The Montessori materials cover developmental activities designed to meet the needs of children in five curriculum areas:
- Practical life skills
- Sensorial activities
- Cultural Studies
Practical Life activities develop independence, fine and gross motor skills, social skills and confidence. These are genuinely useful jobs that keep the work environment neat and tidy, and allow the children to learn using their imagination as they are working with real things.
On first entering the nursery class, children are given the opportunity to develop important life skills which will allow them greater freedom in the classroom. The children pour liquids, polish silver, wash tables, sweep, and in doing so, are developing calmness, order, concentration, coordination and fine motor skills. At the same time, through the process of learning to meet their own needs, learning to take care of the classroom environment and through the experience of helping others, children in Montessori programs begin to develop independence, self-confidence, and self-respect.
Advanced Practical Life activities expand a student’s concentration and help him pay attention to detail. They further improve the student’s fine motor skills, independence, grace and courtesy and give him pride in his work. Students learn to show respect for the environment, class mates and teachers which leads to strong self esteem, self confidence and self control.
First learning is done through the senses and the Montessori Sensorial material cover a range of well thought-out exercises to help children sort, match and compare objects by shape, size, touch, taste and sound. These early sensorial impressions boost the children’s powers of observation and deduction, broaden their vocabulary and contribute to their later understanding of formal educational concepts.
The Sensorial materials lay a solid foundation for mathematics, geometry, geography, botany, art and music.
The materials are self-correcting and so the children become comfortable with the fact that errors are essential to the process of learning.
Mathematics is about understanding relationships in the environment and being able to express them in abstract terms. In the nursery class, Montessori materials such as the number rods, spindle boxes and golden beads provide step-by-step learning. The children learn to count, associate quantity and numerals, and gain a sensorial impression of the decimal system.
Once again the materials are self-correcting, which means that children can see at a glance if they have made a mistake. Each child progresses at his or her own rate and understands each stage before they move on to the next.
Maths at the Primary and Elementary level is made up of many little details that form a whole, but each detail is complete unto itself. All early maths exercises are worked at the sensorial level so as to ensure that the child relates the quantity to the symbol (example: spindle boxes).
1. Numbers to Ten: The foundation of maths is numbers to ten. The exercises in this section must be firmly rooted in the child before continuing through the math materials. The child learns the names of the numbers and the fact that each number represents a certain quantity. The child learns to associate the language, written symbol and quantity of each number from 0 to 9.
2. The Decimal System: The Decimal System introduces the child to the bead materials and the associated cards for each category. The child learns that zero can give a greater value to a number and also learns the language of the larger numbers. The child then learns how to change (10 units/ones change for 1 ten), and gives them a sensorial impression of addition, multiplication, subtraction, division and the relationship between the operations.
3. The Teens and Tens: The section on Teens and Tens works parallel to the association of beads and cards. The child learns to associate quantities, names and symbols of the teens and tens. This section finishes off by consolidating the child's knowledge when he works on the linear and skip counting of the square and cube chains from the bead cabinet.
4. The Exploration and Memorization of Tables: This section focuses on the exploration and memorization of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables. The materials in this area give the child the opportunity to explore essential number combinations for each mathematical operation and continue to move the child towards less concrete materials.
5. Fractions: The last section of the maths area introduces the child to fractions and has the child explore the materials in order to discover the rules of each fraction operation.
Our language materials are based on a carefully structured phonic approach to writing and reading. At first the children learn sensorially by tracing sandpaper letters with their fingers while being told the sounds. Soon, they are writing simple words with the moveable alphabet, matching words with objects and reading their first pink three letter words and then phonic reading books.
In the Elementary class the development of language continues through the study of grammar, creative writing, comprehension exercises and cursive writing. The school follows the Ginn Reading Scheme and the children are encouraged to take books home to read with their parents.
Children learn to value reading for pleasure.
"Insatiable at this age is the child's thirst for words, and inexhaustible his capacity for learning them.” Maria Montessori
Culture Studies bring an awareness that everything in the universe is connected and all components depend on one another. This forms a ‘whole’ that works in harmony; we are part of this whole and our contribution towards the well being of this whole is important.
Children use globes, puzzle maps and flags, which help them to build their understanding of other countries, cultures and people. They use pictures and name cards to match, classify and name the elements and species of the natural world.
Classroom plant-growing and caring for pets help to form a bridge between the child’s knowledge of the immediate environment and the wider world.
The Elementary curriculum introduces history through the Five Great Lessons; the story of the universe, life coming to earth, the coming of humans, the story of writing (language) and the story of numbers (mathematics).