Educational Goals Pre School 3-6 years old
- Develop independence and self confidence
- Encourage choice, creativity, and imagination
- Build self-esteem
- Foster self-motivation
- Provide a sound academic base
- Enhance social development and cooperation
- Discover the joy of friendship and learning
In a Montessori environment, there is no specific, formal curriculum to be followed each day. A session’s activities fall into one or many of the following areas, which form an integrated, open-ended curriculum; one which permits each individual child to learn at his own pace, and maximize his interests in specific areas.
Practical life is best characterized as exercises in daily living. Using the child’s natural inclination as a point of departure, we structure several exercises for the classroom to help the child satisfy his need for meaningful activity. He washes clothes, polishes shoes, pours water, and sweeps the floor, as well as performing basic exercises in grace and courtesy.
Tasks considered ordinary by adults, such as vegetable preparation and washing dishes, are exciting to the child, because he is allowed to imitate adults. It is through these activities in the practical life area that the child develops order, concentration, coordination, independence, and self-confidence. Absorption in these activities gradually lengthens his attention span; they become more aware of details in following a regular sequence of actions. Good working habits are developed, as they learn their materials must be put away, before attempting another activity. These are areas of development, which indirectly and directly prepare the child for other areas in the curriculum.
Sensorial allows the child freedom for spontaneous discoveries, as he or she concentrates on the training of their senses. The equipment stimulates the child to refine discriminatory skills regarding form, size, color, weight, taste, texture, temperature, and sound.
Mathematics at our Montessori school begins in exercises using concrete materials. They learn to associate quantity and numerals, not only seeing the symbol, but holding the amount in their hand. Access to concrete mathematical equipment in the early years enables the child to more easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. Gradually, they move from the concrete toward the abstract, with exercises in the decimal system and mathematical operations. They work at their own rate, enabling them to fully utilize the concrete material to understand the abstract, and demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of arithmetic. Learning by discovery gives them the satisfaction of self-accomplishment.
For teaching language, we use sandpaper letters relative to sensorial experiences. A letter is traced with the fingers, until the child retains its shape. He or she is then ready to use their hand and finger muscles to reproduce a letter, thus utilizing muscle control and coordination developed during the practical life and sensorial stages. Names of the various pieces of equipment in the classroom become a part of everyday speech. Vocabulary is enriched, as the child works with exercises in identification and classification.
They are encouraged to converse with others in the classroom, and take part in group discussions. Materials used for developing language skills are basically concrete, manipulative objects. Simple words are formed with a moveable alphabet. In conjunction with the moveable alphabet, the child uses objects sounding out its name and selecting the appropriate letters. Once the child has mastered phonetics, he is well on his way into the abstract world of written and spoken language.
Geography is introduced to the child by acquainting them with direction inside the classroom: north, south, east, and west. They are exposed to the concept of an entire world using a globe then to their continent, country, and the state in which they live. We use wooden maps as puzzles in daily exercises.
Land formations are sensorial experiences acquired early in the geography curriculum. Manipulating landforms and water, the child makes an island, a peninsula, or an isthmus. Later, they become able to locate similar formations on the maps.
We present different areas in the world to the child, comparing their basic needs and similarities. Beyond location, direction, and size, the child is exposed to a country’s life style, clothing, food, and shelter. Science, botany, and history are taught concurrently, as the child becomes acquainted with varying types of vegetation, animal life, soil, and weather. It is our goal to provide the child with a positive awareness of people’s common needs and an understanding of the relationship among continents, and the countries within them.
Science in the Montessori environment enables the child to become more aware of the world around them. They explore the mystery of living and non-living things, identification and classification of plants, leaf formations, and rocks. Simple experiments are used whenever possible to assist the child in his efforts to understand his environment. The child is introduced to the 5 animal kingdoms, parts of the human body, including the skeletal system and body organs. They also learn about the calendar, seasons and telling time. Our science curriculum is very diverse including the solar system, cloud formations, vertebrates and invertebrates, life cycles of plants and animals.
Art gives the child an opportunity to express himself creatively. Various media are at his disposal, throughout the school year, to give him free choice in his exploration. Projects for the most part unstructured may also be undertaken to stimulate the spontaneous, creative abilities of the young child.