A MONTESSORI CLASSROOM
When your child enters a Montessori classroom, their environment is immediately broadened through a wider sphere of activities than would be present at home.
The Montessori classroom is a child-sized environment that offers your child a means of exploration, continuing development of movement, independent functioning, language development, and positive social development.
Your child needs a place offering every opportunity to develop into the individual he or she is destined to be by virtue of their own efforts.
Pure Fun - Yoga Class
Practical Life learning
Pure Fun - Karate class
5 year old graduation
The lessons of Practical Life provide the basis of all the work in the Primary classroom. This is the area of Montessori education that helps the children connect to the world around them. Children engage with a variety of objects that they encounter at home. These materials highlight real life tasks such as: apple and cheese slicing, polishing silver, and using a zipper or buttons, which all foster order, coordination, concentration, and ultimately, independence. Through these activities, children learn that caring for their environment, dressing, and eating, as well as lessons of grace and courtesy are essential to the foundation created each day.
On an academic level, many of these activities that foster fine motor skills are paving the way for activities like writing. Polishing and pouring, meanwhile, promote hand-eye coordination, which will also ultimately support his or her ability to read and write. Each task is broken down in to individual steps, which contribute to the child’s ability to use logical thinking. These activities enable each child to contribute to his or her group and to feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment and increased self-esteem.
Young children are continually using their senses to explore their environment. The beautifully designed sensorial materials in a Montessori classroom help support and reinforce this exploration. Learning often occurs through the senses and each lesson will help children focus on one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, or smell. Through careful observation and manipulation, a child will discover the intricate details that enable each piece of material to be unique. Each lesson will help the child to develop a sense of order, refine their perception, and broaden their experiences in the environment.
The Sensorial materials allow the child the time and space they need to more fully understand how the world works and to awaken new sensorial experiences that were previously unexplored. The nature of these objects also provides students of varying ages and abilities continual opportunities to challenge themselves. Exposure to these hands-on manipulatives and exercises sets up the child to more easily grasp the abstract and advanced concepts they’ll encounter later on in their education.
The Montessori classroom is a “language-rich” environment that fosters the development of vocabulary, communication skills, writing, and reading. Students then move on to composing words, sentences, and stories so the process of learning to read is seamless and exciting. Skills gained in Practical Life and Sensorial work help prepare the child for writing and reading. Each work in the classroom encourages the use of the three-finger grip necessary to hold a pencil; the children are given many opportunities to perfect fine-motor control needed for precise handwriting.
The sensitive period for language begins at birth and lasts through age five, with the most intense years naturally occurring between ages two and five. Children in a Montessori classroom begin by engaging in games of “I spy” and memory games to build vocabulary and to hone in on visual and perceptual abilities. Eventually, students move on to sandpaper letters, in which they become familiar with letters by tracing the sandpaper shape with the first two fingers of the right hand. The child’s mind absorbs the shape through the hand, which will ultimately deliver the image. In other areas of the classroom, children engage with tracing, then filling in metal inset shapes, an activity that also develops the eye-hand coordination necessary to correctly grasp a pencil. Ultimately the child will be introduced to the moveable alphabet – in which he or she constructs words without writing. During these activities, the child’s imagination and creativity are also being fostered. Through this freedom and natural progression, each child individually displays readiness for spontaneous writing.
Montessori approach to teaching math focuses on putting concrete objects into the children’s hands in order for them to experience abstract concepts through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic experiences, rather than just a verbal explanation that is too difficult for their young minds to understand.
The math materials isolate one concept for the child to absorb. The materials are hands-on and concrete and represent all types of quantities, which the child is free to manipulate as he or she counts. The child not only sees the quantities for 1, 10, 100, etc., but he or she can hold them in his or her hand. Later, the child is shown the written symbol, or number, for that quantity. This process allows the child to develop a clear inner image of mathematical concepts that may otherwise seem too abstract. After years of working with these materials, as the child moves toward more abstract thinking, the knowledge becomes second nature.
When the child is ready for mathematical operations like addition, he/she can actually perform the operation with the concrete materials. There are a variety of materials the child can use for the same operation. These activities not only maintain the child’s interest but allows for many repetitions. In this way, the tables are memorized and the child gains a true understanding of the operation. The Montessori approach also allows children to apply their knowledge in real-life: children are encouraged to use their newfound math skills while helping out with cooking, shopping, or working outside.
The culture of the Montessori classroom includes geography, history, botany, biology, science, art, and music. Children begin exploring these concepts through direct hands-on experiences. They learn the continents through songs and puzzles. To further deepen their learning, they construct their maps of the world. Next, they study different cultures, including food, clothing, shelter – the three basic needs of man. In the third year, the children’s inquiries and explorations become deeper, including land and water forms, indigenous animal species, and natural resources. Botany and biology study begins with learning the parts of a flower or animal species. Hands-on activities include cultivating plants, tapping maple trees for sap, and observing the life cycle of live butterflies in each classroom.
Experiences outside of the classroom include visits to The Audubon, the Discovery Museum, and musical theater. In-house field trips include drumming circles and performance artists. All children attend weekly French and creative movement classes. Families are given the option to enroll in weekly group music classes or piano lessons.