THE GRASSHOPPER CURRICULUM
Grasshopper Montessori has launched a new, proven theory; that toddlers can and should learn difficult sight words before learning how to read. Children at the ages of 2.5 - 5 years old are capable of recognizing t-h-e as a pattern and remember that when those 3 letters are put together, they form "the". They are not reading the words, they simply recognize them. The instant recognition of these words takes out the guess work of reading and becomes muscle memory instead.
GM has put together a program of 17 sight words (that include a couple nouns) that contain all 26 letters of the alphabet. We work with our little ones on not only recognizing these sight words, but also, writing, spelling and using them in sentences. By learning just 17 sight words, our students are also able to name and write every lower case letter in the alphabet. Once they have mastered writing the words individually, they then transition into using these words to write sentences. We have 4 and 5 year olds writing sentences such as, "I am a quick fox". This multi-layered approach provides a concrete understanding of spelling and writing while creating an immense foundation for reading. It also results in self-confidence and fuels their eagerness to learn. Grasshoppers who have been with our program for at least 2 years, enter kindergarten with the ability to recognize, write and spell an average of 25 sight words.
Due to brain development, the window of opportunity to implement this theory and to build a strong educational foundation is temporary. This short amount of time has been overlooked. Underestimating the power of our little ones at ages 2.5-5 can result in an unpreparedness for school and a lack of confidence therefore taking away the joy of learning. Without a concrete foundation, education can be a daunting task for both student and parents. The best time to teach the habits necessary for a foundation of long term success in the school system is BEFORE they enter the school system. Grasshopper Montessori focuses on this crucial phase of a child's life when their desire and ability to learn is immense, exciting and powerful. The child's curiosity as our guide, we create a fun and fruitful environment as the foundation of their success.