Curriculum

The different areas of the Montessori curriculum are outlined below. All quotations cited are written by Dr. Maria Montessori.

Practical Life

Before a child reaches the age of three, the highest form of work and the most enobling that engages him is that of arranging furniture and putting things in order, and it is also the one that calls for the greatest activity.

The Practical Life area is the basic foundation for the learning process. It gives the children concrete materials for abstract ideas. The works show left to right activities to ready the child for reading and writing. It also gives the children the opportunity to practice real life exercises so that they may develop the skills to succeed at these procedures. These skills include: focus, coordination, concentration, order, imitation, repetition, responsibility, with attention to detail, independence, balance, grace, creativity, courtesy, and self-expression. All of these skills are vital to the development of children so they will be prepared to learn abstract ideas without the concrete materials in the future.

Sensorial


The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge.

The Sensorial materials offer the child a guide to observing and understanding the world. The child works with materials that are designed to train and refine the senses in isolation of one sense. The Sensorial lessons are divided by the different sense it improves: visual, tactile, stereognostic, thermic, baric, auditory, gustatory, and olfactory. These materials help the child in giving him tools for observation to learn from the world around us.

Mathematics


This is all the material that we have deemed to be necessary for laying the foundations of counting and arithmetical operations.

The Math area first introduces children to quantities and numerals from one to ten. When the child has developed and refined his senses through the sensorial materials, the Montessori math sequence continues with simple numbers, followed by teen numbers, tens and exchanging, and counting up to 100. Once the child knows his numbers up to 100, the sequence has three different directions. First, the child can start simple operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Secondly, the child can learn skip counting, an abstraction of multiplication, which teaches them to count to one thousand. Lastly, the child can learn the decimal system: units, tens, hundreds, and thousands in a concrete material. With this knowledge, the child can then begin to perform operations in 4-digit form.

Language

The children follow in each design essentially the same movements and acquire a varied collection of pictures which grow more and more prefect, and of which they are very proud. For I not only provoke, but prefect, the writing though the exercises which we call preparatory. In this way, my children perfect themselves in writing, without actually writing.

The Language area has many facets to interest the child in learning English. These facets include the sounds of the language, the pincer grip required for writing, the vocabulary, and literature to start the sequence of reading. Once the child begins putting the sounds together to read words, the reading sequence is: picture to word, just the word, mixed vowels, lists of words, action words, sentences, and books. Children have a sensitive period for learning language. To help this effortless absorbing acquisition, the prepared environment of the classroom surrounds children with correct grammar and spelling in all words, cards, and books they see.

Cultural Studies

At this stage of development, the child turns his or her attention to the external world, and observes it with an order which is the order formed in their mind during the period of preceding development; they begin spontaneously to make a series of careful and logical comparisons which represent a veritable spontaneous acquisition of 'knowledge.'

The Cultural Studies area has many topics: Geography, Botany, Zoology, Art, Music, Science, and Foreign Language.

Geography is the study of the physical world, and in the classroom the child learns the attributes of land, water, and air. The child then learns the continents of land on our planet. From there, he learns what a country is, and the different countries in each continent.

To start the Botany and Zoology area, the child first learns how to distinguish what is living and non-living. Then, after classifying what is living, they categorize between what is a plant or an animal.

In Botany the child learns about the parts of plants, their needs for life, and how they reproduce. The child learns different types of plants: trees, flowers, and food. Also, he learns about leaves and their different shapes.

In Zoology the child learns from the animals. They will determine which animals are vertebrates and which are invertebrates. In the vertebrate phylum, he learns the families of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, and fish.

Art, music, and science are all interwoven into each area of the curriculum. Each study and each lesson can have a variation of it to be played as music, scientific experiment to be question and answered, or drawn in art.

Foreign Language will be studied in relevance to the unit study, and a few times a week songs and games will be taught in circle time.