Cathedral Hill Montessori School

"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment." – Dr. Maria Montessori

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Children’s House

Children's House Dr. Montessori dedicated her life to serving children. Years of observation and education lead her to create the Children’s House – a mixed-age environment carefully designed to nurture the child’s need to explore the world, care for themselves, and learn. At Cathedral Hill Montessori School, we are proud to provide two Children’s Houses wholly dedicated to serving children ages 2.5 to 6. Each class is led by an excellent team of staff who are extensively trained in the preparation and use of the Montessori materials.

In the Children’s House, children have the freedom to move around the environment and make independent choices of activity. Once introduced to an activity by their guide, children are free to return to the work independently and repeat it as many times as they’d like. Montessori guides act as observers in their role and are trained to notice what a child might be interested in or ready for next. These observations are then used in individualized lesson planning. The guide works to ensure the material is used successfully, as well as offers further lessons in areas of interest. Each child has unique skills and challenges and it is the guide’s job to learn and understand how best to help meet each child’s needs.

The Children’s House is divided into 4 different areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Math.

Practical Life

Children's House - Practical Life ActivitiesWhen observing a Montessori classroom, you may see a child preparing herself a snack of sliced apple. Another is carefully trimming and watering the plants. Two children may work side by side, sewing buttons and polishing glass objects. These are all examples of Practical Life activities.  The materials are designed to give children the opportunity to care for themselves, others, the Children’s House, and beyond. Through repetition and freedom of choice, Practical Life activities help children develop concentration and refined motor skills. Children are given responsibility and are treated with the respect they need to become active participants in their community.


Children's HouseChildren at this age absorb the world through their senses, touching things as they pass by, smelling flowers, and trying all different ways to taste!  Dr. Montessori observed this behavior and created materials to help facilitate this sensorial need. Each sensorial material is designed to bring awareness to the many different sensorial qualities of our world. All 9 senses are represented: Vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, sense of touch, kinesthetic (muscular) sense, stereognostic (recognition through feeling) sense, sense of temperature, and baric (sense of weight). Each is isolated into different materials such as the pink tower, smelling bottles, sound cylinders, baric tablets, and stereognostic bags. The child is able to explore, learn new language, and identify these qualities in the greater world.


Children's HouseLanguage is everywhere in the Children’s House. All the materials offer an opportunity for building vocabulary, whether it be naming objects in the environment, looking at language cards, identifying flags from around the world, or studying the life cycle of a butterfly. The sounds and symbols of our language are introduced with sandpaper letters, providing a multi-sensorial learning experience, and shortly thereafter, children begin writing using the moveable alphabet.  From there, the child explodes into the world of writing and reading. One child might be making a book of different animals, labeling each illustration, while another might be researching different phonograms, identifying the sound /sh/ in a book. You might be surprised to know that our third-year children are introduced the concept of the parts of speech and different word studies, such as compound words and homophones.


Children's House - Math ActivitiesDr. Montessori observed the preschool-age child’s natural mathematic abilities.  She designed activities which isolate the different mathematical concepts and allow the child to explore them through the use of concrete materials.  Children develop a deeply sensorial understanding of quantity, associate names and symbols with ease, work with large numbers from one hundred to one million, and start on the path of memorization and even long division. Parents are often surprised by the genuine fun their child has working with the golden beads and finding the product of 3642 multiplied by 3, for example. The beauty and simplicity of the materials, the opportunity to work in a group, and the many avenues of discovery make the math area a truly fun place to be!