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.
THE 5 AREAS OF MONTESSORI METHOD
The exercises for practical life are designed to teach the child to function in their own environment by teaching them how to interact with the things around them. The practical life area prepares the child indirectly for all other areas of the curriculum with order, concentration, coordination and independence. Practical life exercises include pouring, sorting, food preparation, care of self (hand washing, teeth brushing, grooming), care of the environment (table washing, floor scrubbing, dusting, polishing).
Sensorial exercise deal with developing the five senses. By developing the five senses, the child develops intelligence and independence. Dr. Montessori wrote, “The aim (of sensorial exercises) is an inner one, namely, that the child train himself to observe; that he be led to make comparisons between objects, to form judgments, to reason and to decide; and it is in the indefinite repetition of this exercise of attention and of intelligence that a real development ensues.” The sensorial area also includes geometry as the subject is introduced to the child through their senses.
At the 3-6 age level, language exercises train the child to focus on sounds and noises and to discriminate between them. Writing is included in the language area of the classroom. The elementary child focuses on classifying and organizing language.
We begin with manipulatives, then slowly lead into abstract concepts. Mathematics is the science of numbers. Montessori mathematics focuses on numeration, the decimal system, and geometry. Our base ten system encourages the child to sequence and order his work. Beginning with numbers 1-10, 11-99, and 1-1000, the children learn linear counting and recognition of numerals, which then leads into addition, subtraction, multiplication and division concepts. This is done through fun activities which involve lots of movement, manipulatives and group work. As the child matures, individual work is encouraged and abstract learning begins to take place.
Cultural subjects include history, geography, art, physical science, cosmology, music and physical movement. The aim of studying culture is to allow the child to experience their place in the universe. They begin by exploring similarities between their culture and others, and then have appreciation and respect for differences. They learn how all beings are fundamentally related and discover ways to feel they are significant beings in this world.