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"Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core."

Maria Montessori

Foundation Groups

The two-year-old is a little person! The child at this age is becoming fiercely independent and is attempting new things. It is important to provide them with the chance to explore, experiment, and learn how to master their environment for themselves. Experiencing success is critically important to the developing self-concept and self-esteem. Age-appropriate work completely absorbs the child and fulfills his or her immense thirst for knowledge.

The IMS Foundation Groups are designed as a year-long initiative offering development opportunities for children age 2 and older. In the Foundation Groups, we provide children with the opportunity to explore and discover in a Dual-Language Montessori environment, allowing them the chance to try to do things for themselves. This meaningful, real work helps build attention and cultivates a deep and authentic sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and independence.

English-speaking and Chinese-speaking teachers provide a setting which establishes strong foundations for the child’s development by modeling approaches to learning and social situations which can be mirrored at home.

The highly trained teachers prepare an environment rich in opportunities to explore the world through meaningful work modeled by the adults. This work is specially adapted to the developing motor skills of the 2-3 year old child, and is familiar to the important work the toddler sees the adults and older children doing at home.

This experience, which has emphasis on work in Practical Life and the beginnings of Sensorial exploration, provides an opportunity to determine how the Montessori philosophy can be enacted at home and in future school life.

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Each Foundation group has a maximum of 16 children, guided by an English-speaking and a Mandarin-speaking teacher, one of whom is a trained Montessori teacher. It is also supported by an Assistant. A parent or caregiver must be available in these Groups at all times.

While not required for admission to IMS, participation in these Groups provides a strong foundation which provides a more seamless transition to the Casa dei Bambini classroom. Children participating in the Foundation Groups have priority of placement in an IMS Casa dei Bambini classroom upon acceptance to the school.

“…The child’s mind can acquire culture at a much earlier age than is generally supposed, but his way of taking in knowledge is by certain kinds of activity which involve movement.”
Maria Montessori

The Elements of the Foundation Groups

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  • Accordion


Sensorial exercises are important to help a child to organise his or her mathematical mind.


All information is taken in through the five senses: taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight. Sensorial exercises provide children with the opportunity to take in clear, distinct information from specific senses, make classifications based upon those sensorial experiences, and begin organising and integrating that information with what the child knows of the world.

  • Container
Practical Life

These activities emphasise the care of self for these young ones.


In the Foundation Programme, Practical Life exercises include learning how to take off and put on one’s own shoes, toileting, grooming, food preparation, and more. The Foundation classroom provides many different opportunities for the toddler to manipulate food using real child-size utensils, which are easy to hold and control. Typical cooking actions are broken down into individual activities allowing the child to repeat, practise, and gain mastery over their hands.

  • Container

Grace & Courtesy

Modeling of gracious actions help the very young child to absorb social structures.


Modeling of gracious actions and words help the very young child to learn and absorb social structures by providing him or her with the vocabulary and behavior to build positive relationships with others. They include lessons in how to greet others appropriately, be seated properly, and how to clean up after one’s work.

Support at Home

Montessori is a way of life, in this pdf you will find tips on how to support your child at home.

Food preparation in the Foundation Environment

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