The Core Phase is the first of the Foundational Phases, and serves as the foundation for all the rest of a child’s life. This is when parents nurture their children in the safe, cozy atmosphere of home and family life. During this period, they get a spiritual education by learning about the difference between wrong and right in the secure care of their mother and father. They are exposed to inspiring music, good books, and an atmosphere of learning through the family culture. Academics are not yet a part of a Core Phase child’s life.
The establishment of the Core occurs roughly between the years of 0-8;
the maintenance and nourishment of the Core is a life-long process. This consists of the lessons of good/bad, right/wrong, true/false, and is accomplished through work/play.
Oliver Van DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education, 2nd Edition, pages 31-32
Play is a huge part of the Core Phase child’s education. As Maria Montessori taught, a child “learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.” Work is another big part of the Core Phase. Children learn what hard work is, and are lovingly instructed by their parents as they help with the daily chores. The time children spend learning how to work and obey parents and rules provide valuable lessons they will use in many circumstances (including later academic work) and through the rest of their lives.
The key to a successful Core Phase is constant interaction with the parents. Too many activities outside of the home can be crippling to the Core Phase experience, resulting in frustration and confusion for the child. Work and play are done with Mom and/or Dad and siblings, and the parents’ patience throughout the teaching of basic skills is needed.
A child in Core Phase should:
Learn the difference between good and bad, and how to make good choices
Learn how to work, and how to be responsible
Learn about God and his or her relationship with Him
Play—which is the best way for a child to learn about the world around him
Spend most of his time at home with his family, being nurtured and loved