Enrichment Programs


Spanish Immersion Montessori School offers a variety of enrichment programs at no additional cost to families. Our enrichment programs will be running once we reach 15 children in the program and will include: yoga, music and movement (outside instructor), introduction to music or piano depending on individual readiness.

Families across the country are beginning to recognize the tremendous benefits enrichment programs can provide. Because these activities are offered and available during the traditional school day and save parents time from commuting from place to place. These programs give students many opportunities for growth and learning they might not find elsewhere. Supporting academic skills is an important goal for SIMS please read some of the benefits from having enrichment activities:

Music    

Music is a way of knowing. According to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner (1983), music intelligence is equal in importance to logical – mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily – kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. According to Thomas Armstrong (1994,5), “Intelligence is galvanized by participation in some kind of culturally valued activity and that the individual’s growth in such an activity follows a developmental pattern; each activity has its own time arising in early childhood.”

Early childhood, a period of rapid change and development, is the most critical period in a child’s musical growth and has been identified in the literature as the “music babble” stage (Moog, 1976; Gordon, 1988) or primary music development (Levinowitz and Guilmartin, 1989, 1992, 1996).

The importance of music instruction for music development during the early years of childhood has been widely investigated since World War II. The Pillsbury studies (1937 – 1958) (Moorhead and Pond, 1977) provided the first glimpse into preschool children’s musical lives and informed us about the nature of their spontaneous music behavior.

Children are born with the potential to learn to speak and understand their native language as well as they  are born with the potential to learn to perform and understand their culture’s music.

Music is great for young brains and exposure from early on has proven benefits and  it’s also fun and enjoyable for children.  The montessori musical program develops the children’s nonverbal affective communication, enhances their ability to express themselves through music and  increases their understanding and enjoyment of music.  Learning music is not a separate lesson in the day but it is a natural and integral part of classroom life.  

Benefits of Exposure to Music

  • Concentration
  • Creativity
  • Cooperation
  • Language
  • Counting and other math skills
  • Self-discipline
  • Listening abilities
  • Spatial-temporal reasoning
  • Abstract reasoning
  • Memory and recall skills
  • Physical coordination (gross and fine motor skills)

Montessori Music Curriculum

Grading Bells

The voice is a child’s natural instrument and it is an instrument that every person possesses.   The bells are present in all authentic Montessori primary and preschool classrooms. The bells were designed to specifically train the ear to perceive differences among musical sounds. The Montessori bells consist of a series of bells that represent the whole tones and semi-tones of one octave. To work with the bells, the child is required to pair off the bells that produce the same sound. This enables the child to learn how to discriminate, eventually learn how to arrange the bells in gradation, and to play the musical scale.  In the Montessori  classroom children will find music activities such as:

  • The Bells  (Do-Re-Mi…)
  • Classical music (listening)
  • Silent Game (Listening)
  • Sound Boxes (Sensorial)
  • Silence Game (Circle Time), Singing, Clapping
  • Composer cards (Language/Sensorial/Matching)
  • Walking on the Line (Movement)
  • Music in Spanish (Language, movement, dancing)

Early childhood is also the time when children learn about their world primarily through the magical process of play. The substance of play in very young children is usually comprised of the environmental objects and experiences to which they have been exposed. If the music environment is sufficiently rich, there will be a continuous and ever richer spiral of exposure to new musical elements followed by the child’s playful experimentation with these elements.

Music And Movement

Teaching the Whole Child:Music and Movement is a way of teaching the whole child and engaging the learner Mental, Physical, Emotional and Social

Phylis Weikart, a pioneer in movement pedagogy, has noted that many school-age children cannot walk to the beat of music, perform simple motor patterns, or label how their bodies have moved (1987). She suggests that children can gain this experience in naturally occurring situations during infancy and early childhood, especially if adults recognize the importance of early gross motor development and of language interaction about rhythm and movement with young children. Furthermore, other motor theorists’ research supports the importance of movement in early childhood. They have found that most fundamental motor patterns emerge before the age of five and are merely stabilized beyond that age (Gilbert, 1979).

As published in Early Childhood Connections:

  • Music evokes movement, and children delight in and require movement for their development and growth.
  • Developmentally appropriate music activities involve the whole child-the child’s desire for language, the body’s urge to move, the brain’s attention to patterns, the ear’s lead in initiating communication, the voice’s response to sounds, as well as the eye-hand coordination associated with playing musical instruments.
  • Music transmits culture and is an avenue by which beloved songs, rhymes, and dances can be passed down from one generation to another.

Children in the early years learn best by ‘doing’!  Music and movement encourages active involvement in developing vocabulary and mastering a wealth of skills and concepts.  

Benefits of music and movement

  • Building Vocabulary
  • Enhance Motor skills: Coordination, Balance, Strength and Endurance;  
  • Expression and Communication;   
  • Improves Relationships.

Yoga            

As reported in Time magazine, scientists have been studying what happens when children practice various forms of mindfulness. At the end of their study, they found children in the experimental group “had 15% better math scores, showed 24% more social behaviors, were 24% less aggressive and perceived themselves as 20% more pro-social.  They outperformed their peers in cognitive control, stress levels, emotional control, optimism, empathy, mindfulness and aggression.”

Decade after decade, science discovers new ways to prove what Dr. Montessori saw a century ago. She called her discovery “the New Child.” This was not the same being parents had handheld for millennia. This was a child who, if set free from the distractions and distortions of the chaotic world, would show mankind a new way to live, a better way.                                                   

Yoga helps kids to:

  • Develop body awareness
  • Learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way
  • Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement
  • Build concentration
  • Increase their confidence and positive self-image
  • Feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group
  • Have an alternative to tuning out through constant attachment to electronic devices

In a school setting, yoga can also benefit teachers by:

  • Giving them an alternate way to handle challenges in the classroom
  • Giving them a healthy activity to integrate with lesson plans
  • Give them a way to blend exercise into their classes

Excerpted from Stretched: Build Your Yoga Business, Grow Your Teaching Techniques, Bare Bones Yoga.