"Montessori kids" grow up
The Montessori curriculum can be categorised into five main areas. For each area, there are specific Montessori materials which have been created to meet the child’s needs and foster their independence.
The Montessori curriculum is underpinned by an constructivist approach to learning whereby children build their knowledge about the world through active exploration and discovery. Montessori educators view children as curious scientists who are motivated to explore the environment on their own.
Children are offered 2.5 to 3 hour blocks of time to concentrate on the activities they have chosen without interruption.
The curriculum areas include:
The Exercises of Practical Life
This area consists of real-life practical activities which build a child’s self-efficacy and self-confidence. Practical life activities are some of the most important jobs in the classroom because they meet the child’s need for movement, balance and coordination.
Practical Life activities encourage the development of:
Gross and fine motor skills.
Respect for other children and the environment.
The Sensorial Area is also one of the first areas young children seek
out.Sensorial materials meet the child’s need for sensory
stimulation and judgment.Exercises in this area train or refine the
senses. They help the child judge size, shape, taste, sound, and
smell. Children learn to discriminate.
Since we know that sensory development must come before
higher intellectual capacities, sensory activities are an
essential part of the “prepared environment” because they
lay the groundwork for further growth in language and math.
Sensorial activities help a child develop their:
During the early years, children absorb and learn any language they are exposed to effortlessly. This sensitive period for learning language peaks in early childhood.
At Montessori, children indirectly prepare their language skills through singing, poetry and listening to stories.
In the classroom, language is presented to the child in a
tactile sense and not as a formal tutorial in grammar.
For example, children learn to trace sandpaper letters,
write letters in the sand tray or use the “movable alphabet”
for early spelling. This familiarizes the child with the sound and formation of each letter, later enabling them to write their own words and sentences.
Our classrooms have a range of interactive, hands-on materials that assist children grasp the concepts of:
Basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
We also ensure that we maintain the four principles of Te Whāriki which is the curriculum framework for the early childhood education sector. The principles of Te Whāriki include empowerment, holistic development, family and community, and relationships.
Through these studies: They develop an understanding of where they fit in their neighbourhood, community, country and the wider word.
The child begins to discover similarities and differences in cultures around the world.
A respect toward others and feeling proud of their own cultural background.
Children also learn Te Reo Maori and Tikanga Maori.
Montessori education offers our children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life.
Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Students are also free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualized learning plan.
Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging “self-regulation” (ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), toddlers through adolescents.
Students are part of a close, caring community. The multi-age classroom—typically spanning 3 years—re-creates a family structure. Older students enjoy stature as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits. Working within parameters set by their teachers, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. Montessorians understand that internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime.
Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors.
Given the freedom and support to question, to probe deeply, and to make connections, Montessori students become confident, enthusiastic, self-directed learners. They are able to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly—a skill set for the 21st century.