The Montessori Learning Centre will provide curriculum in the following areas:
Practical Life Exercises
“A child’s work”, Dr. Montessori wrote, “is to create the man he will become. An adult works to perfect the environment but a child works to perfect himself.”
Several of the Practical Life Exercises involve the use of water with which most children naturally like to play. Carrying the water in a pitcher and pouring it into a basin helps the child to perfect his coordination. As he becomes absorbed in an activity such as scrubbing a tabletop, he gradually lengthens his span of concentration. He also learns to pay attention to details as he follows a regular sequence of actions. Finally, he learns good working habits as he finishes each task and puts away all his materials before beginning another activity.
Although the Practical Life Exercises may seem simple and commonplace, they are actually a very important part of the Montessori program. Each of the tasks helps the child to perfect his coordination so that he will be able to work later with the more intricate academic materials. No learning takes place without concentration and attention. The child prepares to learn by performing exercises that help him to gradually lengthen the time in which he can focus his attention on a specific activity.
The Sensorial Materials in the Montessori classroom help the child to become aware of details by offering him, at first, strongly contrasted sensations, such as red and blue, and than variously graded sensations, such as many different shapes of blue. Each of the Sensorial Materials isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, smell, etc. The equipment emphasizes this one particular quality by eliminating or minimizing other differences. Thus, the sound boxes are all the same size, same shape, same color, and same texture; they differ only in the sounds, which are made when the child shakes them.
The Montessori Sensorial Materials help the child to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what he already knows. Dr. Montessori believed that this process is the beginning of conscious knowledge. It is brought about by the intelligence working in a concentrated way on the impressions by the senses.
Dr. Montessori believed that the young child has a natural sensitivity for language development, which follows closely on the years when he or she learns to speak his or her native language. The child at three, four, and five has a unique fascination for words, both printed and spoken. This fascination often enables him to begin reading and writing before the age at which it is traditionally taught.
The individual presentation of language materials in a Montessori classroom allows the teacher to take advantage of each child’s greatest periods of interest. Reading instruction can begin on the day when the child wants to know what a word says, or when he or she shows interest in using the sandpaper letters. Writing, or the construction of words with movable letters, nearly always precedes reading in a Montessori environment.
Dr. Montessori demonstrated that if children have access to mathematical equipment in their early years, they can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. On the other hand, these same facts and skills may require long hours of drudgery and drill if they are introduced to them later in the abstract form.
Dr. Montessori designed concrete materials to represent all types of quantities, after she observed that children who become interested in counting like to touch or move items and enumerate them. By combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, counting it, and comparing it, they can demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of mathematics.
The French program is based on an oral comprehension of the language. The children learn vocabulary and conversational skills, while singing songs and playing games.
The curriculum is based on the Montessori Method and aims to teach students greetings, the alphabet, numbers, family members, manners, etiquette , and words of their school environment and surroundings.
Other topics and vocabulary studies include geometry, health, people, directions, foods, time & calendar, weather, animals, science, and reading/oral communication.
Physical and Health Education
Health and Nutrition: The children study the four basic food groups and learn what their bodies need in order to stay healthy. Information about health and nutrition is incorporated casually, but persistently, and this information leads to cooking activities. This helps children understand the value that good food has for our bodies and aids them in learning how they can take care of their body by eating healthy.Therefore, because of the intense gratification involved, children will participate in snack planning and food preparation.
At the Montessori school, the importance of physical fitness is recognized and we offer our children opportunities for movement through dance, drama, and sports.
We are also very proud to have developed a strong relationship and joint programming with Gymtrix. We have been utilizing their facilities and experienced staff to deliver safe and fun gymnastics education for over 10 years. This program is offered each semester and is optional.
Yoga for Young Children
Yoga is a natural movement. In fact, it is just like children’s play time: absorbing, engaging, relaxing, and replenishing. If you watch young children play, you will see that they naturally lift and arch their spines and work all their muscle groups. Miss Vera is very excited to share this wonderful system of study that helps to create harmony within ourselves.
Maria Montessori continually emphasized the importance of presenting to the child a whole view of the world. She repeatedly stresses the inter-relatedness of everything in the natural world, and saw man’s role as the protector of the natural world in which he lives, as well as an integral part of it. She was an early proponent of a one-world viewpoint, and used Frobel’s term the “Cosmic Plan”, to explain how this approach influenced her method.
What are Cultural Subjects? Cultural subjects in the Montessori classrooms are the areas of knowledge, which enrich the child’s understanding of all aspects of the world he lives in. Under this heading are included various branches of science, history, music, and art; any subject, in fact, which may enrich the mind of the child.
Geography is a subject that specially lends itself to a cosmic presentation. The geography taught at the pre-school level is predominately global, with particular emphasis placed on the continents. Children at this age are interested in what might be considered to be the more formal aspects of geography, and a globe is an essential piece of classroom apparatus.
They quickly learn that the differently shaped areas in the globe represent the landmasses of the continents, and they come to appreciate the contrast on the globe between land and water. They can understand the bounding of the continents by the sea in terms of their own experiences of crossing water and reaching land on the other side of ponds, rivers, and lakes, or even oceans. This knowledge is a preparation for the concrete work that they will do on landforms.
Pre-school children have a great interest in other children who may be different from themselves. The children possibly are leading different lives in different climatic areas of the world; the children’s interest in the lives of these people can be awakened. Their immense curiosity about the details in the pictures can create many questions to be answered.
Science and Nature
“The child who has developed special qualities of observations and who possess an order in which to classify external objects will be the person to make scientific discoveries. It will never be the one without preparation and order, who wanders dreaming among plants and shining sky."
- Maria Montessori
It is particularly important at this very early stage to highlight the ecological aspects of the science that is being taught to the child. Biology is especially appropriate to teach at the nursery level because it leads itself particularly to an ecologically sensitive approach. As a result of the work done in the Montessori classroom, in both zoology and botany, the children develop an affinity with the life forms that they encounter in their environment, and learn to treat them with the wonder and respect that will lead ultimately to a more complete understanding of the ecological balance of life on the planet as a whole. An interesting and carefully maintained nature table is a very important feature of the Montessori classroom.
At the nursery level, the animals and birds the children see around them are very appealing to them. The children are also interested in learning about other animals they have heard spoken of or seen on television. Most nursery schools normally have pictures of farm animals and wild animals in their natural habitats, but it is of interests to the children to focus their attention on the animals one at a time. They can easily associate the names of the animals with their pictures and so learn their names and any facts given about them. This is done by using model animals and pictures of animals mounted on cards to form sets.
Plants, flowers and trees are an important part of the child’s everyday environment. Even in the city, they are constantly coming in contact with plant life, but may not notice it unless their attention is directed towards it. We must try and raise their awareness of this particular side of their environment in order to increase their understanding of the great ecological significance of the plant kingdom for the future of our planet.
In the Montessori classroom, the presentation of History to the pre-school child reflects a global, planetary approach, which constantly inter-relates with other cultural subjects. The principle is first to give the broadest outline of knowledge, and then to fill in the detailed picture, always following the interests of the children.
Children will come to appreciate how all things depend on each other and how the process of change sometimes creates the need for adaptation. As we share a common past, present, and future, the children will become aware of a responsibility to preserve our planet for future generations.
Arts and Crafts
Art, like language or music, is a means of expression. One important preparation for art that the teacher can give the young children is indirect; through the varied activities of practical life, and the exploration of the senses. In this way, the teacher nurtures the development in the inner child of “ a sensitive soul, and eyes that see and a hand that obeys.”
The opportunities for Arts and Crafts are always a part of a Montessori environment, and not a special event. The children are free to choose their materials and they feel more satisfied with their abilities to express themselves. Once materials and techniques are presented, the teacher participates by encouraging the children, without judging.
Music and Dance
Dr. Montessori believed that the young child has the power for musical expression. She observed that it was the rhythm of the music that the young child was attracted to rather than the melody. Young children move spontaneously when they hear music. Our music teacher will provide the children with opportunities for singing, instrumental music, listening, and creative movement.
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music. Qualified dance instructor comes to our school weekly to teach the children a wide variety of dance disciplines including ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop. This is a great opportunity for students to explore the world of dance and the cultural arts, get some much needed physical activity and have fun!