Cultural Studies

The Goal: Understanding and Enjoying the Wondrous World We Live In

At LePort, we help our students acquire the essential knowledge, thinking skills, and strength of character required to flourish as joyous children today, and as successful adults tomorrow. We want to equip them with a wealth of knowledge that enables them to understand and delight in both the wondrous world around them, and their personal identity within.

The Cultural Subjects in our Montessori preschool classrooms provide our students with a first exposure to the many areas of knowledge they will encounter later on – and enable them to acquire an early interest in learning about the world, its natural wonders, its people, history and culture, its music and art.

Historically, many of mankind’s greatest thinkers were travelers. Through their travels, they acquired a deep interest in people and societies, in landforms and physical materials. This knowledge, gathered through experience, formed the foundation for their later work in history, science, literature, business. So it is with the LePort student. The Montessori cultural studies offer each preschool child the opportunity to “travel” and explore the world from within the classroom, and to thereby acquire the knowledge base that will inform, motivate, and ground the systematic studies they will pursue in elementary school and beyond.

What and How We Teach

Science, Social Studies, Geography, Music & Art

montessori preschool in orange countyCultural Studies in our preschool classrooms encompass a broad range of materials and experiences: they are the young child’s introduction to exploring and experiencing the world in his classroom.

 Geography. The geography materials systematically introduce children to the physical features of our world. They include maps of all kinds: different globes, a flat puzzle map of the world, puzzle maps of each continent, and a puzzle map of the United States. With these map materials, and related activities (such as “punching out” the maps with a push pin, then gluing them together to make maps), our students learn the names of continents and countries – at a time when their brains are able to remember facts and vocabulary much more readily than later on, in upper elementary, when the systematic study of geography is often introduced in other schools. Our students also learn scientific vocabulary of geography – such as landforms (peninsula, island) and water forms (bay, delta, lake).

Science. Our preschool science program focuses on three areas: training the children in careful observation of the properties of physical things, building a foundation of skills – such as pouring water, using droppers, measuring length and volume – needed for later science work, and developing the child’s scientific vocabulary. Many of these skills are integrated into the other areas of our classrooms. For example, much of the Sensorial exercises focus on observing carefully and classifying things; many practical life activities, such as pouring and measuring liquids, teach skills needed for scientific work.

The child learns scientific vocabulary with specific materials – from puzzles that show parts of an animal, say, a frog, to the Botany Cabinet, to the Three Part Cards. The first part of this set of cards shows a picture, the second, a label, and the third card is the control card, combining the picture and the label. A child who can read matches a picture with a label – for example, the picture card with the petals of a flower highlighted, with the label card that says “corolla.” Once he has matched all the picture and label cards, he checks his work with the control cards, and then corrects any mistakes he has made.

montessori preschoolMusic. In our classrooms, children have the opportunity to learn music in many different ways: singing, auditory (listening), and eurhythmics (movement); ear training using the Montessori Bells and Orff Instruments; basic introduction to instruments, music theory and composition; and the exploration of the role of music in history and literature. We start the introduction of music with singing, the most natural way to enjoy and appreciate music. We select music that is in the voice range of children, and incorporate movement into our songs. Throughout, we choose from a broad range of genres, from folk and popular music to traditional children’s song; from classical to contemporary composers. As the children sing and move to the music, as they listen to it played during the work periods, they learn to recognize a variety of musical styles and become familiar with the power of this universal language.

Art. Art is integrated throughout our classrooms: there is no clash between academics and creativity. Our students learn key art skills – such as using scissors, gluing, holding a pencil properly, coloring between lines – all while exploring the process of creating something beautiful from beginning to end. In addition to their own creations, the children also have an opportunity to be inspired by great artists through special Montessori art materials and through the art on the walls of our classrooms. By creating and appreciating artworks, children discover that the power of art is one of the greatest gifts that life has to offer.

What We Deliver

An Appreciation For and Joy In Discovering the Many Wondrous Things in the World

By being exposed to a wide range of experience in our classrooms in an enjoyable, no-pressure, child-led environment, we sow the seeds from which future curiosity and learning can grow. We enable our students, at a time when their minds are able to learn with ease, to acquire a broad range of experiences and vocabulary, laying the foundation for future studies in science, history, geography and literature. Most importantly, our students experience the joy of learning – about the physical world, about people and their unique cultures, and about the pleasures of art and music.

LePort teachers are creative about making the things their students work on easy to retain—and therefore easy to apply to their lives. For example, Ms. Magistrado has taught her students many catchy songs throughout the year. My daughter remembers them well, and they’ve proven to be an unexpected source of new interests for her. It all began with the song about the “Northern Border of the United States” — by now Cailey (a five-year-old) knows all the states, their locations, and their capitals. Her current application of this knowledge is, while we drive, to watch out for license plates from other states. She is practically obsessed with the 8 planets and poor Pluto’s demotion to a “rocky, icy world that we appreciate.” We read books about each planet at her request and do much pretend play where each of us ‘is’ a planet.”

C.L., LePort Parent, Mission Viejo

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