Children’s House Areas of Study


Can you see your child safely, purposefully, and effectively handling a real hammer? Needles and thread? A kitchen knife? Can you see him patiently waiting his turn? Respectfully stepping around a classmate’s work mat? Quietly and intently observing a lesson with his hands folded behind his back? At MSR, you will. As he develops increasing coordination and self-awareness, he learns to take on greater and greater responsibility—for his actions, his environment, and himself.


Having mastered the fundamentals of sensory observation and eye-hand coordination, your child moves on to more complex and nuanced sensorial materials that help her discriminate, compare, problem-solve, and draw conclusions. Touch Tablets help her define the subtle differences between surfaces (even with her eyes closed). Using Color Boxes, she distinguishes between primary and secondary colors, different shades, and different grades of color. Smelling Bottles and tasting activities further develop her palette (More salt? More sugar? More spice?). Each new experience expands her ability to interpret the world around her as she adds depth and breadth to the bodies of knowledge she’s forming.


Basic logical reasoning, the foundation of genuine mathematical learning and critical thought, begins with the senses. Your child is literally making sense of things in Children’s House. Still closely tied to sensorial learning, she’s getting her arms around spatial awareness, putting her finger on number values and quantities, developing an eye for scale, multiplication, angle, and fit. She works through foundational lessons, using the Pink Tower, Golden Beads, Knob Cylinders, Geometry Cabinet, Binomial Cube, and other classic Montessori materials widely known for their simple sophistication and effectiveness in preparation for future lessons in abstract math.


In three years of dramatic growth, your child progresses methodically and coherently from pre-reading and -writing to authoring (in cursive!) and illustrating her own stories, asking meaningful questions, reading aloud to others, and alphabetizing words. As in all of Early Learning, we begin with the concrete and sensorial (e.g. tracing Sandpaper Letters and manipulating the Movable Alphabet before creating words with pencil and paper). And all lessons are learned in the context of real stories about the real world—timelines and stories that help your child begin to see himself within the grander scheme of human life and history.


Your child continues to explore Spanish once a week for 30 minutes, using many of the same methods and activities. Now, however, he’s building whole categories of vocabulary and expressions: greetings, commands, colors, fruits, farm animals, parts of the body, months of the year, and more.


In Children’s House, your child begins the explicit study of the life, physical, and earth sciences through concrete explorations. She classifies and categorizes all manner of living and nonliving systems—types of leaves, species of fish, the parts of a fish, life cycles, seasonal cycles, and more. She experiments with physical properties to discover for herself the natural laws of water, air, sound, light, magnets, electricity, simple machines, and chemical reactions. And these lessons are integrated with Humanities, Practical Life, Sensorial, and Language studies in ways that help children relate and develop awe for the intricacy and interdependence of life and the nature of our world.


Through PE activities, your child learns how to move purposefully (to achieve his goals), responsibly (with respect to others and his own safety), and even gracefully (developing poise and self-possession). As an older child gives a presentation or performance, his physical composure is part of the success encouraged by his teacher. Learning healthy self-management also includes making time for rest and play (indoors and out), caring for his personal hygiene, choosing healthy foods, managing his feelings responsibly, and expressing them clearly. Extended Day students receive an additional two PE classes a week of 45 minutes each.


Using sensory materials like the Montessori Bells, your child receives a remarkably sophisticated introduction to musical theory and practice. He plays up and down the bells to make sure they’re in the right order and familiarize his ear with the diatonic scale. He learns to identify different pitches—high, higher, highest and low, lower, lowest—and name them by note—c, d, e, f, g, a, b, c. He begins making not merely sounds but music with rhythm instruments. He also learns how to express musical ideas through movement—connecting physical expression to sound—and to give musical performances.


Your child continues to develop mastery of art materials and tools, receiving lessons now in lines and shapes, color, watercolor, printmaking, weaving, sculpture, and other art forms. Beyond making unselfconscious works of art, she practices purposeful self-expression and creativity. Extended Day students receive an additional 60 minutes of art per week.