What is Montessori?
The Montessori method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, a physician and educator in the early 1900's. At the cornerstone of her educational philosophy is the belief that children learn best at their own pace in a noncompetitive environment. Our environment allows the child freedom of movement within a setting which has been specially prepared to accommodate the avid exploration of children.
How does Montessori differ from traditional schools?
In most schools, the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher. In a Montessori setting the children learn concepts spontaneously as they work independently with the many materials in the classroom.
All children pass through phases of physical and mental development. During these "sensitive periods", learning occurs naturally and quickly because their ability to acquire these new skills is at its peak. Sensitive periods occur at different, unpredictable times for each child and it is in the Montessori classroom that your children may follow their own natural instincts and curiosities toward successful learning.
A good preschool/kindergarten Montessori school provides a solid and balanced program for age 3 - 6.
Subject areas typically include:
*Practical Life (Including: Care of Self, Care of the Environment, Grace & Courtesy)
*Language / Preparation for Reading
*Science (Including: Botany & Zoology)
*Cultural Geography (Including: Music, Cooking & Crafts)
Extra subjects that we include are:
*Foreign Language (American Sign Language)
*Music & Movement
*Art History / Appreciation
In the Montessori classroom, learning materials are arranged invitingly on low, open shelves. Children may choose whatever materials they would like to use and may work for as long as the material holds their interest. Moreover, the materials are self-correcting (they have 'control of error'). When a piece does not fit or is left over, the child easily perceives the error. There is no need for adult "correction." The child is able to solve problems independently, building self-confidence, analytical thinking, and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. When they are finished with each material, they return it to the shelf from which it came. The materials themselves invite activity. There include bright arrays of solid geometric forms, knobbed puzzle maps, colored beads, and various specialized rods and blocks. The classroom is set up in subject areas that include: practical life, sensorial, math, language, science, geography, art & music. Scroll through the different subject areas below to read about each one in greater detail.
The practical life area in the Montessori classroom is filled with activities to help the child learn real life skills. These are practical activities such as pouring water or cutting a banana. The practical life materials are very bright and attractive especially to the younger children in the classroom and they have many added benefits that will help in their future endeavors. As an example, there are many works that require the child to use a tool such as tweezers which help to develop her fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This will aid in her pencil grip for writing. Many of the pouring works give an introduction to mathematical principles as well. A child may have to pour from one large container to two smaller ones introducing the concepts of fractions and dividing. A very popular bonus in this area is that the child learns quite a bit about clean up! When some of the water that a child is pouring spills, she goes to the clean up shelf, gets a sponge and the clean up bucket and takes care of her mess. Clean up is not seen as a chore, rather, as a part of the work (often the most fun part!)