The Harbor Montessori School and Child Enrichment center strives to give the children it serves a jump start into their education by creating a foundation of knowledge and a thirst for learning. With a strong foundation, they are more likely to succeed at “big school” as they build upon what they’ve already learned. Art and literature are a key part of this and thanks to the Chester and Muriel Dawes Charitable Foundation, we have been able to fund an arts and literacy program, which has been a great help to achieving this goal.
Dozens of beautiful books were added to classroom libraries, helping to support curriculum themes and topics. Reading is one of the most important things to do with young children, as it instills a love of language and learning. Puzzles, musical instruments, art supplies, and other items were also purchased, helping the teachers refresh and renew their materials for the children to work with. In the summer, we are also able to purchase books to send home with the children, building their own libraries. A love of reading can start as early as infancy, and a strong reader will have a greater chance of success in all other areas of study.
On the arts side of things, the center was able to start an art program lead by instructor Kathy Faass. Miss Kathy has the children working with all kinds of materials, making diverse and interesting projects. Earlier this year they painted beautiful birch trees on small canvases using yarn and string. They’ve also been able to do some work with glass and watercolors. Art helps exercise the brain and open up the imagination. It’s also a wonderful textile and sensory experience. The children feel great pride and satisfaction in the creation of these fun projects. It’s impactful that we are able to provide them with such a comprehensive art experience this early in their education.
Music has also been a big part of the center and Music and Movement classes have been taught every week. The classes start with singing songs such as “Old MacDonald,” “The Ants Go Marching,” and “5 Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” Then, the class transitions to a music-based movement activity such as musical chairs or “London Bridges Falling Down.” The class then moves into an instrument experience, learning to play and experience various instruments such as bells, percussion, the violin, and the ukulele. All of these activities are great for growing learners because they all require multiple parts of the brain to be used at the same time. Even something as simple as singing a song while performing an action—think “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”—takes a tremendous amount of brain power and helps the children develop cognitively while also having a fun time. The goal with these classes is to introduce the children to the magic of music, helping them develop an appreciation for it and a desire to learn more.
Arts and literature help establish a strong foundation for young learners and we’re pleased that the Harbor Montessori School and Child Enrichment Center has been able to provide such a full program. We’re grateful to the Chester and Muriel Dawes Charitable Foundation for their support and we are excited to see how we can continue to grow in the future.