The Montessori Curriculum
The Montessori curriculum is a spiral curriculum, in which everything is interrelated. One lesson leads to many others. Hands-on materials lead the children along their journey from concrete to abstract understanding. We work from the “big picture” to increasing detail, so that every new piece of information fits into what the child already knows. The classroom has many components:
Practical Life: Children love to be able to take care of themselves and their environment, as they develop a sense of order, independence, coordination, and concentration. This area of the curriculum gives them the opportunity to develop the skills that give them confidence in their everyday lives. Skills practiced in the Children’s House are put into action in all of the classrooms as the children do their “helping jobs”—setting up lunch, sweeping up tanbark, or mopping up a spill.
Sensorial Materials: In the Children’s House, these colorful, inviting materials guide the children to explore with their senses. These explorations serve as indirect preparation for later work in math and reading in our Elementary classrooms.
Math: Montessori math materials are probably the best-known part of Dr. Montessori’s work. They are concrete, hands-on materials that allow children to develop a conceptual understanding of mathematics. As the child matures, the materials become more and more abstract.
Reading and Writing: A Montessori classroom is a language-rich environment, as children attach language to their environment and activities. In the Children’s House, children learn the sounds of letters sensorially through Sandpaper Letters, and then manipulate the sounds to form words with the Movable Alphabet. Practical Life and Sensorial activities strengthen and prepare the hand for writing. In the Elementary, children explore vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, literature, and develop essay and research skills.
Science: Children are fascinated with the natural world. They want to get their hands dirty, explore, and experiment to discover for themselves how things work. The Montessori curriculum provides the language and a framework for this exploration.
Geography, History, and Cultural Studies: An appreciation of others in the world around us, as well as those who came before us, is integral to developing a global perspective. Through maps, flags, literature, music, drama and projects, the world comes alive for our students.
The Arts: Art, music, and drama are integrated into the regular activities of the classroom. Children learn about the artistic endeavors of others as they explore their own creativity.