Montessori

Montessori Classroom

misc_index8The Montessori environment is carefully prepared. The materials are attractively arranged on individual trays or in baskets which are placed on low shelves, making them easily accessible to the children. The directress continually varies the materials according to the needs and interests of the children. The materials are kept clean, neat and complete so the children take pride in maintaining their environment in an orderly manner. The materials are precisely made and designed to isolate the task being taught. They are self-corrective so the child may find his or her own errors and manipulate the activity to make corrections without adult interference. Activities are placed on the shelf in sequence according to purpose. Children in various developmental stages can find work to meet their needs and abilities. Children feel no need for competition, and socialization takes place naturally and pleasurably. The age range of the children leads to peer teaching which fosters a positive self-image.

Classroom Areas

Practical Life

01This area contains materials which provide tasks the child sees in his everyday life. Their familiarity draws the child to work. All the tools are child-sized to aid the child in performing the tasks successfully. Practical Life also includes broad concepts such as moving carefully through the classroom, moving things to appropriate locations, taking care of oneself and one’s surroundings and interacting appropriately with others. Practical Life exercises are designed to help the child gain independence, self-confidence, coordination, concentration and a sense of order. They also play an important role in the development of fine motor skills. This area provides the foundation for all other areas of the classroom and is a haven to which the child may return at times to renew him/herself.

Examples: Pouring, Scrubbing, Sponging, Spooning, Tonging, Polishing Sweeping, Washing dishes, etc.

Sensorial

Sensorial materials are designed to isolate and refine the senses. They help the child sort and digest the immense amount of information received through the senses each day. The materials are didactic in nature and allow the child to learn from his manipulation and experimentation. The child learns the skills of discrimination, observation, reasoning, and decision making which helps him to master his environment. The incremental differences in the materials are mathematically based and provide the foundation for more complex mathematical concepts. The Sensorial area is the heart of the classroom.

Examples: Knobbed Cylinders, Knobless Cylinders, Brown Stair, Pink Tower, Sound Cylinders, etc.

Math

The Math area allows the child to develop his thinking, reasoning and problem solving powers. The direct aim of the Math materials is to help the child work toward more abstract thinking. The materials are designed with such precision that they allow the child to work with the concrete until he internalizes the process through tactile and visual contact and can work independently in his mind. The awareness of detail gained in the Practical Life area and the decision making skills learned in the Sensorial area help the child refine his use of the Math materials.

Examples: Sandpaper numbers, Number/Quantity Association, Sizing, Number Rods.

Language

The purpose of this area is to give the child an awareness of the power of language and an appreciation of the beauty language can express. Language is a window to the universe and to the soul. No one can “teach” language to the child. The ability to acquire language is innate. The Montessori materials are designed to give order and form to the experiences necessary for language acquisition, both in reading and writing.

Examples: Sandpaper letters, Metal Insets, Alphabet Board, Storytime, Fingerplays, etc.

Intellectual exercises are made available to the children because of their interest in conscious, constructive activity. Many of the materials in the Math and Language areas are similar in design to the Sensorial apparatus and therefore lead the child from the familiar to the unknown. There are no pressures put on the child to learn. The Montessori method is oriented toward the experience of learning rather than its products. The children learn HOW to learn and acquire a joy for learning which stays with them throughout their educational career. The main goals in a Montessori environment are to help the child gain a positive self- image and learn to work harmoniously with both peers and adults while building that joy for learning.