“I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it and that is what is called Montessori method.” – Dr. Maria Montessori.
The Montessori method of teaching is based on the child’s development. There are periods between the ages of 3-6 where a child is more “sensitive” to stimuli. A Montessori teacher is trained to recognize these “periods” and to introduce activities and materials that will encourage spontaneous learning. A child is given the freedom to choose their activities (within some limits) and they learn to understand concepts independently.
The following areas are studied in the Montessori Preschool Curriculum:
- Practical Life: Everyday tasks, ordinary to adults, can be exciting and special to children. Pouring their own juice into a cup, washing dishes, sorting clothes, preparing snacks, all allow a child to imitate adult work. These skills are important not only for everyday life, but also help to develop small motor skills and concentration, important skills for more advanced learning.
- Sensorial: These materials allow children to develop and train their senses. They sharpen their awareness and percept ion of concepts such as smallest to largest, balance, sorting, etc.
- Mathematics: Dr. Montessori established that children can much more easily assimilate mathematical information when performing “hands-on” operations. Children in a Montessori program learn skills through the physical manipulation of materials, rather than the memorization of facts.
- Language: Language activities span all of the other activities as well. The teaching of the phonetic alphabet comes first, as this is a key for children to learn how letters and then words sound. Various activities challenge children in their language instruction, with writing skills usually developing between 3 1/2 years and 4 1/2 years, and reading skills between ages 5-6. The Montessori classroom introduces adjectives, verbs, nouns, using fun and informative techniques.
- Cultural Activities: These activities include art, yoga, study of customs of other countries, geography, history, cooking, nutrition and music.