Specially designed Montessori materials provide the child with rich learning experiences. These materials ‘call’ to the child; they are attractive and inviting to the child. The child will learn different concepts through these materials, which also allow for the child to correct his/her own errors.
These materials are arranged in 5 areas of the curriculum namely Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language and Culture.
In the early days, children will be introduced to practical life activities which develop independence and concentration. These activities provide opportunities for intellectual development and improve hand-eye coordination. The benefits of these activities prepare the child for future more complex work.
Children learn through their senses. It is through sensorial experiences that the foundation for intellectual learning takes place. Impressions formed in the mind through the sensorial materials help the child in discriminating and appreciating similarities and differences in a more concrete manner.
Sensorial materials prepare the child for future work in the Mathematics area of the curriculum. Sensorial exercises help unlock the mind of the child.
“The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world”
The Montessori mathematics material is incredibly amazing and successful. The journey begins with very simple steps while introducing each concept in a very concrete manner and eventually taking the child into more complex and abstract work.
Children begin this area with learning quantities 1 to 10 and its symbols i.e. the numeral. They are able to hold quantities representing its symbol. This gives them a very concrete experience of number sense.
Through the materials children transition very easily onto addition, subtraction, division and multiplication work.
Most adults, when seeing how the materials work say, “I wish I had learnt math this way!”
The formal part of this area of the curriculum begins with teaching the children sounds and formations of each letter. In a systematic manner, children begin exploring and recreating letters.
Shortly thereafter they are able to write letters and blend the sounds of letters to make words. By age 5, children are reading sentences and exploring non-phonetic words. Many of them are able to write legibly and surprise themselves.
This area is vast and encompasses:
Part of our work in this area takes us to the materials and part of it we cover through what we call ‘show and share’.
Children bring in theme related items to discuss and experiment with. This area of the curriculum is extensive and one has to see to believe how the children gather information, discuss ideas, compare and classify.
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment”