Maria Montessori believed that children form communities in their classrooms and that they do so most effectively in a mixed age setting. Older children reinforce their own knowledge by sharing it with younger children who are stimulated to stretch by observing and learning from the more experienced children.
One principle of Montessori is simplicity itself. Children teach themselves through their activities and experiences. Montessori devised special materials and a specific attitude to encourage a child’s natural desire and ability to learn. Her philosophy is systematic without being rigid, structured without being confining.
The aim of a Primary program is to aid the natural development of a child 2.9 to 6 years old. Children work with sequentially developed materials in the curriculum areas of:
PRACTICAL LIFE is considered the link to the child’s home environment and the foundation for all other areas in the class. Children naturally seek independence in order and purposeful activities. As they learn to pour water, button clothes, wash a table or lighten a jar lid they are developing concentration and coordination. Work habits and self discipline are developed while working on open ended tasks to their own level of satisfaction.
SENSORIAL These materials promote refinement of the senses as children organize sensory impressions into ordered principles. Each piece of material is a concrete expression of a concept the child will later use in the abstract. A child acquires skills of discrimination for color, size, texture, and sound with these precise materials.
LANGUAGE Children are immersed in a total language program that integrates all of the curriculum areas. The children learn individual sounds and then progress at their own rate to link sound and symbols into reading and writing. Through literature they gain an appreciation of the world’s cultures. They see how the function of words in sentences forms the foundation for grammar work. Our purpose is to assist the children to express themselves both factually and confidently.
MATHEMATICS Mathematical operations and principles are introduced through manipulation of concrete materials. The child does not merely learn to count. Visualization of the whole structure of our numeration and decimal system is achieved. The primary factor required for mathematics is concentration which is increased through repetition of the Practical Life activities. The Sensorial materials prepare the child to make judgments, discriminate size and match one to one. The whole process of mathematical discovery seems natural and logical when taught this way.
SCIENCE, GEOGRAPHY AND CULTURAL STUDIES Here we give children the keys which open doors of interest to their world. The first impression of the whole world and universe gradually progress into the details of physical geography. Science encourages the child to observe, classify and reason. Exploration of all knowledge is encouraged and these facts establish the foundation for future learning.
The areas of ART AND MUSIC are important parts of each child’s culture and are developmentally linked to all activities. Paintings and other art forms are always displayed to help the child gain an appreciation of the fine arts. An appreciation of music is encouraged through singing, playing and listening to all types of music. On going experiences in art and music allow the child’s self expression to develop fully and creatively.