The Montessori curriculum includes education in Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Culture (plants and animals, geography, history and physical science), Music, Art, and Peace. Children are given one-on-one, small group and large group lessons in each of these areas, using concrete, tactile materials designed specifically for the child’s learning. Upon receiving a lesson, the child is then free to choose his or her own work from accessible shelves displaying each material.
Work in the Practical Life area prepares students for all other curriculum areas in the classroom. Lessons in Care of the Environment, Care of Self, Grace and Courtesy and Control of Movement introduce children to important life skills. These fundamental exercises also aid the child’s development of order, concentration, coordination and independence. Examples of lessons in Practical Life include pouring, tonging, sweeping, dish washing, folding, and buttoning.
Maria Montessori said: “The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge.” Work in the Sensorial area allows students to explore the world through the senses and thus, build the foundations of the child’s intellect. These materials are designed to guide children to discoveries about perceptions of color, dimension, taste, smell, weight, texture, shape and sound. Sensorial lessons are also an indirect preparation for lessons in Mathematics.
The Montessori Math materials provide students with a concrete, tactile understanding of numbers and math, setting up a strong foundation for later, abstract mathematical concepts. Work in the Montessori Math area include skills such as counting through (and beyond) 100, an overview of the decimal system, and extensive practice in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Work in the Language curriculum begins with developing and refining oral language skills and ends with advanced reading and writing. Children use a variety of materials, such as Sandpaper Letters and the Moveable Alphabet to learn basic, pre-reading skills in phonics and word building, while simultaneously developing hand strength and coordination for writing. These pre-reading and pre-writing works lay the foundation for later lessons in early readers, handwriting, expressive writing, and reading books.
Cultural work encourages children to observe, experience and discover the world around them. Generally speaking, studies in the cultural areas start with the big picture and gradually zoom in to the smaller details. Whenever possible, cultural studies begin with a concrete, real life example before moving on to the abstract. Some of the topics students at the Children’s House will explore include various plants and animals, cultures from around the world, and a variety of science experiments.
Creative expression, art and music appreciation, and art and music skills are an integral part of the Montessori curriculum and developing the whole child. Lessons in art and music are available to students, both during individual exploration and whole class circle-time.
Social and emotional development is a crucial component of the Montessori curriculum. We work to guide children toward finding peace within themselves so that they may act peacefully towards others and the environment. We utilize Montessorian Sonnie Mcfarland’s book titled Honoring the Light of the Child: Activities to Nurture Peaceful Living in the Early Elementary Classroom among other peaceful activities.