Philosophy and Curriculum

 “We adults must see the real humanity in children, the humanity which will take our place one day, if we are to have social progress. Social progress means that the next generation is better than the one before.”   - Maria Montessori, The 1946 London Lectures

At Little Grove, we believe play is the work of childhood. Our program is designed to honor that sacred work.

Following the Montessori method, children develop focus and curiosity as they uncover knowledge through self-directed, hands-on work and collaborative play. During the Montessori work cycle, children are given ample periods of time to explore their works uninterrupted, allowing them to experience a deep focus and engagement. We nurture children's confidence, self-motivation, empathy, and love of learning within our classroom community.


Our classrooms are carefully prepared, with Montessori materials and activity choices arranged on low shelves throughout the room. Teachers present lessons one-on-one or in small groups. After a child has been given a lesson with a material, they are free to choose that material from the shelf and work with it whenever they like. 

The teacher’s work is to observe when a child is ready for the next step and to then give the next lesson. Over the course of two to three years in the Primary classroom, children progress from simple tasks such as buttoning and counting to complex reading, writing, math, and beyond.

Sensorial Learning

Children explore Montessori materials with all their senses, learning through direct hands-on experiences to differentiate sounds, textures, tastes, smells and colors. Children refine their judgment with these activities, while the skills of observation and differentiation they are learning set the foundation for later academics.


The classroom is a language-rich environment, with vocabulary building activities for even the youngest children. Children learn to identify sounds, trace letter shapes, and build words with hands-on materials. Reading and writing are a joy rather than a struggle.


Big numbers hold a thrill at this age and children work their way from counting from one to ten, to teens, hundreds, and thousands. They learn addition, subtraction, and even multiplication and division using concrete “manipulative” materials.

Social Development and Life Skills

Montessori education speaks of “Grace and Courtesy” as children learn to function in a group, taking turns, interacting peacefully, and working together. 

Students build practical life skills such as pouring, sweeping, and tying their shoes, as they care for themselves, the classroom, and their community. 

These activities hold deep interest and joy for children as they begin to find their way in the world of peers and adults.

Music and Art

Music, art, and culture are woven throughout classroom activities. As with all things in a Montessori classroom, lessons are presented at the level each child can understand and appreciate.

c 2019

What does a Montessori work cycle look like? View this video to see one child's Montessori Morning.

Discipline Philosophy

“This environment must provide a great deal of mental food and warm, loving treatment [...] If we give children the right environment and this warm care, we will see all their naughtiness disappear without any advice or the need to follow any examples.” - Maria Montessori, The 1946 London Lectures

We believe that when children’s needs are met within their environment, there is little need for “behavior management”.  Our educators prepare the classroom to meet children's needs, pique their curiosity, and hold their attention.  Children learn how to be a part of their community through Grace and Courtesy lessons. They are free to move about the classroom, and to select works which appeal to them, reducing boredom, restlessness, or resistance. The highly individualized and developmentally appropriate Montessori curriculum assures that each child is working at their own level, so that all children can feel successful and able to meet expectations. 

Our educators use Positive Discipline practices in the classroom, demonstrating mutual respect, effective communication, and problem-solving skills. We offer encouragement instead of praise or rewards, and focus on solutions rather than punishment.

When a child is in need of a quiet space to settle their mind or body, they may take time to calm down and re-connect in the Peace Center. Our educators assist children in working through conflicts with peers, and support social and emotional learning in developmentally appropriate ways. 

Our staff will participate in Nautilus Approach training with Public Montessori in Action International this summer. Like the Montessori method, this is a constructivist approach, which focuses on the whole human and aims to reconnect the child to their environment.

Little Grove Preschool does not use points systems, clip charts, time out, or other forms of punishment. With caring, engaged educators to guide them, we trust children to do well when they can.