in the Casa programme, students progress to learning the parts of the computer and how to operate it, becoming familiar with the keyboard and word processing, grouping and sequencing, responsibility and care of the computer and resources, and exploring the characteristics of multimedia. Students of all ages have the opportunity to work with ipads and a SMARTboard. Benefitting from the small class sizes, students have ample time to work directly with the computers. Consequently, as they progress through the curriculum, students are able to use increasingly advanced programmes, becoming familiar with the many different features and functions of the computer and software. Graduating Casa students then move on to build on their outstanding computer skills in our Elementary Building’s new state-of-the-art IMAC computer lab.

A very important element of our Casa programme is arts and crafts. While engaging in many creative activities, students develop their fine motor skills as well as important sensorial skills, such as colour recognition and learning about shapes, textures, and sizes. Our students also practice essential practical life skills, such as folding, cutting, and measuring.

As part of our Casa curriculum, students have the opportunity to participate in Show and Tell in their classrooms. By participating, students develop self-confidence, have fun being creative, discover interesting facts about a wide variety of topics, and learn more about their fellow classmates. They have the opportunity to do the following: Learn how to speak and listen Learn how to be an audience Learn how to introduce themselves Learn how to ask inquiry-based questions Learn how to make connections Learn how to anticipate and observe Learn how to practice critical reasoning skills Learn how to practice storytelling Learn how to distinguish between similarities and differences Learn how to use vocabulary Learn how to use descriptive language

UMS offers additional opportunities for enrichment in both the Casa and Elementary programmes through a variety of extra-curricular activities and clubs in such areas as the following: Art, Science, Drama, Math, Martial Arts, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Sports, Computers, Skating, Chess, Ballet, Photography, Choir, etc. For a complete list of current activities and clubs, please contact the school. (link to contact page)

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