Chai Tots' academic approach is based on an Integrated Montessori Curriculum.
The bulk of the curriculum is comprised of the traditional Montessori areas of study, however we have added to this by incorporating Jewish traditions, Hebrew language, group activities and cooperative play. Both languages are available for the child to learn (based on their level and desire).
Throughout the day, children are engaged in the following activities:
We gather together at circle time to greet all our classmates. Our goal is to become a school family as we “check in” with one another. We begin early math readiness skills through our discussions about the day, month and year during calendar time.
SHOW AND TELL/SHARING:
The children are assigned a day each week for the entire school year. They are encouraged to bring an item from home or something special they have made to share with the class. The teacher or students will ask questions about their selection. It is through show and tell that children acquire expanded language skills and the class, as a whole, gains valuable listening skills as well. Your child will also begin to build self-confidence and self-esteem as they share their unique selections.
Play is a vehicle of growth for the young child. During free play, children learn to interact with each other and play cooperatively. Playtime affords a child the opportunity to share, think and to problem solve. Play is hard work for the 3, 4 and 5 year olds. A variety of toys in the classroom encourages children to use their wonderful imaginations and build upon their creative, dramatic play while developing their gross and fine motor skills.
Our students participate in outdoor and indoor activities. Children are provided constant opportunities to develop their gross and fine motor skills, to develop finger strength and dexterity, and hand-eye and body coordination. Several of the games we play involve working as a team. We use scooters, balls, t-ball stands, field hockey sticks and a variety of relay races to facilitate these goals. Our Montessori class also participates in movement classes that are designed to augment the physical education program. The children learn rhythm, dance, stretching and aerobics.
MUSIC AND RHYTHMS:
Music is the universal language in our classrooms! Our classrooms are equipped with musical instruments and opportunities for children to explore rhythm and song. The Early Childhood music selection includes CDs of popular children’s songs, classical music, modern pop, show tunes, instrumental, Hebrew and holiday music. The children often participate in a parade using rhythm instruments as we march through the hallways, community hall, gym and throughout our school! Your child will learn several songs during the course of the year and participate on stage.
ARTS AND CRAFTS:
The children will have an opportunity to explore their creativity using a variety of art media. Paints (including tempera, watercolors and biocolors), markers, crayons, colored pencils, tape, glue, scissors, glitter and felt are a few of the myriad of materials the children will experiment with in the classroom. It is important to remember that it is the process not the finished product that matters! We want your child to feel proud of their creations!
Our goal is to comfortably expose children to modern, oral Hebrew language. They will hear and learn Hebrew words relating to the seasons, Jewish holidays and units discussed in their classroom. Hebrew songs and games are incorporated into lessons. Students will also have hands-on experiences learning about Jewish values, and the customs associated with Shabbat and all the Jewish holidays.
Preparing and celebrating Shabbat is a special time for our children. They welcome Shabbat by singing the blessings over the candles, reciting the Kiddush-blessing over the wine (grape juice) and singing the Motzee-prayer for eating bread over the Challah. Every child will have an opportunity to be a Shabbat host/hostess and bring a Kosher treat for the entire class.
All classrooms are equipped with iPads loaded with age-appropriate educational software for learning and exploration during choice time. Technology is not taught in isolation but rather as incorporated activities within the classroom. Students learn to follow directions, match objects and are introduced to beginning reading and math readiness skills.
+ Practical Life
The child is attracted to activities that give him independence and control of his own life. One of the most important needs of a young child is to develop his muscles and coordinate his movements. This need is addressed through practical life exercises such as sweeping, polishing, carrying and pouring water, and other common activities. Special materials enable the child to practice tying, buttoning, snapping, and the use of many other fastening devices. The purpose of these exercises is to develop concentration, the ability to pay attention to details as the child follows a regular sequence of actions and learns good working habits. These activities provide the very foundation on which the child approaches more intricate academic exercises.
Sensorial materials in the classroom are designed to sharpen the senses of the young child and enable the child to understand the many impressions he receives through them. Each of the sensorial materials isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, or smell. The sensorial materials help the child to distinguish, categorize, and relate new information to what he already knows.
The child begins reading when he is ready and proceeds at his own pace. His experiences in Practical Life and Sensorial education serve as a preparation for this. With cut-out letters, the child builds his own words on a mat. The materials free him from the fatigue of his still developing writing skills, and yet still gives him the opportunity to pursue his interest in words. These activities serve as a preparation for the time when the child assimilates what he knows and begins writing.
The materials for mathematics introduce the concept of quantity and its symbols, the numbers 0 through 9. The quantity is introduced by a series of rods which the child can count and compare. He matches sets of symbol cards with the rods. Using a variety of beads and symbol cards, the child becomes familiar with the numbers as a decimal system, including concrete experiences with the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These exercises not only teach the child to calculate, but they provide a deep understanding of how numbers function.
From Toddlers right through Preschool, Chai Tots students engage in scientific exploration in hands-on and rewarding ways. All of our students learn to care for the plants in our school and our botany studies are enhanced by field trips where the students plant carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, and lots of other yummy treats. They track the growth of the vegetables and love to pick them when they are ripe and share them with their families
In school, the students watch how seeds grow and roots form, and then write and illustrate their own books charting their growth. The students learn to name the parts of plants, flowers, and leaves and particularly enjoy learning about the classification and habitats of a myriad of animals.
They learn to make predictions and organize their thoughts by doing fun experiments involving freezing water and melting ice, figuring out what floats and what sinks, and much more.
Our exciting science-related field trips include visits to museums, farms and apple picking.
+ Art & Music
Art and music are a part of every day at Chai Tots. Our classes are regularly filled with the sound of singing and the children take pride in the many creative art projects they produce. Our art corner is a favorite area for our budding artists and students often enjoy working on tasks over a few days. Every week our Preschool students create art projects related to the Parshah of the week and learn to appreciate the stories of the Torah in the fun and hands-on way.
Creativity abounds during our holiday celebrations where students perform dramatic skits, sing songs, and have a chance to show off the props and costumes they had a hand in making.
Rhythm and music feature strongly in our Preschool program and are a continued focus in all our classes.
+ Jewish Studies
+ Special Events
Families will be invited to help share in our celebrations throughout the year, including birthdays. A special birthday circle time and activity is planned for each child and the birthday child’s parents are invited to join us. The whole class will prepare the food to be served at the birthday. If you would like to bring snacks to school for your child’s birthday celebration, please contact Rochel Kalmanson to find out where kosher snacks/products with reliable kosher certification can be purchased in Mason. If you would like to donate a book or work to the classroom in honor of this special day please contact us. A sticker with your child’s name will be placed in each donated book. A small frame will be placed next to each donated work saying by whom and for what it was donated.
More information coming coming Soon...
In accordance with the Montessori Method, all classes at Chai Tots have a mixed age group: from ages 1.5-2 in the Toddler, and ages 3-6 in the Preschool. This natural mixture of ages allows the younger students to look up to the older students as role models and in turn helps the older students build confidence and self-esteem as they assume their roles as leaders in the class.
The Toddler and Preschool classrooms are divided into subject areas and each area contains material of various degrees of complexity. In a Montessori class students are able to progress at their own pace allowing children at different developmental stages to thrive within the same learning environment.
In all of our classes we also incorporate non-Montessori elements including group learning (such as circle time in the younger years and teacher-directed group presentations or discussions in the older years), communal eating, and dramatic play.
Our curriculum is tailored to the needs of each child and helps foster students who are active, engaged learners.
To learn more about the Montessori Method, visit the Association Montessori International UK website or the North American Montessori Teachers' Association Website.
Our comprehensive and developmentally appropriate program is designed to promote each child's intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth. All games and activities are skill-based and goal oriented, so that the children grow with everything that they do.
The curriculum at our school is based on age-appropriate developmentally accepted practice. The classroom set up is comprised of learning centers which include blocks, art, dramatic play, books, manipulatives and scientific discovery. These centers allow the children to have choices and to actively explore. They learn by interacting with their peers, teachers and the varying things in their environment. Each center has a specific aim and with the teacher's guidance, helps the children's emotional, cognitive and physical growth.
The daily schedule is planned to include active and quiet times, gross and fine motor activities and child-initiated as well as staff-initiated activities. Outdoor (weather permitting) or indoor play is scheduled each day.
Planning for the classroom involves consideration to the age appropriateness for the group and individual aptness for each child. Being cognizant that every child learns differently, we use various mediums to teach each lesson. Children's interests are explored through inquiry and research methods.
Assessment is also as important part of the curriculum. A portfolio for each child contains developmental checklists, work samples and anecdotal records. We endeavor to make sure that children reach their individual potential.
We integrate an emergent curriculum approach into a thematic approach to create a synthesis of programs including the best guided and individualized educational opportunities.
We encourage the children to develop self-motivation, active investigational skills through questioning, exploring and observing, and the thinking and problem solving abilities needed to thrive in a world of challenge and competition. Children are surrounded with books, literacy experiences and exposure to the alphabet to prepare them for pre-reading and the reading that follows.
We encourage each child to work and play with others, to develop language communication skills, to respect the rights and privacy of their peers and most of all to develop feelings of kindness, courtesy, helpfulness and acceptance.
Children are provided constant opportunities to develop their gross and fine motor skills, to develop finger strength and dexterity, and arm-eye and body coordination.
Children are encouraged to develop personal responsibility, a positive self-concept, and understand the difference between right and wrong. They are encouraged to recognize that people are different and to be accepting of others and we help them learn and practice appropriate ways to respond to others and to express their feelings constructively.
+ Integrating Tradition and Jewish Pride
Lesson plans at The Chai Tots Early Childhood Center are built around the events influencing the children at the time that they are being taught. Weather changes, special animal habits, national celebrations and holiday seasons all determine what will be brought into the classroom at any particular time of year. All these are laced into the general curriculum to allow the children to learn from what is going on around them.
During the season of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, when it is traditional to dip apples into honey and blow the shofar (a ram's horn), we take the opportunity to make the holiday a scientific experience! The children learn all about apples, honeybees and how they make honey and about the different kinds of animals with antlers. During Chanukah, when it is traditional to light a Menorah in the home, the children learn about fire safety, firefighters and how they help our communities. This is the pattern that follows our curriculum throughout the year and provides the children with experiences that give them pride in their tradition!