Blue Valley is a private, bilingual, international school that offers a rigorous American curriculum, yet is rooted in local culture and includes a strong Spanish program.

Practical Life

The purpose of practical life exercises is to give the child the opportunity to learn how to break down jobs at hand into easily manageable components. They stimulate the development of conscious, controlled and functional knowledge of surrounding events. These exercises all require real tools: silverware, wood, glass etc.- all items that reflect and typify an actual home environment.

Early childhood brings the ideal opportunity to give learning tools to the child. Because of his or her young age, the child is willing to work and is receptive to instructions. They work for the simple joy of doing the task at hand, and that is why the teacher is an important catalyst that helps them appreciate the value and dignity in the work itself. The main areas in the practical life exercises involve grace and courtesy, care of the person, and care of the indoor environment.

As the child builds success upon success with small tasks, he or she is able to move and go on to bigger ones, feeling proud of mastering his or her environment. It is fascinating how children show attachment to this area; in general, this is the first area they visit at the beginning of the day

Sensorial

The sensorial materials are designed to aid the child in training and refining the five senses. They offer concrete examples of abstract concepts that foster the development of a mathematical mind. Children are exposed to concepts such as size, length, weight, texture, and color. They learn to recognize similarities and differences, to discriminate between similar objects, and they understand the diverse traits of objects. They learn to analyze, compare and classify. Students are challenged to make judgments about them. Each set of materials is used as carefully and precisely as possible to prepare the children to do their work accurately. Precision at this stage prepares for future work, for instance in geometry.

Language

Montessori children typically believe that they learned to read by themselves, as the environment is designed so that all activities feed naturally toward the development of reading skills. Thus, they experiment reading as part of the process of living. Maria Montessori’s trust in the child’s power and her concept of the child as an active, rather than receptive being, led her to approach reading in this natural way. She considered that the job of education was not to fill the child with reading techniques, but to leave the child free to explore self-expression and communication. Therefore, although reading, writing, spelling, and grammar are introduced to the child in an organized way, the presentation allows him or her to acquire reading skills without considering it a special effort.

Mathematics

At this level, Math focuses on the concept of number, quantities, shapes, measurements, and how they relate to one another. For example, children are introduced to sensorial impressions of numbers, the decimal system and its functions, and math operations (addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division). Using manipulative materials, the child explores these concepts physically, creating a basis for future, more abstract operations.

Cultural

The cultural area includes geography, science and the arts. The child learns about the difference between world cultures and our ever-changing environment. Geography is the study of the Earth, including its people, resources, climate, and physical features. Teaching Geography helps the child develop a clear sense of spatial orientation. By giving children sensory impressions of the Earth and showing them their own relationship to it, Montessori lessons help develop a foundation of global awareness. In addition, Geography lessons explore different world cultures. Through exposure to cultural traditions and lifestyles, Geography lessons allow the child to become aware of other cultures and develop respect them, which is critical in today’s global community.

The main purpose of the science area is to sharpen the child’s observation skills and extend the surrounding world through activities that involve biology and physics. The child explores basic concepts about the human body, plants, animals, eco-systems, and environmental care and preservation. He or she explores tasks that introduce them to learning about magnetism, optics (through the use of magnifying glasses), and simple machines.

In the Montessori environment, the art area is essential: the child has the opportunity to freely express his or her feelings and ideas and develop his or her creativity and sensitivity. It’s not the end product that’s important but the process he or she experiences while creating it. It is essential to allow the child to experiment and flow spontaneously, so he or she can discover, admire, and feel awe. The development of the artistic area brings countless intellectual, social, and emotional benefits to the child

Academic Circle

During academic circle students also have the opportunity to discuss science, geography or cultural units. Children sit in a circle and share their experiences, developing self-confidence by contributing relevant information about the subject being discussed. They are expected to wait for their turn and show respect for others’ opinions, allowing them to acquire necessary social skills. They begin to appreciate and engage in team work.

CURRICULAR COMPLEMENTARY ACTIVITIES

Montessori Garden

This program provides children with sensory and motor experiences outdoors. With the use of attractive materials such as water, soap, grains, sand, and watercolors the children will develop spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, and motor control. Moreover, during this period students have the opportunity to further share and develop social skills.

Enrichment

At Blue Valley, an enrichment program complements the Montessori philosophy by providing the opportunity for students to develop cooperative skills linking art, music, drama, and physical expression activities. Students have daily opportunities to explore different forms of expression through creativity and improvisation. Enrichment proposes the integration of subjects and artistic areas using English and music as the connecting elements. Enrichment further enhances internalizing soft skills.

Lit Corner

At Blue Valley literature is considered very important even at this early age. We provide students with a weekly literature experience in which they listen to a story or poem in English and respond with follow up activities. This helps students develop vocabulary, concentration, and memory skills important in knowledge acquisition. This area is the starting point for the literary process and an approach into the world of the arts. Students begin to enjoy children’s literature pleasurably by hearing stories and reciting poems.

Technology

At Blue Valley preschool level, technology is focused on empowering the student over the computer as a tool, essentially using Micro Worlds (Logo) software. This program encourages creativity and personal expression as opposed to those that dictate what the child has to do to test them later. Students work with the computer and learn to use technology to their advantage.

Physical Education

Montessori students at Blue Valley participate in physical education class three times a week where professionals in the field gradually work with them to develop and reinforce their gross-motor skills.

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Blue Valley School

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