At the Yukon Montessori School we have two Casa (preschool age) classrooms, Borealis, led by Laurie Parker, and Aurora, co-led by Erin Schultz and Emily Paweska.
The Casa level is part of the same highly critical educational and emotional development period as the Toddler level, however within this period children transform themselves from the unconscious development of a toddler, to the conscious development of a preschooler. They continue to be firmly rooted in the concrete world; they thrive on exploration of the world with their senses and begin to make more challenging sensory observations.
In the Casa level, the children are given activities that are deliberately designed to have them experience abstract theories in concrete form. This is done so that as they move into higher levels of education, the children are well prepared to understand abstract theories found in math and the sciences.
Our Casa program is based on the key characteristics and needs of children ages 3 to 6 years, including:
- Eagerness to explore, with all the senses
- Search for independence
- Love of and sensitivity to language
- Need for order to establish security and independence
- Period of “the absorbent mind”
The Casa program first introduces the three-year age groupings that correspond to stages of child development, and are an integral feature of traditional Montessori education. During this period, the level of exploration explodes along with the child’s significant cognitive development.
In the Casa program, children engage in the Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Culture (including Science, Geography and History), and Math areas. They are consciously supported by Montessori-trained teachers who direct, guide, and carefully observe the child to be fully aware of his or her development. New material is introduced to the child as he or she is ready for it, and it is not unusual for children to leave the Casa level at the age of 6 with highly developed reading and writing skills, the ability to do simple math, and a thirst to move on to the elementary program.