Overview of the Montessori Curriculum Areas
The goal of Montessori education is to encourage independence, love of learning and a positive sense of self in a prepared environment. Each child is encouraged to function independently at his/her own developmental rate. In the traditional 3-year pre-primary Montessori program, the child is exposed to areas that enhance independent thought, concentration, order and creativity. In this environment, the child has the opportunity to develop academically, socially and emotionally, to his/her full potential and to become the person they are to become.
Practical Life (Everyday Living)
Practical Life activities are designed to develop a child’s coordination and independence. Through repeated use of activities such as spooning, pouring, twisting, squeezing and sewing, a child works toward mastery of these skills. Materials also focus on care of the environment, care of the person and grace and courtesy. A sense of order and concentration are promoted through the use of materials in this area.
Montessori Sensorial Curriculum
The goal of the Sensorial Curriculum is for the child to become an acute observer and to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world around him. This is done by offering the child beautifully designed materials that isolate concepts of size, color, form, touch, taste, weight, temperature, etc. Each of the human senses is called upon in isolation, thus helping to refine the child’s acuity.
The materials begin with simple activities such as matching colors that are the same, building towers of cubes by using the ability to visually discriminate the various sizes of the cubes, and learning the names of geometric figures. The work progresses to more complex materials such as the names of polygons and quadrilaterals and discovering the triangle as the constructor of other shapes. The Montessori Sensorial Curriculum is rich in discovery, manipulation and language enrichment.
Montessori Language Skills
Dr. Montessori saw the road to reading as a dual path that involved the education of the hand and the education of the mind. Building upon language skills such as listening, understanding and basic speech patterns which she has previously acquired, the child moves on to hear and analyze both the sounds and the meaning of language. By using language in the classroom through listening, story telling, reading and dramatic play, a child develops a love of literature, good communication skills and a strong self-esteem. Materials throughout the classroom offer the child many opportunities to development the refinement of the hand by calling for careful attention to detail and the use of small muscles. Fine motor coordination is also enhanced through manipulating writing instruments, cutting, drawing, writing and opportunities for creative, artistic expression.
Montessori Mathematics Area
In the Montessori Mathematics area, the child is introduced to math concepts and experiences using concrete materials in the environment. Different from traditional mathematics instruction, the abstractions are introduced through sensorial, manipulative experiences that call for the child to order, discriminate, distinguish, make judgments and problem solve. Dr. Montessori designed beautiful, yet simple materials for her Math Curriculum. Each material was designed to isolate one concept. The isolated concepts build on one another throughout the curriculum to develop and expand the child’s mathematical understanding and experience.