Classrooms for children ages 2.5–6 years old
The Primary Montessori program, which serves children ages 2.5–6 years old, is where Dr. Maria Montessori began her work in education, and is the foundation of the Montessori educational philosophy. In this developmental stage, children are drawn to order and beauty. They have an innate desire to learn and refine skills, to develop relationships and contribute to their community, and to gain a deeper understanding of the world in which they live.
At Sundborn Children’s House and in Primary Montessori communities around the world, children can be found playing and exploring outdoors, tending to gardens, writing stories, learning various mathematic concepts, and working on practical life tasks such as washing dishes, tying their shoes, and sewing buttons. Montessori education places a great deal of value on caring for and educating the whole child, and offers plenty of opportunities for mental and physical wellness and development of real-life skills in addition to academic learning.
Sundborn recently grew to two Primary classrooms, and we are very intentional about being one community. All staff and students are familiar with each other and children regularly interact with everyone during outdoor play, special gatherings, and birthday and holiday celebrations, as well as several all-family events throughout the year.
Before and after school hours for current students
Sundborn operates as both a school and a child care center. In order to best serve working families in our community, the “center” aspect of Sundborn is that we also offer extended care in the mornings and afternoons, before and after school time. Extended care hours are from 7:30–9am and 2:30–5:30pm.
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During these times, children have full access to the classroom materials that they use during school time; any activity that the Guide has presented to a child is available to them during this time, so children who are in the middle of bigger work (stories or large math work) are welcome to continue these after the school day ends if they so choose.
Other activities that aren’t available during school time (things like Legos and other toys and games) are also available before or after school. In addition to the morning snack that is open to everyone, we also offer a second, afternoon snack for children who stay later in the day.
Summer at Sundborn
Sundborn Children’s House is a year-round school
At Sundborn Children’s House, we are committed to meeting the developmental needs of the child, and one of these needs is consistency. Humans, and especially children, thrive in consistency, routine, and order. A 3-month break during the summer is a huge disruption not only to the child’s routine, but also to any breakthroughs that might be happening at school. Imagine being right on the cusp of learning a new skill, and then stopping for three months. When they return in the fall, all momentum to master the new skill is gone, leaving them to start again.
Out of respect for these sensitive periods in learning and for the routines of our students and their families, Sundborn operates as a year-round school, running from July–June each year, with short breaks throughout the year.
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Summers in the Willamette Valley are always a delight, and Summers at Sundborn Children’s House are no different. We love to take advantage of the sun and pleasant weather and spend a great deal of time outdoors in our large yard and gardens. It’s not unusual for the students to bring work tables and chairs outside in order to continue their work in the sunshine, particularly in the cool of the morning. Children who stay for lunch enjoy picnic lunches in the shade, and fruit juice popsicles are a refreshing treat in the afternoons.
In our Primary classrooms, children develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
Through hands-on, interest-driven learning that stimulates all of the senses, students at Sundborn become passionate, grounded, and self-regulated. We offer both full—and half-day schedules for students at Sundborn, and parents can choose which option works best for their families. School hours are from 9am–2:30pm, Monday through Friday, and half-day students attend from 9am–noon.
Half-Day / AM Only
Typically, half-day (or “AM only”) is the schedule that parents choose for our youngest students, who may or may not have prior experience being away from home and who often still require early afternoon naps.
In this morning session, children enjoy time in our spacious outdoor environment, a work period inside, and a gathering time with songs and stories before being picked up at noon.
Full-Day / AM-PM
The full-day (or “AM–PM”) students experience all of the above, and also enjoy lunch together each day.
Children who stay for lunch are able to participate in lunch set-up and clean-up, which is a group effort and a much-beloved responsibility. It’s not uncommon for two children from each building to volunteer for lunch set-up, presenting the prepared tables as a “surprise” to their friends who have been playing outside during this time.
After lunch, the full-day children also participate in a second work cycle, where many of them are able to continue their work from the morning time before they are picked up at 2:30.
Ehtoja Luetaan by Carl Larsson 1900