A Montessori Early Childhood classroom does not contain desks where students are required to sit, or rely on l a teacher to present a lesson to the entire class. Instead, our children receive individual or small group lessons and our then free to work with the materials at tables or on the floor with small mats.
The Early Childhood classroom is designed with young students in mind. Sinks are low to the ground and thus accessible to the child. Furniture such as chairs and tables are constructed to fit smaller children. The room has cozy little spaces for quiet reading, and child-sized kitchen utensils for student food preparation. Students learn to care for their own environment, maintaining organization and cleanliness.
You can expect your child to grow significantly in 5 areas of study: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, and Cultural Studies.
A montessori education is holistic in its approach and therefore, topics such as tying shoes, or handling buttons, preparing snacks, setting a table for a meal, how to care for plants and animals are taught at this age. Additionally, social interactions, such as manors, being respectful, listening skills, and conflict resolution are being developed. A goal of the Practical Life activities is to promote independence, while increasing the fine and gross-motor coordination.
The child’s ability to perceive information is enhanced when learning makes a connection to their different senses and the child discovers through an experience. Thus, sensorial experiences helps the child to classify their surroundings and create order.
Children will not use textbooks or photocopied problems to study math, but rather discover discover mathematical concepts through “hands on materials,” where they begin to identify numbers, place-value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division. The materials assist children do more than just memorize math facts; they discover the meaning behind them.
Language, is a skill that children of this age are particularly sensitive to. The interactive materials allow a child to experience vocabulary and the skills required for writing and reading. The early emphasis on writing, leads naturally to reading. Children acquire letter sounds, build sentences, and learn to use a pencil. After mastering these skills, the students spontaneously begin to read.
History, geography, science, art, and music, are purposely integrated into the curriculum as a unifying theme of life. Discovering the common needs of humanity throughout time helps children understand and respect diversity for all life.