Choose Montessori,Choose Education for Life.
Montessori curriculum is based on the research and findings of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952).Montessori's method is structured around promoting the child's natural, self-initiated impulse to become absorbed in an environment and to learn from it. Based on her observations, Dr. Montessori developed specific materials, techniques and curriculum areas that assist each child in reaching his or her full potential. The materials introduce concepts that increase in complexity and abstraction as the child progresses through the years. The Montessori philosophy is based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world and to spiritual values such as compassion and peace.
All the materials in a Montessori classroom are organized into the following major curriculum areas:
The exercises in Practical Life are the very heart of Montessori education. The Practical Life section lays the foundation for all other work to be done in the classroom. The activities are everyday tasks such as pouring, sweeping, polishing and tying, as well as grace and courtesy. These exercises satisfy the child's need to imitate adult behavior. The exercises help the child grow into a confident and independent person. Practical Life exercises have individual developmental objectives like concentration, calmness, cooperation, order, self-discipline, and self-reliance. Practical Life exercises also have social objectives, such as self-awareness, sensitivity to others and service to community.
First learning is through the senses, so Montessori schools use a range of well thought-out activities to help children sort, match and compare objects by shape, size, touch, taste and sound. These sensorial experiences boost children's powers of observation and discrimination. They also broaden their vocabulary and contribute to their later understanding of formal educational concepts, moving from concrete to abstract. The physical training of the senses forms a foundation for the internal reasoning (thinking).
'The aim(of sensorial exercises) is an inner one, namely,that the child train himself to observe; that he be led to make comparison's 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.'
Language development in a Montessori class is a process, not just a set of materials. The environment is designed so that all activities feed naturally towards the development of the skills required for learning language,writing and reading. The Montessori reading curriculum has three essential components: a strong foundation in phonics, comprehension based on visualization and whole language, and learning to read for meaning and using context clues. This multi-sensory approach is unique in that it has children building words (encoding) before actually reading them (decoding).
Even from as early as infancy the development of the mathematical mind is observed when the child knows the bottle is empty, half full, how far his hand should go to reach an object etc. Children naturally have an interest in all aspects of mathematics- weight, order, system, series, time, quantities, symbols and so forth. We can serve the mathematical mind by feeding this interest giving sensorial experiences first, and only then their representatives on paper i.e., moving from concrete to abstract.
Mathematics in the Montessori classroom can be separated into a few major categories: beginning counting, advanced counting, the decimal system, rational numbers (fractions) and the operations of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. With the Montessori materials concepts are presented in a very concrete way.Children aged three to six are not only able to count, but skip-count, square numbers and work with numbers in thousands as well. Once the child has a firm foundation in the operations of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division, memorization of facts is introduced.
When a person eats an apple and says it tastes a little sweet, a little sour etc, we can only try to understand the taste. An apple tastes neither sweet nor sour. Its taste can only be understood by tasting with our tongue. In the same way for a Montessori child, math is not an understanding. It's not a concept but an experience. The child just knows it!
'Let us give the world to the child,so let us sow seeds for all the subjects for the child because she is sensitive to everything at this time.'
Cultural studies in a Montessori class include a variety of materials in botany, zoology, geography, physical science, history, art, movement, and music, along with respect for different cultures and people.
Geography: The geography curriculum has two basic objectives: first, to give the child a sense of spatial orientation through the intense use of the materials; second, to encourage the child to become aware of and accept other cultures. The study of geography is divided into the following conceptual lines:
Science (Botany, Zoology, Physical):
The Montessori approach to science cultivates children's fascination with the universe and helps them develop a lifelong interest in observing nature and discovering more about the world in which they live. Lessons and experiences with nature inspire a reverence for all life. The child feels sheer joy in seeing how life evolves and develops and how a seed grows. Something big and new coming out of a small seed ! This helps a child develop respect for his or her world and the creatures living in it.
'If the idea of the universe is presented in the right way,it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder,a feeling loftier than any present and more satisfying.'