What is Montessori ?
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.
Montessori classrooms are beautifully crafted environments designed to meet the needs of children in a specific age range. Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that experiential learning in this type of classroom led to a deeper understanding of language, mathematics, science, music, social interactions and much more. Most Montessori classrooms are secular in nature, although the Montessori educational method can be integrated successfully into a faith-based program. Every material in a Montessori classroom supports an aspect of child development, creating a match between the child’s natural interests and the available activities. Children can learn through their own experience and at their own pace. They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning.
Montessori Curriculum: Areas of Learning
There are five main areas in the program:
Children are provided with a wide variety of aterials that are generally found in the home. They carry out familiar and meaningful ctivities that Care for the Environment: weeping, mopping, watering plants, cleaning tables and windows; Care of Self: pouring a drink, washing self, dressing and food preparation, and are offered the opportunity to learn about socialization through exercises of Grace and Courtesy.
Practical life exercises are fundamental to the whole program. They lay foundations for the 3 year old for their later activities in other areas. The activities are done not only for their own sake but also to develop inner iscipline, organization, independence and orderliness of the classroom.
Through manipulating specifically designed materials that isolate qualities such as colour, shape, order, dimension, distance, texture, temperature, volume, pitch, weight, taste, similarity and sequence the child is supported in their learning and discovery of their surroundings.
Refinement of fine motor skills, visual and auditory senses develop coordination and the ability to order and classify.
Language development is an integral part of all activities in the classroom and involves all areas of the environment. Spoken language forms the basis for the child’s written work and later understanding of what has been written i.e. reading.
To build the foundations necessary for literacy, phonetic sounds are introduced through materials called sandpaper letters, these develop a child’s fine motor and writing skills. The development of a child’s reading skills is through the use of the moveable alphabet, where simple phonetic words extend to more complex words, sentenced structure and grammar. The Children’s House presently offers 5 different spoken languages within the environment.
The program lays the foundation in maths concepts with concrete materials. The materials are designed to take children from a physical concept of numbers, through to an abstract level of
understanding of mathematics.
As the child explores spatial relationships, distance, grouping and quantity, the role of number s is developed through the use of equipment such as numbers rods, counters, spindles and the bead system.
This area is as wide and varied as possible. The study of Culture extends to and incorporates Art, History, Geography, Biology, Zoology, Botany and the Physical Sciences. By presenting and exposing other cultures and lifestyles, the child learns about the world they live in.
Throughout the year, music, dance, foods, language, and customs from various countries are explored, to give the child an opportunity to experience other cultures.