Childhood is a time for learning through activity; for experiencing the wonders of nature; for growing socially; for playing creatively and imaginatively; for singing, talking, quarreling and crying; for running and for laughing. Play is the child’s “work” and the way that she learns about life. One of the premises of our program is that children’s play is the most important part of their morning.
In our morning cycle, children are allowed to play freely in order to learn about sharing, taking risks, role modeling and resolving conflicts.
Each day follows a predictable, gentle, seasonal rhythm. Imagination is nurtured through stories, nursery rhymes, finger plays, and songs. Children can express themselves artistically through drawing, painting, clay modeling, and seasonal crafts. During Circle Time, children become more confident and comfortable participating in group activities as they sing and move together.
Teachers communicate in English and encourage the children to do so as well; building their language ability and self-confidence through storytelling, music, and movement. Finger plays and rhymes not only encourage a love of language, but also teach counting and other skills needed for future academic work. They also develop the motor skills to improve coordination, which later will enhance the child’s ability to write.
In the Light & Sound Atelier children can experiment with color, light, and shadows. Daily outside excursions help foster a connection to nature and its seasonal changes. Children eat a healthy snack and enjoy their lunch together and take pride in tidying up when finished.
Each classroom, its furnishings, and learning materials are purposefully designed to create an aesthetically beautiful environment that evokes a sense of wonder and is a place for discovery and exploration, thereby becoming the “third teacher”. The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities.
There are 5 main groups of activities:
Practical Life Exercises include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily life in their own home: washing and ironing, doing the dishes, sweeping, gardening, food preparation, and so forth. They learn to work at a task from beginning to end to develop their will, coordination, self-discipline, responsibility, confidence, independence, and capacity for total concentration.
Language discovery becomes interesting and fun through the use of materials that develop pre-reading skills and that teach basic phonetics and grammar. Using the moveable alphabet, phonics cards, and sandpaper letters, children learn how to read and write. A multi-sensory approach that combines phonics, storytelling, and language experiences brings meaning to the learning of reading and writing.
Sensorial materials are tools for a child’s natural development. Children learn through their five senses (touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, and listening), and the primary purpose of sensorial exercises is to further refine these senses. The sensorial materials have built-in feedback to show when errors have been made, allowing the child to be independent of an adult’s oversight, which helps to develop an inner motivation to practice and improve. The Montessori sensorial materials also lay a foundation for later concepts in subjects such as Mathematics, Geometry, Geography, and Science.
Mathematics materials help the child learn and understand mathematical concepts by providing concrete materials such as beads and number rods which children can work with and manipulate. Through these hands-on experiences, children learn addition, subtraction, and problem solving.
Cultural exercises are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities and encompass nature, geography, and history. Children have the opportunity to explore and understand their environment through outdoor exploration and caring for classroom plants and animals. Students can discover the dance of the solar system and their place in the universe by studying the continents, countries and their flags, as well as land formations. Through creative activities such as modeling, painting, and collage-making children are taught to understand the distinction between past and present and how past events have led to present situations.
10:45am ~ 11:30am
Come and play with your baby in English! Our weekly Parent & Child class offers a warm atmosphere of supportive companionship with other families, providing parents with an opportunity to learn more about the principles of the Montessori and Waldorf early childhood methods and how they can be applied in the home.
• Explore a child-friendly environment that challenges and nurtures, with simple play materials.
• Delight in an environment that supports their unfolding interests, motor abilities, and problem solving skills.
• Experience social interaction in play that stimulates their speech and language development.
• Experience an environment that encourages the valuable exchange of ideas & information.
• Observe and understand what their children are doing and how they are learning as they play.
• Delight in the joy of sharing songs & games with their children that support speech & language development.
• Meet other parents in a community of sharing & support
*Enrollment is limited to 5 children and their parent/guardian.*
9am ~ 12pm / 1pm
The experiences an infant encounters during the early years of life are crucial for healthy brain development. Our infant program offers a warm, nurturing, calm environment that helps infants develop their bodies and minds.
Infants have their own schedule for playing, eating and sleeping, so our teachers will follow a schedule based on each infant’s rhythm. Our activity plans help your baby make sense of their world by exploring an environment filled with rich sensory activities, including different sights, sounds and textures. Infants are presented with activities that boost brain development, encourage first words and build strong bodies. Daily activities include: feeding, resting, fine and gross motor-skill development, and outdoor excursions.
*Early & extended care is available.*
Preschool & Kindergarten Programs
9am ~ 12pm / 1pm / 3pm
We understand that this may be the first learning experience outside the home for many children. This program focuses on the early integration of social skills, fine and gross motor-skill development, toileting, and independence. We take great care to create a relaxed atmosphere where children can develop at their own pace and even the youngest students are treated with kindness and respect.
9am ~ 12pm / 1pm / 3pm
Our kindergarteners have settled into the daily rhythm of school and begin to challenge themselves further.
Building upon established skills, we offer a rich variety of projects and activities to advance language ability, mathematical reasoning, and understanding of basic science principles. Students eagerly anticipate becoming the “big kids” of the school and enjoy being role models for their younger peers.
*Depending on readiness, children may attend our kindergarten program from the age of 3 1/2 until they enter elementary school.*
After School Kindergarten
3:30pm ~ 5:00pm
Following the Reggio-Emilia Approach, our after school program boasts an emergent curriculum, where children collectively decide their activities and projects that they’d like to work on. Projects may last a day, a week, a
month, or a whole year – children can fuel their desire to learn about a topic for as long as they wish. As partners on an educational journey, students and teachers will explore and research chosen themes through music, dance, storytelling, cooking, art and science. Children may also practice reading, writing, phonics, geography, and maths with Montessori materials and shelf work. Totem Kids After School is for children who already have a high English ability (speaking or understanding) and who wish to maintain their English level.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world and its popularity is growing in Japan. Learning a new language at early age is the best time to start. At tHG we will learn Español naturally, focusing on hispanic culture. Our lessons will be fun and enjoyable with activities, games, cooking projects, and storytelling that will lead to develop the ability to express oneself verbally with clarity and simplicity. Vamos a la escuela de Español!
*Children may attend afternoon programs from the age of 3 until elementary grade 1 & must be toilet trained.*