The foundation of The Summit’s Signature Enrichment Program in the Montessori School begins in the Early Enrichment classroom of 3 and 4-year-olds (Early) and continues into Kindergarten (Advanced) building on the math, language arts, cultural and other units prepared by teachers with master's degrees who are following the Montessori philosophy. Specially-trained Enrichment Specialists present in-depth exploration activities to these absorbent minds.
“Current brain research confirms that children who are exposed to advanced concepts, utilizing multiple methods of interaction and instruction, build neural pathways for future learning,” says Montessori Director Kathy Scott.
The children are introduced to the ground work; the basis on which future curriculum is presented such as the make-up of our world, animal classification, global and cultural awareness, human anatomy, ecological awareness utilizing an in-depth biome study, etc. Students are presented with opportunities to freely explore the materials that enhance instruction. In addition, utilizing both blended-learning and creativity, concepts are “created” while reinforcing the knowledge content. Children are introduced to the World Language curriculum by participating in French or Spanish class twice per week, each for half of the year. An introduction to both languages enables exposure before the Kindergarten year when the child is immersed in one language of choice for the entire year. This begins The Summit’s 13-year World Language experience in one language of study.
Early Enrichment activities:
• As a school with more than 1,000 students (18 months through grade 12), numerous resources are available and opportunities are given to share knowledge with others on our own campus.
• Books, art projects and hands-on maps aid in the study of animal classifications as well as other academic content.
• Parents in this multi-cultural environment are invited to visit the classroom to share presentations about their own international and/or cultural backgrounds as well content pertaining to recent travels to various regions of the world.
• In-depth biome studies occur on an annual rotation of deserts, rainforests, and oceans.
“Advanced Enrichment goes beyond what the children would normally do,” says Karen Koch, Advanced Enrichment Lead Teacher. “It’s extremely engaging because we go into even greater depth and offer exposure to a higher-level of thinking.” Children explore units of study including astronomy, animal classification, inventors, world geography, Native American history and art and music, all in materials-rich classrooms and on forays that take advantage of unique learning opportunities in the community. Throughout the year, active kindergarteners celebrate learning with special events such as The Summit’s traditional Native American Corn Festival, art presentations and theatre/stage performances including the Kindergarten Christmas Nativity Play, a traditional play performed annually since the early 1940s.
Advanced Enrichment Activities:
• Star Lab – The Summit’s own inflatable planetarium – illustrates circumpolar, winter and birthday constellations. Children create papier-mâché planets and put their language-arts lessons to work writing fictional stories about alien environments.
• Books, art projects and maps aid in the study of animal classifications in a unit which culminates in a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo.
• Parents in this multi-cultural environment visit the classroom to share stories about their homelands. Children earn stamps in their classroom “passports” by learning about countries and their flags.
• Using a step-by-step process tailored to this age group, budding young artists are taught how to recreate the works of Pablo Picasso, Horace Pippen, Frank Duveneck, Mary Cassatt, Van Gogh, and Charlie Harper. For more than 25 years, Summit kindergarteners have been creating their own art portfolios and continuing to wow the many docents at the Cincinnati Art Museum with their knowledge as they view the original masterpieces they have replicated.
• Through music and performance, children learn how instruments make sound. They venture out to see professional children’s theater performances, employ memorization techniques in a presentation on Native Americans and develop stage presence in their Christmas play.
• Half of the day is spent with peers of the same age, capturing the sensitive period of socialization during what Maria Montessori referred to as the 5-year-old mastery year.