We follow the Montessori Curriculum that emphasise learning as a process that cannot be determined by a child’s age. Instead, learning is a process that is determined by the rate and speed at which a child can acquire one skill before moving on to another skill. Click on the tabs below for more information.
These exercises form the foundation of the Montessori education because they can immediately satisfy the child’s inner needs and desires. These are also the first exercises that will be presented to the children to assist them in their development. These exercises are directed at young children because they are meant to normalise the child for the Montessori environment, as well as for life at large.
- Elementary Movement (pouring, squeezing, threading, sorting etc.)
These are introductory exercises for the child. These exercises are attractive to the child because movement is involved. Movement possess a fascinating interest when the muscular and nervous systems respond to exercise. These exercises develop and strengthen the fine motor muscles. It also develops eye-hand coordination.
- Care of the Environment (cleaning, washing, polishing, gardening etc)
The children learn to respect and care for the environment around them by manipulating the environment. These exercises teach the child a lot of responsibility. It also makes the child aware of the aesthetic environment.
- Care of the Person (dressing, undressing, combing, etc.)
The children learn to take care of themselves by doing things for themselves, thus to be independent and to be proud of themselves.
- Grace and Courtesy (greeting, offering, apologising, thanking etc.)
We are social beings and have our own social context wherein the child must take his rightful place. In these exercises the child is learning to act in such a manner that he will be accepted in the society he lives in.
- Gross Motor Movement (kicking, running, catching, throwing, jumping)
These are the exercises that will develop and strengthen the gross motor muscles. Usually these are the outdoor activities. We also include motor skills development in this area e.g. Muscle tone; Balance, spatial orientation and bilateral integration
- Visual (sight)
Montessori broke the visual sense down into separate sections. They are dimensions (size of the object), colour (awareness of colours) and form (awareness of shapes)
- Auditory (sound)
The young child is a set of gigantic ears. He hears everything. Children in early age are very sensitive to tones, that is why this is a good time for them to learn music.
- Tactile (touch)
Children’s skin is very sensitive. Montessori divided the tactile sense into four areas: surface touch, stereognostic (whole form), thermic (temperatures) and baric (differences in weight)
- Olfactory (smell)
Children learn to associate certain smells with certain tastes.
- Gustatory (taste)
The child got more taste buds than the adult. There are taste buds on the tongue; tip of tongue (sweet taste), side of tongue (sour and salty) and at the back of the tongue (bitter).
Characteristics of sensorial exercises
- Each piece of material contains a control of error
- The objects are attractive and appeal to the senses
- Each demands activity from the child.
- The material is limited in quantity.
- The child can repeat the exercises.
- Each piece of material act as a indirect preparation for a more advanced activity.
- The material stimulates the child=s language development.
- The material improve concentration, the hand and mind work together.
- It develop logical thinking.
- The child is stimulated to work in a particular sequence.
- All the exercises are graded e.g. big – tall etc. this help to develop concepts.
- The material develop and refines the perceptions of the child.
- These exercises are universal and not cultural
- All the material are in groups of ten, this prepare thee child for the decimal system.
- These exercises are very therapeutic.
Benefits of the sensorial materials to the child
- The material enhances the visual perception, auditory perception etc. of the children.
- It builds the child=s confidence.
- It develops a sense of independence and responsibility.
- The child learns patience
- These exercises encourage self-discipline
- It stimulates the sense of order; all the exercises have their own order
- These exercises increase concentration
- These exercises are important for maths and science.
As with many curricular areas, geometry in Montessori is quite different than it is in traditional education. Almost all of the study is hands-on, using wooden shapes and nomenclature cards to teach geometric concepts.
This is very important when it comes to geometry, as research shows that it takes children a long time to be able to picture shapes correctly in their minds, and even longer to be able to mentally “rotate” them. Working with them in a hands-on manner helps immensely.
In Montessori, we start working with shapes and patterns early. The Sensorial area of the 3-6 classroom is really the study of geometry; in elementary, this area becomes geometry. Early geometry materials include the triangle boxes, the geometric cabinet, and the geometric bases and solids. We call these early studies “Exploration of Forms”
In these early activities, children are simply learning the names of shapes and beginning to associate the name with the shape. In true Montessori fashion, the early geometry activities also increase hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills as the child traces the outline of the shape with a fingertip or pencil.
Language is the essence of the development of the child, it enables him to communicate with others and to under stand when others communicate with him. Maria Montessori emphasized that education is an aid to life and her method of teaching language is designed on this. When the child can speak, listen, write and read, he is ready to hold the key of knowledge and to open human civilization for himself.
Maria Montessori based her language education on the observations of the developing child. The sensitive period for language is the longest one and starts at birth and end at the age of six:
- Birth – age 1: the child is sensitive to sounds; he listens and watches.
- Age 1 – age 2: the child is sensitive to words; starts to use simple words.
- Age 2 – 3 and up: the child’s vocabulary increases tremendously (from approximately 300 to 1000 words).
- Age 4– this is the sensitive time for writing.
- Age 4 and a half to 5 – the child starts to classify words and reading.
- Age 5 to 6 – sensitive to the study of parts of speech and word usage.
During every period, the child must achieve some goals; therefore he is driven by an inner power to learn language to perfection. The directress in Montessori classroom needs to observe and follow the needs, interests and sensitivities of the children to provide the help they need. In the Montessori classroom, language is not only a distinct area in the environment but runs parallel with other activities in the classroom. The environment is designed that all activities feed naturally toward the development of the skills required for learning language – writing and reading.
The preparation in the classroom for this exploration begins with the Activities of Everyday living. The child develops the control of movement and eye-hand coordination which will aid him in writing through working on Activities of everyday living, such as pouring rice, scrubbing table, polishing objects, etc.
These developments are continued in the sensorial activities, the perceptual abilities, auditory and visual discrimination and the ability to compare and classify are developed in this area. Muscular refinement, lightness of touch and left to right movement are also developed. All of these are necessary for writing and reading. Language development runs through-out with books, group time activities (songs, finger plays, naming activities, poems, sound games), conversation as an integral part of the classroom and vocabulary enrichment (nomenclature of the materials, picture card matching games). The oral language in a Montessori classroom should be extensive and exact.
The child is now ready to explore sounds of words. The activities develop auditory and visual discrimination. When the directress is sure the child is aware of the sounds in the words, the sandpaper letters can be introduced. The child’s visual and tactile-muscular senses are most sensitive at this time. The child builds a ‘muscular memory” of each letter. Writing is not encouraged at this stage just the exploration of sound and shape.
When the child knows 8-10 letters, he is ready for the movable alphabet. At the same time, the metal insets can also be introduced. This will contribute to the development of mechanical writing skills. The activities to develop reading skills may also be presented to the child. The child’s interests and needs must be taken into consideration. A special reading area with interesting books is a must in the classroom. Let the child read selected books and help him to learn to pronounce the words to enrich the reading experience. The more he writes and reads, the more he will realise that writing transmits thoughts. When the child completes the intellectual work of relating spelling to print, to the transmission of ideas he is already capable of reading. His oral vocabulary is now his reading vocabulary. The child will now be introduced to the functions of words, during this time he reads on his own. At this stage grammar can be presented to him.
Language is a skill which will develop throughout life, but during the first years of life the foundation of language is formed. The directress needs to prepare the environment and the materials in such away that it appeals to the senses and that it calls the child and invites him to use the materials again and again. She also guides the child very carefully in this exciting discovery journey.
As maths is part of our daily lives, the basis for a child’s maths and numbers should be established by the time he is three years old. Simple games can help to develop this skill e.g. count the steps to the front door, or the fruits in the bowl. Numbers must become a part of a child’s life, when this happens a child will start to count as he plays.
Exercises that can help to prepare the child for math already start in the Activities of everyday life, e.g. pouring and spooning. The concept of the conservation of volume is developed in this way. All the dimension exercises in the Sensorial materials also help to prepare the children for numeration. They developed the concepts of sequencing, one to one correspondence, the conservation of number and length. The exercises also help the children with seriation and patterning. The children also developed the concepts of identity, similarity and difference. It is important for the child to have a thorough knowledge of the number one to ten because the decimal system is the basis for our number system. The sensorial materials e.g. the cylinder blocks, pink tower etc. all reinforce this concept. When the child grasps these concepts he is ready to move into maths.
The mathematical material was designed so that the children start with the concrete and discover the concept of numbers in a muscular and tactile way e.g. the number rods, the spindle box and sandpaper numbers. They discover quantities in a concrete way and only later on move into the abstract, e.g. the number cards, the written symbols. They combine the concrete and abstract when they have managed both concepts on their own.
The children also work at their own speed with the directress acting as a control of error and always pointing the child in the right direction. Through repeating the exercises the facts are understood rather than memorized.
By introducing maths to the child in this manner his first experience of maths is positive and a very good bases for the rest of the mathematics materials are formed. From here on the child can move on to the exercises with the golden beads and the Seguin boards. After establishing the concept of bigger numbers the child can start to do addition, multiplication, subtraction and division calculations. The child will always work from the concrete to the abstract and then combine the two concepts. By helping the child to discover the very complex world of maths in his own time always starting with the concrete, mathematics will be a positive experience for him. He will also have a very sound base to work from to do more complicated mathematical calculations.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World is a subject of what Maria Montessori called “the Cosmic Curriculum”. We look at Science and Technology, Zoology, Botany, History and Geography. The study of Knowledge and Understanding of the World in a Montessori classroom integrates these subjects. We study the solar system, our planet, components of our physical world, geology, zoology, botany, history (concept of time), and geography.
Specific skills are developed through Knowledge and Understanding of the World studies. Geography study helps children develop spatial awareness and orientation skills. History study builds in the child a clear sense of time passage. Science allows children to look at phenomena with a curiosity and a theory, then through observation and research to test for validity. This pursuit has merit for children today as they learn to differentiate between theory and fact, and maintain a healthy interest in figuring out how and why things work.
Art is an extension of the Activities of everyday living curriculum. The students will display a reasonable control of movement, fine motor skills and eye/hand coordination. Art instruction seeks to strike a balance between skill instruction and free exploration and to encourage a child’s natural desire for self-expression. It also seeks to build a child’s art vocabulary; awareness of artists and their techniques. We encourage every child to “find and nourish the artist within themselves”.
Music builds on the foundation provided in the Sensorial curriculum. The students will develop a reasonable control of movement, honed their listening skills and will have experiences in singing, making music and moving to music.
CAREFREE KID’S is a Christian school and implement this in our daily running of the school. The school is opened every morning with scripture and prayer and on Fridays we have a Praise and Worship Session. During this time a Bible concept is conveyed to the children in a fun an interesting way.