The Three-Year Cycle

Many people cannot understand the beauty and reason behind the three-year age ranges that they witness in a normalized Montessori classroom.

In a Montessori environment, the child begins their experience at the youngest age and remains in the same learning community for three years. It is over these three years that the child cycles through their natural growth and developmental milestones. We encourage parents to consider this when investing in their child’s Montessori education, this isn’t a one-year program.

When the young child first begins their casa experience, they are like a tender shoot on a new plant just beginning to grow. They need the time to establish their roots and to the untrained adult eye, may not show a tremendous amount of external growth.

This is the year of the “absorbent mind”. During this year the child has the capacity to absorb and internalize their environment. They are like little sponges soaking up the environment, language, culture and social norms, it is the year of discovery for the youngest members of the learning community. Some of the things they are beginning to develop are a refining of their senses, order, concentration and responsibility.

As the child enters their second year, they begin to develop their reasoning and problem-solving skills. They are more confident in their abilities, become more independent and they begin to ask questions and seek answers. This child continues to grow and strengthen their work habits, skills and academic knowledge while enjoying the social aspects of the community.

The child’s third and final year sees them bloom. They become much more aware of their emotions and feelings, and are able to express themselves through story telling and creative means. These children are the leaders of the environment both socially and academically. They are independent, confident and problem solvers. Our classroom is designed to allow the child the opportunity to explode in their academic and social development in their final year.

Perhaps the most beautiful piece is watching the children in the learning community grow, learn, and excel in their own time supported by the classroom guides and the peers who they have built strong and positive relationships with. Just like with a plant, we must nurture, feed and support the growth of our children.