The Montessori curriculum is a sensorial based, concrete, “hands-on” approach to learning as the key to self-discovery. The prepared environment is designed and laid out in a logical, sequential order. The class offers a calm atmosphere, where children’s individual choices are respected and protected. The balance of freedom (to choose) and responsibility (to oneself, to others and to class rules designed to promote and protect learning) is achieved by careful observation, lesson giving and intervention, when necessary, by the teacher. The Primary curriculum includes five broad areas.
Tasks of everyday life are provided that offer real opportunities to build and strengthen skills, promoting independence and self-confidence. These activities include self-care skills such as how to button, snap clothing or how to tie one’s shoe. Other skills include care of the environment such as how to wash a table, polish brass or wash a window. This area includes care of plants including how to arrange flowers. Preparing and serving food is also a much loved activity for young children. Exercises of Grace & Courtesy show children how to be part of society with such activities including how to greet a visitor or how to politely get someone’s attention.
Children are introduced to numerical, algebraic and geometric concepts within the Sensorial Material. By age four they are then ready to work with numbers 1 to 10, by way of an introduction to the decimal system. Through manipulation of three-dimensional materials and in small group lessons, the young five-year-old learns to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Eventually, children work alone, with paper and pencil, memorizing tables and moving towards an abstract understanding of the processes first understood concretely.
Children are bombarded by sensory stimulation from birth. These impressions are generally very random and unorganized. The Sensorial Material helps the child organize sensorial impressions and thus gain a more organized understanding of the impressions of the world around him. The materials used in this area are designed to isolate one quality, such as size, for example, so that the child’s understanding of that quality is clarified. Exercises involve either matching or sequencing items based on a particular quality. These exercises allow the child success in organizing the many sense impressions he or she has already previously experienced. There are materials that correspond to all five senses in this area.
A rich vocabulary lays a strong foundation for reading and writing. Therefore, spoken language and vocabulary enrichment are developed through many opportunities including language lessons such as the names of materials in classroom, storytelling, discussions, poetry and singing. A phonetic approach to reading and development of cursive handwriting skills are hallmarks of the Montessori educational approach.
Geography & More...
Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art, Music & Movement are integrated into the everyday curriculum. With beautiful wooden puzzle maps of all the continents the child begins to learn of physical geography. Studies and celebrations of cultures and peoples around the world, often presented by parents and outside visitors, are ongoing throughout the school year. Creative and nature based art studies enhance children’s native thirst to express themselves. Music and movement are explored through exposure to great musicians, creative movement, storytelling, acting and self-expression. Opportunity for outdoor play, gardening and nature observation are everyday experiences.