Montessori Interpretation

South Orange Country Day School follows the core philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori was the first educator that examined how children learn, instead of how teachers can teach better. At SOCDS we start with each child and their learning preferences, and then we develop tools and activities that best meet the needs of that child.

We promote a love of learning that emphasizes self-discipline, confidence and independence through the use of self directed centers. Our students use every day materials (tweezers, rolling pins, dust pans, cups and saucers) to practice life skills. We use a variety activities to practice phonics and mathematical concepts. We are different than a traditional Montessori program on two main dimensions: curriculum and instructional methods.

In our classrooms the teachers choose the objectives they want the children to practice and then create unique learning centers that will appeal to the student’s senses and interests. This ensures that each learning objective is explored and learned using a variety of tactics that will appeal to many different learning preferences and styles. We do not use one tool to help learn an objective, instead we use multiple tactics and centers to provide students with the best experience for learning.

Our instructional methods include large and small group instruction, as well as self directed center work. We feel that children do need to practice listening for directions and, more importantly, how to ask for clarification in a larger group experience. We also feel that children need to learn to wait their turn to speak and to hold their thoughts while other individuals are speaking.

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Curriculum

Our comprehensive curriculum and planning process differentiates us from other pre-school programs. We developed our curriculum based on traditional Montessori objectives, as well as best practices for a changing world. We wrote the curriculum on a continuum across the programs so that parents and teachers are reminded of the building blocks of learning. This approach also focuses our development of individual tactics to meet the current learning objectives of each child.
Click here for a copy of our curriculum.

This curriculum identifies clear, detailed learning objectives across all aspects of pre-school:

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Physical Development

Large and fine motor skill development, body expression, dressing skills

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Social Development

Manners, empathy, sportsmanship

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Reading Readiness

Oral language skills, phonemic
awareness and letter recognition,
reading comprehension

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Mathematical Reasoning

Sorting, pattern recognition and
creation, one-to-one correspondence

Our monthly planning process starts with teachers evaluating the objectives that have been practiced and mastered over the previous time period. Then the teachers review the next objectives and develop tactics that will appeal to the current students. As part of the lesson planning process the teachers review the tactics to ensure that there is a mix of large and small group activities, as well as individually directed activities. In addition, the teachers check that the tactics address different learning styles: auditory, visual, and sensory.  SOCDS 2017 Monthly Theme Planning.

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Themes

Our themes are meant to be broad enough to allow the teachers to create age appropriate activities, and comprehensive enough to provide extensive prompts for conversation during Morning Message and circle time.   For the 2017/18 school year we have supplemented our monthly themes with detailed feelings discussions that will be prompted by school wide common readings and puppet vignettes.  Our goal is to be intentional in discussing the common concerns that face our young children as well as helping them make sense of what they observe among adults.  Here is a list of the topics we will cover.  Feelings Discussions

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Authors

Our author study is more than just reading works from different authors. We want children to see what authors look like, to study how they work, and to appreciate different writing styles. We want children to leave SOCDS understanding that authors are people too.

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Poetry

SOCDS uses poetry as a tool to introduce vocabulary, visualization, and word play.  Our students practice the monthly poems in their classroom and then we all practice together during morning meeting.

Music

Music is an integral part of our curriculum. Children respond to music and rhythm and we capitalize on their natural instinct. Teachers and children enjoy singing familiar songs to help with transition periods, as well as to practice call-and-response skills, memory skills, and finger plays.

In addition we are fortunate to be able to provide a music appreciation class once a week with Mr. Joe, our music teacher. Mr. Joe introduces all the students to chords, rhythms, and different types of instruments. He also demonstrates how to listen to your fellow singers and to sign in tune.

In 2016 we added a Musical Theater Class with Ms. Elissa.  Ms. Elissa emphasizes movement and expression to match the rhythms and story of the music.  The students respond to Ms. Elissa’s music and her movements.

Foreign Language

We integrate Spanish into our daily routine for basic vocabulary, and we also listen to music from all over the world.

Physical Education

We feel that children need to run and enjoy the outdoors. Our playground in the biggest in the area and provides a safe place for children to explore their body movements as well as nature. We are regularly outside: we start the morning outside for morning message, and then we are all outside again at 11:30am and 3pm.

Our philosophy is based on the Maria Montessori’s acknowledgment, “If you let children run wild, they will act like animals.” With this observation comes the responsibility to model good group behavior to be present to prevent conflicts between more dominant children and others. Our playground is divided into six sections with specific activities in each. Teachers are stationed in each section to guide and monitor play and group dynamics.

SOCDS offers Yoga every week in each of the classrooms.  Ms. Dawn arrives each week with new exercises and poses related to our monthly theme.  The students love these sessions and the teachers practice the poses with the students throughout the week.

During the winter months when we cannot use the entire playground, we have invited Move n’ Groove from Studio 509 to visit the school for indoor play activities. This organization has a great curriculum for indoor activities and our teachers also incorporate these activities into their daily routine.

Center Activities

At SOCDS our students are engaged with Center Work for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. The teachers set up different centers throughout the classroom and use a variety of techniques to start children to the centers and to ensure that children rotate through all the centers.

The beauty of the Montessori Tradition is that most of the center experiences are scaleable. This means that similar materials can be used for a variety of skill levels. Maria Montessori referenced this method as letting children become familiar with their world, and then disrupting their current understanding. Children will feel safe exploring similar materials to better understand the next set of learning objectives.

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Social Development

Manners, empathy, sportsmanship

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Physical Development

Large and fine motor skill development, body expression, dressing skills

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Mathematical Reasoning

Sorting, pattern recognition and
creation, one-to-one correspondence

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Reading Readiness

Oral language skills, phonemic
awareness and letter recognition,
reading comprehension

Faculty

We have an amazing faculty of professional teachers that have a long tenure at South Orange Country Day School.
Each classroom has a minimum of one state lead teacher Our assistants are all working toward a degree in a field related to early childhood education.

Facilities

Our campus is situated on over an acre of land. The majority of our students spend their day in the Main House, while the One Year Before Kindergarten (Pre-K) class is in their own separate building in the back. The main house is a historic home complete with a back building is an old carriage house.

Our school has the largest fenced in playground. We also have a fenced in blacktop area for riding bikes.

Security of our students and school is the up most importance. We installed security cameras outside, as well as in each classroom. The teachers and director review the tapes to evaluate classroom actions and to examine ways to improve classroom performance.

Tuition

Tuition and Scheduling

South Orange Country Day School offers half and full day schedules, as well as early- and aftercare. The fees are the same for all the classes in each program we strive to have the same ratio in each of the classes (1:6).

We also try to be flexible to accommodate families. Please inquire any schedule needs. Some children attend two morning sessions, and three full day sessions. They may also attend two very long days (including aftercare) and three half days.

Pay Tuition Online

Preschool

The preschool program is a transitional program, we accommodate schedules of less than five days a week. Preschool students can attend part time on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday, or full time.

3 Days 4 Days 5 Days
Full Day $625.26 $833.68 $1,042.10
Half Day $387.60 $516.80 $646.00

Pre-K

Once the children enter the one year before Kindergarten, we recommend that the children attend a minimum of five (half days a week). It is our experience that this is the age where children seek the continuity, as well as the companionship of their friends.

5 Days
Full Day $1,042.10
Half Day $646.00

Kindergarten

SOCDS offers a full day kindergarten.  Kindergarten is not mandatory in New Jersey and therefore we can accept students close to district age cut-offs – either older or younger.  The benefit of this is that children have one more year of growth in a small setting before families made a decision about their entry to an elementary school.

5 Days
Full Day $1,042.10

Early Morning Care

 

3 Days 4 Days 5 Days
7:30-8:30am $66.30 $88.40 $110.50

Enrichment

Enrichment schedule includes the following:

  • Wash up and bathroom
  • Snack
  • Free play
  • Craft Activities
  • Clean-Up
  • Story Time
  • Dismissal readiness (pack up and get ready to go home)
3 Days 4 Days 5 Days
Pick up: 5:30pm $138.60 $184.80 $231.00
Pick up: 6:00pm $170.10 $226.80 $283.50

Admission

Tours

We invite you to visit our school and see us in action during the school day.   We will be hosting open houses on Fridays in October at 10am for Fall 2018 admission.

Application

Thank you for your interest in our school. We are hosting open houses on Fridays in October at 10am for Summer/Fall 2018.

Join the Wait List

Registration is on a first come, first serve basis, and once I receive your application I will confirm with an email.

Please contact Ms. Annemarie for further information at learn@socds.com.

Application