Children stay in the Children's House for 3 years, including the traditional “kindergarten year”
Montessori is a continuum of education that allows your child to build upon his/her experiences each year. In the first year, the days will be filled with activities centered around “Practical Life”. Here, he learns to sweep the floor, bake bread, polish silver and clean the leaves of plants. He experiments with sensorial materials that educate his visual, auditory and tactile senses. He plays vocabulary sound games and sings and dances when children gather for group activities.
As the child progresses, she is introduced to sounds and symbols which lay the groundwork for reading and writing in the future. She is introduced to numbers and the decimal system – with the most amazing concrete materials to show her the way. She learns about land and water forms, geometric figures, the political countries of the world; she learns about the parts of plants and animals and about music and art – at her own pace, in her own time.
It is during his third year that everything comes to fruition for your child. Reading, writing and mathematical understanding blossom from the many seeds that were planted in the previous two years. The child leaves the program with a strong set of academic skills; but, far more importantly, with the attitude that learning is fun, exciting and boundless.
Areas of the Curriculum
1. Practical Life The purpose of the activities of Practical Life is to help children gain control in the coordination of their movement and to help them gain independence and adapt to society. Practical Life exercises also aid the growth and development of children's intellect and concentration and will, in turn, also help them develop an orderly way of thinking. Practical Life exercises are meant to resemble everyday activities such as washing windows, folding napkins, grinding coffee, arranging flowers, and many others.
2. Sensorial The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is for children to acquire clear, conscious information and to be able to then make classifications in their environment. Through work with the sensorial materials, children are given the keys to classifying the things around them, which leads to them making their own experiences in their environment. Through the classification, children are also offered the first steps in organizing their intelligence, which then leads to them adapting to their environment.
The sensorial materials provide the first introduction to the refinement of visual skills such as discrimination of size, height, width and breadth dimensions, as well as aural, olfactory, oral and tactile discrimination.
3. Mathematics Ingenious manipulative materials and exercises help children experience number and operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) very concretely so that they are well prepared to move to the abstract.The concepts covered in the Children's House are numeration, the decimal system, computation, the arithmetic tables, whole numbers, fractions, and positive numbers.
4. Language The study of language is integrated into all areas of the curriculum. For example, children are exposed to names of geometric shapes, parts of the flower, the names of continents and oceans in the belief that a greater vocabulary enriches children's general knowledge but also aids them in the quest of learning to read. Children learn to read by recognizing individual sounds in words and associating them with letters and combinations of letters. Children progress through Montessori’s sequenced, phonetic language materials at their own pace.
5. Culture Children in the Children's House are very interested to learn about the world around them. The Montessori classroom provides experiences encompassing the subjects of science, zoology, geography, history and art.
6. Music Music is integrated into everyday activities. The aim is to develop a response to rhythm and melody, as well as a love and appreciation of music through activities such as group and individual singing, chanting, playing of rhythm instruments, listening and dancing. Music takes place daily at group time.
7. Art The art program is integrated into the regular Montessori environment. Some art projects reflect a current area of study. Children explore many materials while learning skills such as cutting with scissors, gluing, painting and drawing.
8. Movement Our program provides much opportunity for movement throughout the day, both indoors and outdoors. Children move around in their prepared environment in order and with purpose as they walk to the shelves to retrieve and put away materials, they gather water to scrub a table, or label objects around the room as a reading lesson. Outside, the children go for long walks, run and climb, work in our community gardens, etc.
9. Environmental Education The outdoor environment is a natural extension of the classroom. In our outdoor environments, children are able to continue to build their knowledge based on the sensorial experiences of nature and through constant contact with the seasons and the natural world. As a result, mental work and physical exercise are held in balance because of these experiences. Through these interactions with the outdoor environment children become more aware of nature and are better able to understand the needs of the world and how they can make a difference. Through activities such as plant care, gardening, composting, careful use of available resources (reducing, reusing and recycling), and respect for all animal life, children become socially responsible in the care of our planet.
This video, filmed by a young adult filmmaker who was himself a Montessori student through 6th grade, provides a great overview of the unique Montessori approach and the importance of our three year cycle.
Shot & Directed by Zac Potterfield Written by Jenny Isaacs & Barbette Robillard Music and Narration by Key Wilde