An Overview Of Our Curriculum:
The Montessori curriculum is an intergrated one. All aspects of a child's learning are presented as part of an inter-related whole. Each activity performed by a child using approved Montessori materials is an indirect preparation for a later skill and the environment allows learning through discovery of new and exciting things in the materials that the child works with over his/her developing stages. As an aid to the child's self-construction, individual work is encouraged.
The following 5 areas of activities in the Montessori curriculum cultivate children's ability to express themselves and think with clarity.
1. Practical Life Activities
Practical Life exercises consist of tasks found in everyday life. They allow the child to have immediate and personal contact with the environment. Practical Life activities are introduced as a starting point for the younger children and they include exercises such as pouring, washing, dusting, general care of self and the environment.
The Practical Life materials involve the children in precise movements and allow them to work at their own pace. The children spontaneously and naturally seek order and independence through movement and purposeful activity. The early Practical Life exercise are simple and they are followed by increasingly more challenging activities, which will help children develop their own co-ordination of movement and lenghten their concentration spans. The exercises are based on Dr. Montessori's belief that work is essential and meaningful for a child's growth. the activities are fulfill specific purposes in the everyday life. The child learns how to button shirts, wash hands, water flowers, free from adult's help. This will increase a child's self-esteem with gain of a feeling of satisfaction and inner harmony.
Children use their imagination while pretending. Through dramatic play, children act out events of the world around them. Playing out these roles with their peers enhances children's perception of different behaviours.
2. Sensorial Activities
The Montessori programme offers a multi-sensory approach to learning, encouraging the children to use the optimum combination of senses for learning. Designed to isolate and categorize qualities of the environment perceived through the senses, sensorial activities focus in the development of sensory perception for the acquisition of information. It is necessary to provide the correct stimulus to aid the child in the fullest possible way to develop his/her discriminatory powers.
The Sensorial materials are specially designed to train the senses seperately and are divided into seven groups:
Sensorial exercises help to bring order to the child's perceptions by isolating the various qualities. The child will, for example, gain an understanding of "large" - "small" through work with the Pink Tower. The child learns, through physical manipulation of the materials, the concepts of large, small, heavy, light, thick, thin, loud, soft, shapes, smells, etc. The Sensorial exercises also offer training in muscular memory and help the child to develop co-ordination of precise movements.
- Visual sense - see
- Tactile sense - touch
- Auditory sense - hear
- Gustatory sense - taste
- Olfactory sense - smell
- Thermic sense - heat
- Stereognostic sense - solid feel
After the child has experienced with a specific quality, the name of the particular concept is given to the child, to build a rich and expensive vocabulary. The Sensorial Activities are the keys to form the basis for abstract thinking.
Language covers in all curriculum areas and in all activities with specific presentation of lessons that develop vocabulary, progression into reading, writing skills and composition.
By using very concrete sandpaper representations of letters, children learn the sounds of alphabet and their corresponding symbols. Exercises with the Movable Alphabet materials involve the child in building words and sentences from the sound with a variety of small naming objects as reference, allowing the child to freely express his/her ideas. The child is given the vocabulary and the language of all the materials in the classroom.
There are classified cards to help the child to build and expand vocabulary. When the child is ready to explore the interpretive and mechanical side of language, the child has reached the reading stage. Reading cards, phonograms and puzzle words will be used.
The function games gives the child a better understanding of the function of words (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc) and their relationship to each other.
The library in the classroom helps children to widen their vocabulary and expand their creative and imaginative powers for preparation of good composition writing.
Mathematics begin with activities to indirectly teach sequence, recognition and quantity of numbers 1 - 10. Two parallel lesson formats continue with the concepts of the process of the operations (addition, multiplication, subtraction and division) and the memorization of the facts in mathematics - the tables of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.
Mathematics is abstract. It can present great difficulty if basic concepts are not in place. The Mathematics materials in the Montessori classroom are specially designed for "hands-on" exploration. By manipulating simple materials such as rods, spindles, beads and number cards, the concepts of quantity and symbols are acquired with ease. Through materials of beads, ten bead bars, hundred squares and thousand cubes, the child learns the basis for decimal system. By manipulating the materials, the child experiences combining numbers several times and sharing the beads as introduction to the four basic processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
The starting point of Mathematics is very concrete and moves on to more abstract ideas. The Mathematics materials help the child learn and understand mathematics concepts by working with concrete materials in clear and simple steps. This work provides the child with solid underpinnings for traditional mathematical principles, giving a structured scope for abstract reasoning.
As soon as the child reaches abstraction, he/she will be dealing with figures independently, and completely working the processes in his/her head.
Children learn about culture. This allows their innate respect and love for the environment to flourish, creating a sense of solidarity with the global human family and its habitat.
Experiences with nature in conjunction with the materials in the environment inspire a reverence for all life. Geography, History, Science, Botany, Zoology, Art and Music are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities.
The child is offered the oppurtunity to explore the world of geography through work with globes, puzzle maps and land and water from models. The child is able to see and understand the world and the continents, and to have a better understanding of the part of the globe in which he/she lives.
The child is introduced to history by means of events, charts and time lines.
The children are introduced to some basic phenomena, and they are left with an inquisitiveness by these simple experiments of how things work. they explore the compass, the magnet, the electric circuit, magnifying glass, etc.
The children take care of plants in the classroom. they learn how to water and feed them. The children plant seeds and bulbs, and experience the thrill of watching the fruits of their labour grow.
The names of plant and their different parts are introduced to the children, starting with general terms and leading to the specific. The children also explore different leaf shapes and their names with materials of the botany cabinets.
There are classified cards of animals and other groups in the classroom. The children learn different names and the animals' natural habitats. The different groups, such as mammals, insects, etc and the names of the parts of these animals are introduced to the children. The children will be invited to bring a pet to the classroom for discussion on topics of how to feed and care for the pets, etc. In both areas of Botany and Zoology, children are nurtured a respect for all living things, and to develop a sense of wonder in life's many different manifestations.
Art is a very important part of the classroom and of the child's cultural education. Many interesting methods of using art materials are introduced. These include painting, drawing, rubbing, stamping, etc. There are classified pictures of famous artists and their paintings or art work to further stimulate the child's interest and awareness of art in history.
There are many musical activities in a Montessori setting; songs, nursery rhymes, poems and listening exercises are incorporated into the daily programme. Musical bells and rhythm instruments are used. There are classified pictures of musical instruments for children to explore visually.