A quality Montessori classroom has a busy, productive atmosphere where joy and respect abound. Within such an enriched environment, freedom, responsibility, social, and intellectual development spontaneously flourishes!
All sensorial materials are constructed for fine motor manipulation. It is with these materials that a child will learn to compare, contrast, and differentiate various sense impressions. It is the beginning of a child’s “conscious knowledge” of his environment. The use of hands, plays an important role in early education. Doing these activities that use the fine motor skills assists the child in discovering that perseverance produces positive results. Improving dexterity strengthens concentration and assists in character development during the learning process.
The language materials include objects and pictures to be named, matched, labeled, and classified to aid vocabulary development. Textured letters allow the child to feel and see the alphabet, while the movable alphabet leads the child towards reading. Once the child begins to blend sounds to make words, a variety of materials are available, ranging from simple three-letter words and short-vowel sound words to materials designed to teach long-vowel sound words, phonograms, and part of speech. A wide variety of reading materials are used to gain proficiency and a love for reading.
Math is a concrete experience in the Montessori classroom. The children are constantly manipulating objects in their efforts to understand number concepts. For example, the child does not merely learn to count; he understands the concept because he holds it in his hands. The early materials are designed to teach the very basics such as the quantity and symbols of the numbers one to ten. Spindle boxes allow the child to see what “nothing” or zero looks like. Moving towards the more advanced materials such as bead bars teach concepts ranging from units, tens, hundreds, and thousands to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Cultural and Science Areas
(Geography, History, Anatomy, Botany, Zoology, and Science)
The objectives of these areas are to help the child become aware of, appreciate, and understand the diversity of the world. These lessons provide the child with a store of factual information and impressions of various cultures, land formations, ecosystems, and the interrelationship of all parts of the earth. The child is given an introduction to these subjects through the use of puzzles, discovery and experimentation, activities with objects from other countries, and international celebrations. Songs and stories are incorporated into daily routines as we “travel” the globe and learn about these subjects.
Other Academic Areas
In addition to the regular academic subjects, the curriculum includes classes on a weekly basis in Spanish, art, music, cooking, and computers.