The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach, based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. The Montessori Method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.
The Montessori environment is set up so the child is given freedom to choose their own work, which aids in the developent of independence, self discipline and cultivates his/her own natural desire to learn.
The classroom is prepared for the size and interest of the child with materials placed on low shelves within easy reach of all children.
Children work independently, or with another child.
The Montessori classroom is divided into five main areas of focus:
Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Geography.
Practical Life Area
Practical life is the foundation of the Montessori classroom. It meets the basic needs of the child to gain self-confidence, independence, concentration,sequence and order, and movement coordination. The child learns to take care of themselves, others and their environment.
Sensorial incorporates the child exploring characteristics such as size, shapes, colors, weight, etc. through their senses. Each sensorial material will focus on one quality, such as size (biggest to smallest) as the child builds the pink tower. The sensorial materials will also build the child's vocabulary as they learn the names of colors, geometry shapes, geometric figures and dimensional differences. The child begins to pay more attention to detail by observing and relating new information to what they know.
Language is everywhere in the Montessori environment. The child will continue to expand their vocabulary through spoken langauge; through conversations, being introduced to new lessons and talking with their friends.
Writing and reading begins with phonics. Sound games will be played at the beginning to help the child hear and distinguish beginning, middle and ending sounds of works. Sandpaper letters are next introduced to connect the sounds to their symbols. The child is able to hear, trace and see each sound. Now the child is ready to begin writing with the moveable alphabet, forming words by sounding out the word and connecting the appropriate letters together. As the child advances, blends and phonograms will be introduced. Reading will begin as the child continues to work with the movable alphabet. The child will integrate their language skills to all areas of the environment.
Math begins with understanding concepts first, then moving into abstraction. The Montessori Math curriculum is hands-on beginning with learning quantities and symbols from 1-10. From there, the child will begin working with the decimal system learning quantites and symbols 1-9,999. The child is excited to gather large quantities on their tray. Learning the concepts of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multipliction, and division) begin with the decimal system working with four digit numbers. As the child progresses, each math manipulative becomes a little more of a challenge moving into abstraction.
Georgaphy opens the world to the child. Learning about their world is exciting. The child will learn about the different land and water forms (lakes, islands, strait, isthmus, peninsula, gulf, etc.) by pouring them and learning their names The Montessori environment has large continent maps for the child to build. As the child progresses, language will be added by learning the continent names and their countries. The child will learn about different cultures, animals and food of the world.