How We Montessori…

"The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn."  -Dr. Montessori

During the first three years of life, the brain absorbs more information than at any other time. The years from three to six are also a time for major growth and development. Given the opportunity, guidance and a prepared, child-sized environment, young children are capable of developing a wide spectrum of skills .

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Since young children learn best by doing and by observing, we offer children ample opportunities for hands-on experiences with real-life materials that stimulate the senses. We provide our children with the materials and activities that allow them to develop and enhance skills in the following areas: cognitive development; sensory exploration; language and social development; practical life know-how; and gross and fine motor skills. The classrooms and play yards are thoughtfully prepared for each child to follow where their interests take them.

Play is the important work of the child in the Montessori environment. The children’s interests are valued and encouraged by the teachers. Teachers serve as important guides in the classroom, taking on the role of someone who inspires, demonstrates and facilitates, not lectures or directs. As our children’s interests change and grow, we adapt the classroom environments offer developmentally appropriate and challenging opportunities for learning. Montessori activities focus not on the teacher, but on the child and the materials.

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Little Tree Education Classrooms & Programs

Our Infants Program enrollment starts at six weeks of age.  We provide a loving environment as consistent as possible with that of the child’s home. As our infants develop into toddlers, we focus on the following areas to implement our philosophy:

  • Motor Development: use manipulatives to develop motor skills and increase dexterity, made of mostly natural materials.
  • Sensorial: practice of using all 5 senses promotes healthy brain development 
  • Language: develop communication skills with words, hand gestures, and American Sign Language
  • Practical Life: promote self care and independence. Some examples are: using utensils for eating, drinking out of cups rather than bottles, sitting at a table rather than a high chair, wiping up spills, washing hands and faces. 

Our Twos Program / Toddlers program includes children ~ 18 months - 3 years old.  In addition to the areas listed above in the Infants Program, we also practice the following activities in our Twos program:

  • Science: follow a monthly theme, usually coinciding with the season or month, to teach about the world
  • Math: Practice counting, recognizing shapes and spatial relationships, colors and numbers
  • Language: teach sounds of the alphabet, work on communication skills, teach the words used to describe objects in our environment using repetition 
  • Art: use to develop motor skills and promote creativity and independence

Our Primary Program starts around the age of 3 years and extends through PreK or Kindergarten.  In mixed-age, Montessori classrooms, the child’s "Absorbent Mind" is honored, celebrated and appropriately challenged through the materials and the classroom environment we have designed. In Primary, we concentrate on the following areas:

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  • Practical Life: use everyday items such as cutting boards, serving utensils, watering cans, sponges and soap; children perform the "humble tasks of daily living."  Through the various lessons and activities children develop a sense of order, concentration, confidence and independence.  The washing and cleaning lessons are some of the most popular, not only making our classroom beautiful, but developing the child's sense of personal pride and building the classroom community by working together.  Grace and courtesy are also taught naturally, capitalizing on opportunities to learn about respect for others and the environment.
  • Sensory & Music Enrichment: understand the information received from the environment to discriminate, appreciate and understand the world.
  • Art: use an art easel (vertical drawing/painting), exposure to real artists and inspirational works of art, freedom of total creative expression (we encourage our children to color outside the lines!), use of varied materials such as clay/dough, paints, chalk, colored pencils, scissors, sewing, weaving, & sensory elements.
  • Language Arts: learn phonetic sounds, phonetic reading and writing, phonograms and blends, which foster literacy skills in the later years. Children in this age group will also be exposed to multi-cultural linguistics.
  • Culture: explore geography (maps & photographs of the world’s different regions), gaining their first sense of history by starting to examine their own timeline from birth to present, dramatic play
  • Science: explore elements of Botany & Zoology by studying the biological aspects of the environment through hands-on activities to foster an appreciation for the delicate balance of nature
  • Math: use of concrete materials such as number rods, geometric building materials (spatial awareness), counting and sorting lessons where children develop one-to-one correspondence skills, fractions

*We also offer plenty of free play time, inside and outside. Because we want to let our children be children, we strive to offer a balance as well as a connection between education and play.* 

We're proud of the programming and environment that we provide at Little Tree. We have an open door policy for enrolled families so they can visit their children at any time during the day, and are welcome to visit. Family involvement is of high importance to us, we encourage communication and feedback from parents & guardians.  

Enrichment Programs

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  • Music with The Sonatina Center for Creative Arts Therapy - Marissa Scott visits Little Tree to sing, play guitar and to share interesting instruments with us. While listening to her acoustic guitar and joyful voice, the children develop important skills such as listening and responding, following directions, recognizing patterns and so much more.*
  • Violin Presentations - Melissa Waterhouse is an accomplished violinist and music instructor who shares our love of early education and fostering artistic expression. She visits our school to play violin for the children and share with them her love of music. During her visits the children learn about the violin, how it is used, and listen to her perform, giving the children exposure to a variety of musical genres.* 
  • Youth Yoga - Caitlin Clague from Youth Yoga, a certified yoga instructor for children, leads each classroom in a yoga practice several times a month. Through yoga we encourage the mind/body connection, a fit and healthy lifestyle, and promote an overall sense of well-being for children.*
  • Our Own Gardening - Classrooms participate in creating a “seed-to-table” community that incorporates growing plants, maintaining gardens, sensory exploration & cooking that is designed to allow children to have the opportunity to learn and discover the world around them.* 
  • TreeHouse Kids - EverProven CrossFit gym of Dover provides a year-round physical fitness program, designed specifically for children.  It is a fun and exciting way to learn the fundamentals of an active, healthy lifestyle through simple callisthenic exercises, athletic games and nutritional education.* 
  • Music with Mrs. Rachel - Mrs. Rachel visits our schools once per week, teaching various themes through song, dance and instrument play.  Mrs. Rachel provides the children with an interactive and engaging experience that reinforces the importance of early childhood music.^ 
  • Music Lingua with Miss Hannah - Miss Hannah uses music, movement, and story-telling to help our children learn the French language.  In addition to following along with Miss Hannah's songs, the children practice patience and self-control with props and controlled movements.^ 
  • Fun with Ukulele - Our own Miss Erin strums her ukulele and hosts sign-alongs with her beautiful voice in Madbury.  Miss Jo, retired preschool teacher, sings and strums her Ukulele each month for the Dover children.*
  • Inspired Art - Our own Miss Ashley creates art projects adapted for the different age groups, inspired by great artists.+
  • Story Times with Local Librarians - The Children's Librarians from Madbury & Dover, NH regularly visit our Primary classrooms for a special story time. Each month, they bring a collection of books on loan for the classrooms. From time to time, we are visited by guest readers who bring their own collection of books to share.*
  • Other Enrichment - Periodically throughout the year, we invite organizations and guests who are experts in their field to visit the school and share their knowledge with us, broadening our view of the world.

Key: ^ - Montana Only; * New Hampshire Only; + Madbury, NH Only