Learning at the Children's House
"I do not believe there is a method better than Montessori for making children sensitive to the beauties of the world and awakening their curiosity regarding the secrets of life."
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for literature.
Maria Montessori pioneered the Montessori Method of Education early this century. In developing this method of education she combined philosophy with a practical approach based on the idea of freedom and independence for the child but within a structured environment.
The Montessori Method takes into consideration the child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social abilities and develops these in a specially prepared environment. What is most unique about the method is the detailed emphasis given to sensorial experiences, developing the five senses and providing a solid foundation for speech, writing, and arithmetic. We recognize that children want to learn and it is vital that they are taught how to learn and through the Montessori method the child will gain this ability, thus creating a solid base on which they can build for their future learning. We want to help your child become a balanced, well-mannered and confident individual, and we believe the Montessori education system will give a flying start at their next school and for life.
The Montessori Learning Programme
The Montessori learning programme aims to develop a child’s self-motivation, independence, and self-respect. It places no restraints on a child’s ability and provides children with a step-by-step understanding of both complex and abstract concepts through she/he uses concrete materials.
A child’s early years, from birth to six is the period when he or she has the greatest capacity to learn and the greatest appetite for knowledge. It is during these early years that the foundation is laid for all their future learning, for their sense of themselves, their confidence, self-esteem, respect and interest in the world around. The prepared Montessori environment is the home to nurture these vital skills.
The Learning Environment
The Montessori classroom is a ‘prepared environment’ consciously designed to support the child’s developmental needs. Each child develops at a different rate and because the classroom is equipped with a wide range of unique Montessori materials the child is able to choose freely from the materials suitable to individual progression.
The special qualities of the teacher and the unique classroom environment combine to allow the maximum opportunity for intellectual growth at the same time promoting emotional and social development and self-control, thus enabling the child to reach their full potential.
The Montessori Classroom
The first aspect parents notice when entering a Montessori classroom for the first time is the quiet and calm atmosphere of the children busy at work! The Montessori classroom can be a bewildering place for parents who for the first time watch what is happening in the classroom. The equipment looks attractive and interesting but very different from the toys you are used to seeing your child play with at home. The teacher seems very fussy about the way the children handle the equipment yet no-one will appear to be controlling what they choose to work with or how long they work with it. The children all seem confident and calm, working quietly, tidying up after themselves and sharing their time and equipment.
The unique Montessori environment is carefully planned; every item is designed to meet the needs of your child. It is a child-sized world where the adults treat the children in their care with respect and understanding, guiding them through their most important years of learning. The child has the freedom to make their own choices and work freely with equipment that interests and stimulates them. The activities they have to choose from are carefully selected by the teachers and provide variety, interest, and the necessary learning properties to stimulate your child.
All the exercises have an in-built control of error, which enables the child to work with it on their own but guides them in reaching the correct conclusion.
On entering The Children’s House Montessori School your child will be working sub-consciously towards the goals of reading, writing, and arithmetic from the very beginning. A good example to use to show this is writing: to first strengthen a child’s fingers in preparation to hold a pencil without tiring, the teacher will encourage the child to use his pincer grip to hold the knobs on the wooden blocks you will see on the sensorial shelves. The child will be shown how to grip tweezers in the same way when using them to transfer beads from one bowl to another when doing practical life work. They will then go onto to learn the shapes of the letters; as the child runs their fingers across sandpaper letters and mouths
the sounds, the whole multi-sensory experience is absorbed. The child will then go on to become dexterous enough to draw the shapes with a pencil.
Montessori Areas of Learning
Early learning/ Practical life
The lessons of Practical Life develop a sense of and appreciation for order, self-confidence, independence and an ability to concentrate and follow a sequence of steps. Lesson of grace and courtesy are given to help children play and work together in a peaceful and caring environment.
*Transferring activity (spooning, grasping, scooping- tongs-tweezers)
*Pouring activities (wet,dry - large and small pitchers)
*Dressing skills- care of self (zippering, velcro, snapping, tying)
*Polishing and scrubbing activities
*Care of environment (sweeping and dusting)
The sensorial materials were designed to help the child to focus attention on the physical world exploring each of senses with small changes to the characteristics of objects. Each piece of material is self-correcting and allow the child to make observant of assessments of their work.
Content (five senses)
*Sight - The properties of size, shape, volume, and color
*Touch - The properties of size, shape, volume, texture, temperature
*Hearing - The properties of sound, including pitch and volume
*Taste - Recognition of differences between tastes: salty, sweet, bitter and sour
*Smell - Differentiation of likenesses and differences of aroma
The Montessori math materials and lessons help children develop an understanding of math concepts through the use of educational materials that make abstract concepts clear.
*Whole number concepts and numeration from one to ten
*Sequencing and quantity of numerals from one to one hundred
*Place values of units-tens, hundreds and thousands
*Concrete exploration of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
*Identifying squares and cubes of number from one to ten through skip counting
*Exploration of geometric shapes, time, measurement, fractions, and currency
Children from three to six year of age are in a "sensitive period" for absorbing language. The Montessori environment is rich in oral language, listening to stories, reciting poems, singing and talking to others. Pre-reading activities along with Montessori sandpaper letters assist in the development of writing and lead to reading.
*Simple to difficult Lotto matching games
*Rhyme - Opposites
*Alphabet-sandpaper letters and sound of letters
Cultural area/ Knowledge and understanding of the world: Science, geography and social studies
The goal of the curriculum is develop a global perspective of people and their cultures.
Science concepts are presented in sensorial ways to provide real-life experience
*Classify nature science environment: Plants and animals, Animal-kingdoms
*Physical science: magnets, sink and float, solar system, simple machines
*Biological science:mammals, human body, reptiles, dinosaurs, amphibians, birds, insects, flowers, leaves, and trees
*Continent puzzles and globes,
*Country flags and artifacts
*Land forms: Island/lake, peninsula/gulf, isthmus/strait
*Celebration of various cultures through: music, cooking, literature and art project
The children have free flow access to the outside classroom and play area and our art and craft area is well stocked with materials to aid each child’s creative development.
There are physical exercise, music and movement sessions and circle time games and activities to enjoy.
Movement is a vital component in brain development and is, therefore, inherent in the Montessori environment. In addition to the movement activities in the classroom (such as walking on the line), all students participate in Physical Education classes. Through interaction with classmates and instruction from the PE teacher, children have a lot of fun developing their bodies and social skills. Healthy competition, with a focus on good sportsmanship, is important at all age levels.
Toddlers enjoy Physical Education once a week for 30 minutes. Watching Toddlers in the gym can be the most fun that some of us have all day! The main focus of PE class for this age group is gross motor control and cooperation with the group. They enjoy activities such as, running, jumping, balancing, and playing with balls.