Preschool & Kindergarten
The Montessori School offers preschool and kindergarten education for children ages 3 to 6. Classrooms are multi-aged, allowing children to collaborate with a diverse group of peers. Read more about the specifics below.
Beginning at age 2 years 9 months, children are eligible for our preschool program. They will join a community of children aged 3-6 for a three-year cycle as they explore developmentally appropriate works at their own pace.
- Monday through Friday, morning and full day options available
- Before- and after-school care available
- 10-month and 12-month programs
- 1:10 adult-to-child ratio
- Cooking, sewing, music, gardening, outdoor time, and more!
The most important time for learning is the period between birth and six years of age. Children are eager to learn from new people and experiences. They absorb all the environment has to offer and it is our responsibility to ensure the world they experience is rich, safe, nurturing, and intelligent. The foundation of self-esteem and all future learning is constructed during these early years and the Preschool Program is designed to take advantage of this powerful, formative period.
In the preschool classroom, your child will be introduced to many different concepts and will learn both through observing and through direct interaction with our beautifully crafted materials.
- Children learn to bake, sew, wash dishes, care for self, sweep, pour, and more with our lessons in Practical Life.
- Activities that appeal and refine the senses are the focus of our Sensorial Exercises. Your child will learn size, shape, composition, texture, temperature, weight, loudness or softness, and many other qualities as he or she works with these materials.
- Language is taught through a specific progression of lessons that engage the senses–children learn letters and sounds through seeing, hearing, and touching them–and through immersion in a linguistically rich classroom environment.
- Our Mathematics materials are designed to teach your child not only how, but why. Math is hands-on and our lessons teach number values and math operations though concrete materials that children touch and manipulate. Children are exposed to a wide array of mathematical concepts to prepare them for abstract work and mathematics in later grades.
- Lessons in Grace and Courtesy begin on the first day of school and are reinforced throughout the Preschool level. Children learn to respect one’s own work and the work of others, to wait one’s turn, and to handle materials gently and put them away neatly after using them. These and other lessons in Grace and Courtesy are essential to maintaining a quiet, respectful, and nurturing environment and to raising considerate and capable children.
See a Montessori preschool morning in action:
At The Montessori School, Kindergarten is referred to as Extended Day, and is a continuation of the preschool program into the afternoon.
- Monday through Friday, 8:30am-3pm
- Before- and after-school care available
- 10-month and 12-month programs
- Usually takes place during the traditional Kindergarten year (age 5 going on 6)
Instead of their school day ending at noon with the other Preschool children, Kindergarten students continue to work with teachers until 3pm. During this time, the children build upon the activities of the morning and undertake projects and field trips that are typically too challenging for our youngest Primary students.
Admission to the Kindergarten program is based on the child’s development, not on chronological age. We evaluate the child’s ability to work successfully without a nap. This usually occurs when they are between 4 and 5 years old, and often happens mid-year as a child demonstrates the developmental milestones that indicate readiness.
Kindergarten students stay in the same room with the same teacher and children, and take on the leadership role in the Primary classroom community. This continuity is developmentally appropriate and beneficial to the child’s sense of security and well-being. Only the Kindergarten students are in our Preschool classrooms in the afternoon. Younger children are either napping or have gone home for the day. This opportunity for focused, small-group attention provides the perfect bridge to the elementary program.
Kindergarten, like all Montessori programs, emphasizes active rather than passive learning. Children learn by actively participating in their environment, mastering many skills, and experiencing hands-on learning during this time. Like other Preschool students, Kindergarten students participate in music, language, and cultural study, outdoor time, and other enrichment activities.
Watch this short video to better understand why the Montessori Kindergarten year is so important:
The All-Year Montessori classroom is exclusively dedicated to children who attend The Montessori School full-day and year-round. Children in this classroom will have one continuous program from 7:30am-6:00pm, 12 months per year.
Two trained lead guides, as well as credentialed assistants, staff the room ensuring that a trained guide will be with these children at all times. Transitions will be eliminated as students will stay with the staff and their peers through the morning work-cycle, lunch, recess, nap (if needed), and the afternoon work-cycle.
The benefits are endless as this group of children become their own year-round, close community for a three-year cycle.
The Montessori School’s before- and after-school programs – open to all currently enrolled TMS students – are led by experienced and well-trained staff who are part of our classroom’s regular teaching teams.
- Open 7:30am-6:00pm during the school year. Summer hours vary.
- We offer both childcare add-ons and programs with built-in childcare hours
Your child will have the opportunity to participate in music lessons, baking, outdoor play, construction activities, creating art, and more in our childcare program.
For rates and more information, click here
Faculty and Staff
Ranjita Kaur | Primary Coordinator | e-mail Ranjita
Ranjita has a BA in Business from Anna Ardarsh College in India. She received a certification in Teaching Methodology in Montessori and Kindergarten Education in 2002. In 2019, she earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials. She has been passionate about childcare and education, beginning her career as a Primary School Lead teacher and Montessori teacher in Bangalore, India. Prior to working at The Montessori School in Kalamazoo, Ranjita worked as a lead teacher at Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool for a year and worked as an assistant teacher at KRESA. She started her journey at The Montessori School in late 2019 as an assistant teacher. She currently lives in Portage, Michigan with her husband and two children. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and cooking.
Primary Lead Guides
Jacqueline Bingaman | Oak Room Lead Guide | e-mail Jacqueline
Jacqueline received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University in 2009. She started her Montessori journey in 2006 at The Montessori School as a primary assistant. Jacqueline received her AMS Montessori Lower Elementary certification in 2011 from Seacoast Center for Education in New Hampshire. She lived in North Carolina for 8 years and taught in Montessori and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) public, charter, and private schools. Jacqueline completed primary Montessori training in 2019 from Adrian Dominican Montessori Teacher Education Institute. In her free time, Jacqueline enjoys gardening, walking her dogs, and renovating her Victorian home.
Lauren Grinnell-Ackerman | All-Year Montessori Lead Guide | e-mail Lauren
Lauren received her primary AMI diploma in the spring of 2016 at Montessori Northwest Training Center in Portland, OR. She has been with The Montessori School since fall 2013 as an assistant teacher in the primary classrooms at the Kalamazoo campus. She received her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development from WMU, and her Master’s in Montessori Education at Loyola University Maryland in the summer of 2016. She enjoys spending time in nature with her partner, Ryan, camping, and traveling the country to experience the natural world of the national parks. She also enjoys staying at home and spending time exploring Michigan’s coast! When she isn’t traveling she enjoys reading, cooking, and creating artwork.