Ha’penny Montessori School Curriculum
The prepared classroom environment is very important to the success a child’s experiences in Montessori education.
Dr. Maria Montessori’s idea of the prepared environment was that everything the child came in contact with would be purposeful in facilitating and maximizing the child’s independent learning and exploration. Our child sized, calm, purposeful and well-ordered environment allows for movement and activity. Through the guidance of our qualified and experienced teachers, the children choose lessons and work on activities at their individual developmental ability. The adults in the environment guide the children into all areas of the classroom.
Our prepared environments focus on the following:
Freedom with limits
Structure and Order
Focus and Attention
Nature and Reality
The Main Areas of Our Prepared Montessori Environments
Practical Life Area
The Practical Life area is unique to the Montessori classroom. It offers non-traditional classroom experiences that provide meaningful activities that connect to the real world, as well as provide a link between school and home.
The lessons in the Practical Life area are categorized as follows:
- Care of self – hand washing, bathroom independence, dressing oneself, nose blowing etc.
- Care of the Environment – table washing, sweeping and cleaning spills and caring for plants and animals in the environment.
- Grace and Courtesy –manners, food preparation and serving, table setting, conversation.
- Control of Movement – walking the line, gross and fine motor development.
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children between the ages of 2 – 6 years are in a sensitive period for movement, making them extremely receptive to these precise and simple activities. Practical Life exercises provide the children with opportunities to: think sequentially, give attention to detail, refine coordination, establish a sense of order, develop independence and enhance focus and concentration. These indirect aims provide the foundation needed for other learning areas of the classroom, especially in math and language. Through these activities the child gains a sense of independence, pride and self-discipline, while working towards mastering a specific skill. Through working with lessons in the Practical Life area of the classroom the children become self-disciplined and responsible lifetime learners.Sensorial AreaDr. Maria Montessori said, “The hand is the instrument to the mind.” She was a strong proponent of the notion that the path to education is through the senses. This is especially true when it comes to the math and language areas.Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that from birth to 6 years of age a child is most receptive to absorbing valuable information through visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory senses and she developed materials that are specifically designed to educate and refine each of these senses; each lesson in this area of the classroom targets an isolated sense.
Many of the lessons are self-correcting, allowing the child to further develop independence in learning. Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that learning should be concrete before it can be abstract. The sensorial area consists of specific didactic materials, the pink tower, the red rods, the brown stair, and the knobbed cylinders that stimulate a specific sense and isolate a specific quality and degree of difficulty that will provide the necessary concentration to feed the child’s mathematical mind. The child becomes an active participant in the development of his/her own intelligence.
Dr. Maria Montessori said that young children naturally think in mathematical terms; counting, measuring, recognizing shape and symmetry.” Dr. Montessori referred to as the child’s “mathematical mind”. The Practical Life and Sensorial areas of the Montessori classroom have provided much of the preparation needed for the child’s mathematical mind. In these areas the child’s hands-on and sensorial experiences have refined concentration, a sense of order, attention to detail, and classification and sequencing skill, guiding the child’s natural progression into the world of mathematics.
Unlike the traditional methods of teaching and learning numbers, mainly through worksheets and memorization; the Montessori teacher utilizes hands-on materials to provide the child with a simple, clear understanding of the mathematical concept being taught. Each lesson builds upon the previous lessons, gradually guiding the child’s mathematical ability from concrete to abstract areas of numeration, place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, squaring, cubing.
Language is a very hands-on and tactile experience for the Montessori child who is preparing to read and write. The preparation for language is dependent upon the indirect experiences, as well as the direct experiences from the Practical Life and Sensorial areas of the environment. The child’s repeated work with pouring, tweezing, grasping, push pinning, washing, polishing and transferring has strengthened the small finger muscles in preparation for writing.
Following the child, Dr. Maria Montessori realized that the desire to write was an area of movement that the child needed to fulfill as part of a sensitive period for movement. She learned if this window of opportunity was missed the child may find writing more difficult at a later age. With this in mind, she developed lessons such as the metal insets, sandpaper letters and the moveable alphabet with the direct aims of improving muscle coordination, letter formation and beginning phonetic sounds.
Dr. Maria Montessori’s language curriculum takes the child from the concrete, such as working with objects and matching them to the correct beginning phonetic sound; to the more abstract work of matching objects or pictures to words.
The teacher is a role model when it comes to the use of the language. She provides many opportunities to enrich the children’s vocabulary development and listening skills with daily story times, poetry and rhymes, picture discussions, question games, and group time discussions about interesting world events and life experiences the children can share.
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that small children have an inherent curiosity about the world. She devised a cultural curriculum that invites the child, through rich and stimulating cultural studies, to develop this natural curiosity and learn about the world. She referred to this as “cosmic education”.
- Geography – an introduction to our place in the world; land, air and water; land and water forms; globes and maps; the seven continents; flags; layers of the earth; our solar system and an overall respect for different cultures and peoples.
- History – teaches the concept of time through the use of the daily calendar (days, weeks, months, and seasons), simple time-lines and the birthday “celebration of Life.” These activities encourage the child to develop a sense of self-worth and belonging.
- Biology – the exciting exploration of botany and zoology. The children learn about the plant and animal kingdom; ecosystems; the human body and nutrition
Art and Music
The children are exposed to a variety of artists, painting styles and arts and crafts. They learn about famous artists and their life works. The children bring to life what they are learning and experiencing. Their creativity and self-expression are strongly encouraged in this area of the classroom. The children are introduced to a variety of materials that can be used to make creative art pieces. Children are encouraged to be expressive and individual in their creations.
Like art, music is a universal language that children can explore. Children learn music appreciation through listening and movement activities. They are encouraged to express themselves through movement. The goal of this area is for the child to carry into adulthood a respect and a sense of responsibility for our earth and all of humanity. Our music curriculum teaches the children about composers through finder plays, movement and songs. It explores the instruments of the orchestra and aids in the development of purposeful movement and gross motor skill.
Robotics Engineering for Pre-K with Beebots
Young programmers use a fun friendly little robot bee to learn the foundation of computational thinking by pressing arrow keys in an algorithm that would navigate the Bee-Bot to its final destination.
Robotics (Kindergarten Program)
The Robotics STEM enrichment program teaches the children critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication utilizing LEGO with intuitive state-of-the-art programming software. The activities are designed to meet thematic units in science, technology, engineering and Math and allow the children to foster cognitive development, transforming theory into practice; abstract to concrete.