Introduction to a Montessori Classroom
Practical Life exercises are the first activities we experience. These everyday skills are important because we use them during our entire lifetime.
We need to learn grace and courtesy in order to maintain balance and control over our body and mind.
We need to prepare the hand so that we can learn to write and manipulate objects we come in contact with every day.
We need to know how to take care of our own person first, and then we can experience the freedom to take care of our environment including pets.
We need to know how to prepare food so we may be sustained with energy so we may function fully.
Practical Life exercises must be mastered so that the child will develop to their fullest potential and take their place in the history of our world. It is our role as caretakers of the adults of tomorrow to entice the child to work with purpose in everything they do!
A young child first perceives their world through their five senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing and seeing.
Dr. Montessori designed Sensorial equipment that gives children the opportunity to develop order, broaden and refine their senses. As the child becomes independently involved, they discover their own capabilities. Therefore, a Montessori child becomes self-disciplined and develops an organized approach to solving problems, a positive influence in the world!
Readiness for Language begins at home in infancy as the child absorbs oral language. A young child needs to be talked to and read to from birth on.
Preparation for Language takes place in both Practical Life and Sensorial activities. In Practical Life the child develops control of the hand. In Sensorial the child learns visual discrimination.
The Language materials offered in a Montessori classroom breaks down the elements of reading. This enables the young child to experience the structure of Language in a concrete way.
These systematic activities teach the child who can express themselves orally how to analyze the sounds of the language. The child learns that these sounds are represented by symbols. We communicate by how we use these symbols to represent our speech pattern.
Maria Montessori believed that if the environment has been prepared with the appropriate materials, the child will need little formal instruction to experience an “explosion into writing”.
It is our role as caretakers of the adults of tomorrow; to teach our children today that communication is the means by which human beings share their passion for life with each other!
Mathematics is a way of looking at the world around us. It is a language for understanding and expressing measurable relationships in our world.
The purpose of developing Mathematics is to aid the child in acquiring those tools which allow them to function in society and to interact with others. A true Montessori classroom creatively uses appropriate didactic materials to meet this purpose.
Montessori is a reality based philosophy. Our world is dependent upon Mathematics…from counting pennies to cooking oatmeal. Children come into contact with numbers early on in life. The goal is to understand math…logical mathematical thinking…not in computing.
Mathematical ideas are awakened in the young child first through the use of materials in the practical life area in a Montessori environment. These activities develop coordination between the brain and the senses. Sensorial exercises develop concrete manipulative experiences in discovering perceptual relationships.
Pre-math activities are present in all the areas of a Montessori classroom. A child is most “sensitive” from 3 to 5 ½ years of age. At this time, it is easier for the child to be introduced to concepts of numeration, the decimal place value system and linear counting.
The Montessori Teacher is prepared with the working knowledge of Mathematical skills and the knowledge on how to set-up the environment with the appropriate materials necessary for the child to experience yet another dimension of the world in which they live in.
Picture a young child standing in a field feeling the wind blowing across their face. The child asks, “What is air?”
Can you see the toddler listening for the bird in the birdbath to sing again? “Why does that bird sing?”
Imagine a small child outside with their face turned up tasting the snow and ask,
“What is snow made of?”
You can see from your window a young boy that stops digging with a stick in the dirt and watches an ant. He says, “How did the ants build this hill?”
The reason for teaching young children physical science is to promote their sense of inquiry. Why, What, When, Who and How are some of the first words they learn. Young children have such a curiosity and as adults we need to help them find the answers to their questions. We need to show them how to experience the world around them.
Experiencing physical science will help the children of today come up with solutions to the challenges of tomorrow which just happens to be their future!
The Introduction to the lifelong study of ecology is a must for the young child. Children will learn to value the earth around them as they become increasingly aware of what is needed to maintain the balance of nature.
As responsible adults and Montessori Educators, it is our responsibility to model respect for our living world. The need to develop creative ways to utilize progress rests in “all” our hands….
We need to make sure that our children of today will develop a consciousness that knows that they are the caretakers of the earth of tomorrow!
Children realize through the study of Geology that the Earth’s past has been recorded in the rocks. Hopefully, this helps children recognize the treasures at their feet, as well as the realization that our planet is in a constant state of change.
Children realize through the study of Botany that without plants we couldn’t breathe the air that we need to sustain life. An early appreciation of plant life will develop a sense of wonder and love for all living things.
This love will empower our children so that they will strive to be responsible caretakers of the Earth. Our planet will respond by continuing to nurture them, their children and their children’s children. Earth is our home!
Children learn through the study of Zoology that there are other animals to be appreciated than just human beings.
A sense of “wonder” and “love” for all that is living develops quickly as a child becomes aware of their place in the Animal Kingdom. Knowledge of the “creation” around them brings “respect.” This “respect” is a must for there are many living things that claim Earth as their home. Our children must learn at an early age how to live with others in order for there to be “Peace on Earth!”
Children need to be introduced to Geography in order to help them place themselves on this planet Earth in and on…
• The actual spot we occupy
• Air, Land, Water
Hopefully, this will lead to a love for the land and for its peoples.
History is the recorded progression of humankind’s impact on the earth. In order to appreciate our past achievements, children need to be introduced to abstract historical concepts at an early age. This is difficult, but not impossible to do, because our children are always in the present.
History helps a child locate their place in time so that human development will continue to be appreciated.
Children should be exposed to the study of Astronomy at an early age because it gives them the idea that there are other orbs than just the Earth’s.
Children will become aware of their place in space and in the space race.
Realization of their relationship to the cosmos hopefully will develop a sense of wonder, excitement and quest for the future.
Children love songs and music from a very early age. The world is a delight when a child is introduced to music. Concepts of loud and soft, high and low, short and long, fast and slow, carry over to other parts of their world.
Introduction to composers and learning to move to the “beat” is all a part of being human. The world’s peoples are all united by the “heartbeat” of our Earth!
Foundation for artistic development is laid in the early years of a child’s life. In a Montessori classroom, eye and hand coordination is refined while using a brush, sculpting play dough, sewing, cutting, etc.
Introduction to artists and styles of art connect the child to the colors, forms and textures of the world and its peoples. What a priceless gift we give children when we encourage them to express their love of nature, self and others in the art that they make!
Early Childhood Goals
1. To provide an environment in which curiosity and the joy of discovery and understanding motivates learning.
2. A place where children are encouraged to learn to question, to become involved, to live and work together, and to learn by helping one another.
3. To provide an atmosphere which frees the child’s potential for self development.
4. To help the child to discover the joys of intellectual and artistic endeavor, and to grow through activities that stimulate and fulfill individual abilities.
To provide an extended family that will enhance the well