Cycle 1 is a three year program for children aged three to six, incorporating three and four year old kindergarten, as well as Foundation (Prep). Our Montessori curriculum is the foundation of learning in Cycle 1, and incorporates the Australian Early Years Learning Framework, alongside the National Montessori Curriculum.
Children up to the age of six possess an ‘absorbent mind’, and research shows that they will learn more in this time that at any other equivalent period throughout life. Maria Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods, when they are attracted to particular stimuli in the environment, enabling them to easily acquire knowledge and skills. Today researchers identify these as windows of opportunity which occur universally for all children of a similar age.
Our Montessori environment in Cycle 1 is specifically designed to support the optimal development at this critical time. Individual learning is enhanced by the presence of two Montessori trained early learning teachers, who are expert in encouraging independent exploration and discovery with the use of Montessori materials. They enhance and encourage a natural way of learning.
There are five main areas of learning in the Cycle 1 environment:
Children are engaged in learning and experiencing the practical tasks of every day life. This enables them to experience doing things themselves, with the teacher there to help if needed, but not to interfere your child’s efforts at independence. Practical Life learning withing Cycle 1 encompasses four main areas – care of person (buttoning, tying etc); care of environment (cleaning, gardening etc); development of social relations (greeting, serving, accepting, thanking etc) and control of movement (balancing, jumping etc).
All of these activities form the basis for many necessary skills in later work, and along the way your child will naturally acquire the essential skills to participate in day to day living.
Children live in a world of senses – colour, size, dimension, shape, form, sound, touch, taste and smell. Our sensorial activities aim to develop an orderly mind, and help your child to classify and order the many impressions they receive in the world around them, which in turn assists them to build meaning out of their experiences. Using a variety of Montessori materials, your child explores their sensorial environment in a way that form the basis for many mathematical, pre-reading and pre-writing skills.
Our School tours are perfect to learn more about Cycle 1
Spoken language is the foundation of literacy within our Cycle 1 environment. It begins with enabling your child to develop listening and verbal skills. As your child absorbs the foundation of language, they are gradually introduced to pre-reading, reading, writing and further literacy skills to build on what they already know. True to Montessori’s teachings, we introduce writing to your child before reading, so that they can experience and feel the distinct shape of each letter, and develop their fine motor skills. When your child knows what they have written, they naturally discover they can read their own words. The learning is fluid and natural, driven by your child, and supported by their teacher.
Mathematics is a way of looking at the world, and provides a language for understanding and expressing measurable relationships. Within our Montessori curriculum we begin with the natural capacity your child has for reasoning, calculation and estimation, and provide them with sensorial activities to help them to understand the distinctions of distance, dimension, similarity and sequence. Our Montessori materials build on each other, increasing in complexity so that your child can move naturally from concrete understanding – such as the concept of 0-9 on which the numerical system is based, and the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) – to more abstract mathematic principles such as space (geometry), measurement, and chance. The progression is natural and driven by your child, as they discover these concepts for themselves, supported along the way by their teacher and peers.
Our Montessori curriculum provides the ‘big picture’ with the opportunity for student led exploration into more detail in subjects such as Geography, Botany, History, Zoology and Science. All cycle 1 children are also introduced to our specialist programs in music, art and PMP (Perceptual Motor Program).
At North-Eastern we nurture the individual needs of each child in our carefully prepared environment, with an emphasis on independence and freedom of choice (movement, speech, work, friendships), within the boundaries provided by our highly experienced staff. Creativity is fostered by providing your child with diverse opportunities for them to develop concepts and abstractions about the real world, and then experience them in a hands on way.
Children begin in Cycle 1 at three years of age, for two years of Pre-Primary experiences. They finish their time in Cycle 1 in their Foundation (Prep) year, where they are well into their journey of writing, reading and numbers, and are mentors to the younger children.
If you are interested in learning more about the Cycle 1 program, and how we support your child in their learning, we recommend you join one of our school tours.