Children's House

This prepared environment is designed for children ages 3 to 6 years.

The Children's House is designed to integrate the four main areas of learning: Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, and Language. This carefully prepared and beautiful environment allows children to learn through exploration and to be guided by their inner motivation. Dr. Maria Montessori named it Casa dei Bambini, not 'the Children's School', but truly, 'the Children's Home.'

Prepared Environment: pathway to physical independence

The Children's House environment is warm, clean, orderly and beautiful. The materials and tools are particularly designed to bridge practice at home and at school. Children engage in activities that they see performed by the adults daily. These include caring for the self and the environment, and lead to a development of independence, coordination, joy of learning and concentration, all of which are essential qualities for life.

Practical Life: the foundation of independence

Practical Life activities enable the children to acquire the skills and competence to become contributing members of their community. There are four major areas of focus: Care of the self (eating, hand-washing, buttoning, etc.); Care of environment (washing, sweeping, polishing, dusting); Development of movement (walking, sitting, balancing, dancing); and Grace and Courtesy (serving, greeting, showing gratitude and respect for others). By engaging in activities that are meaningful, they become interested and personally invested. The intricate movements and multiple steps refine their motor skills and deepen their concentration. The children form their characters through refinement of movement, development of will, adaptation to the environment, concentration and independence.

Orange Juicing


Walking on the Line

Offering tea

Sensorial: ordering patterns and the senses

When the children enter Children's House, they have formed multiple sensory impressions from their experiences. Through exploring the Montessori sensorial materials, the children develop the ability to name and classify characteristics of the physical world by size, color, shape, form, sound, texture, taste, and smell. These sensory materials not only deepen the children's concentration and offer them an indirect preparation for handwriting, they also heighten the children's awareness of, and appreciation for, the complexity and intricacy of nature and of man-made objects.

Pink Tower

Color Box

Puzzle Map

Mathematics: from concrete to abstract

Through manipulating the carefully designed and progressively concrete math materials, children are able to visualize how numbers relate to quantity. They develop an understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts through the repeated use of the materials. Practicing with the building blocks of mathematics lays the foundation for abstract calculation.

Number Rods

Decimal System Material

Stamp Game

Language: the pillars of communication

In working with the comprehensive Montessori language materials, whether in English, Mandarin or Japanese (the Japanese Program is currently only offered on the San Mateo campus), the children absorb and use precise vocabulary related to all the activities in the environment, both their names and characteristics. This oral foundation prepares them for reading and writing, and undergirds art and logic. The children further develop awareness and the ability to express their thoughts and action through words; this self-aware practice, in turn, is the foundation for the high cognitive functions. These skills are naturally put into practice every day, through meaningful multicultural and multilingual interactions with the adults and peers.

I Spy Games

Sandpaper Letters

Moveable Alphabet


Moveable Characters

Sandpaper Stroke



Enrichment of Vocabulary

Sandpaper Hiragana

Classified Cards

A Typical Day

  • Morning activity period: The morning uninterrupted activity period begins when the child enters the environment. He chooses activities for which he has received prior lessons. Simultaneously, the adults offer individual or group lessons to children who are ready for the next level. Children help themselves to snacks as desired.
  • Lunch is a community event, an extension to Practical Life that involves table setting, serving the self and others as well as clean-up. An international menu incorporating natural ingredients prepared on site is served to reinforce nutritious food habits.
  • Lunch clean-up, nap preparation, and group singing, story, yoga, small movement games, outdoor activities, etc. happen next. Half-day dismissal is at 1:00 p.m. for children who do not need extended care.
  • Afternoon activity period: This is the second uninterrupted activity period in which small groups and individual advanced lessons are offered to older children; it is also a time for continuing practice.
  • 3:00 pm: dismissal †

† The extended day program is from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Many children sign up for extracurricular activities offered by the school after 3:00 pm. A list of extracurricular activities is included with enrollment packages.