The Montessori Environment
The Montessori Method incorporates instruction in six areas
- Practical Life
- Sensorial Activities
Practical Life activities teach children life skills, such as hygiene, care of the person and environment, pouring, ordering, sewing, cleaning etc., along with confidence that comes from “ Doing it Myself”, these activities promote motor control, sequencing, and concentration, all skills needed for more traditional academic subjects such as math and writing.
Sensorial Activities help children to become Masters of their environment. By using all of their senses (e.g vision, hearing, tactile, taste and smell) the child will thoroughly understand his/her environment
Sensorial activities make abstract ideas concrete. For example., working with magnetic and non-magnetic items or manipulating various 3-D geometric shapes over and over will seeing, touching, and hearing the name of the solid will make it easier for them to learn higher level concepts.
The younger students will begin to learn number concepts through rhymes, songs, poems, and activities. When the children are ready to make relationships between the words and the concept of the number, the Guide will help the child through concrete activities, to gain understanding of math symbols, quantities, sets, math functions and more
This videos shows one of our guides, chiquie, working with an older student
Beginning with verbal presentations, pictures, and map, this area progresses to sensorial experience and memory work so that the child becomes aware of different cultures, language, and spiritual beliefs. On a more concrete level, the children will experiment with a variety of fauna, flora and landforms
The youngest children work on vocabulary enrichment and sentence development. Older children develop reading readiness skills by learning letter sounds and their shapes, which will enable them to construct words, with a strong emphasis on phonics. The children then progress into writing and reading skills.
Expression activities include arts, crafts, music and plant care. The children are encouraged to create freely with materials – and create they do! Musically, we focus on developing of a sense melody and rhythm through the use of instruments and song. Care of plants develops a commonality and responsibility to the Earth. Children learn about the life cycle of plants, where vegetables and fruits come from, and what living things need to grow.
Welcome to the Primary Classrooms!
Children enrolled for the Montessori classes arrive at the school as early as 8:30 am. When children arrive they are warmly greeted by one of the staff and encouraged to remove their footwear and put away their bags and lunch boxes. With many of the youngest children, help from an adult or older child is often needed. The ultimate goal of all activities in the classroom and school is for the child to learn to accomplish the task independently. Once this is achieved, the child not only experiences the freedom and confidence that comes with self-sufficiency, but he/ she now has the ability to help a friend.
Once inside the classroom the children are free to choose activities that have been specifically designed for their use. During the first part of the year the children are invited to circle at the beginning of each school day. During this time the children attend large group lessons, share thoughts and ideas, problem solve, and play educational games. This is also a time when teachers may read out loud to the students. At the end of circle the “work cycle” begins and the children are free to choose work from the environment. As the year progresses the children begin to assimilate to the environment and circle takes place at the end of the morning. This practice avoids interruption of the children once they are engaged.
Upon entering the classrooms during the “work cycle”, newcomers to the environment are often surprised at how engaged the children are in their respective activities. One quickly notices how independently and cooperatively that the children are working. It is not uncommon to see the teacher giving a lesson to a few students while the rest of the children work intently in different areas of the classroom.
Each classroom is equipped with classic Montessori materials and materials made by the teacher that follow the Montessori curriculum. These didactic materials are developmentally designed to allow the children to learn from doing. During the work cycle teachers present lessons using the materials, and the children, through using the materials, are able to absorb fundamental concepts for language, mathematics, sensory development, cultural studies (science, geography and history), and every day living skills.
After the morning work cycle the children gather and begin to transition to the outdoor environment. The playground, is a beautiful and spacious outdoor area, equipped with swing sets, a climbing structure, sandbox and vegetable and flower gardens. In addition to outdoor play, teachers use the outdoor environment for educational purposes, as the Montessori curriculum emphasizes contact and exploration of the natural world.
For younger children enrolled in Level I, pick-up is done at the gate as the outdoor play time winds to an end. For Children staying for Level II and III, lunch is eaten after outdoor play, followed by a quiet time or naptime for those who need it. The afternoon work cycle begins after quiet time and is a time for further exploration and learning. At 3.30 pm children are ready to go home