CASA PROGRAM (3.8 YEARS - 6 YEARS)
The Casa level is part of the same highly critical educational and emotional development period as the Toddler level, however within this period children transform themselves from the unconscious development of a toddler, to the conscious development of a preschooler (see Foundations of Learning). They continue to be firmly rooted in the concrete world; they thrive on exploration of the world with their senses and begin to make more challenging sensory observations.
In the Casa level, the children are given activities that are deliberately designed to have them experience abstract theories in concrete form. This is done so that as they move into higher levels of education, the children are well prepared to understand abstract theories found in math and the sciences.
The Casa program continues to be based on the key characteristics and needs of children ages 3 to 6 years, including:
Eagerness to explore, with all the senses
Search for independence
Love of and sensitivity to language
Need for order to establish security and independence
Period of “the absorbent mind”
The Casa program first introduces the three-year age groupings that correspond to stages of child development, and are an integral feature of traditional Montessori education. During this period, the level of exploration explodes along with the child’s significant cognitive development.
In the Casa program, children engage in the Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Culture (including Science, Geography and History), and Math areas. They are consciously supported by Montessori-trained teachers who direct, guide, and carefully observe the child to be fully aware of his or her development. New material is introduced to the child as he or she is ready for it, and it is not unusual for children to leave the Casa level at the age of 6 with highly developed reading and writing skills, the ability to do simple math, and a thirst to move on to the elementary program.
The Casa level also features programs in French and Music & Movement, including a variety of in-class and outdoor movement activities, a music program, and physical development with a trained physical education specialist. There is also a focus on the development of independence and respect, which are demonstrated inside and outside the classroom.