An Overview of Montessori Curriculum Areas
The goal of Montessori education is to encourage independence, love of learning and a positive sense of self in a prepared environment. Each child is encouraged to function independently at her own developmental rate.
In the traditional 3 year program of 3-6 year olds, the child is exposed to areas that enhance independent thought concentration, order and creativity. In this environment, the child has the opportunity to develop academically, socially, and emotionally, to her full potential and to become the person she is to become.
Everyday Living (Practical Life)
Everyday Living activities are designed to develop a child’s coordination and independence. Through repeated use of materials such as spooning, pouring, twisting, squeezing and sewing, a child works towards mastery of these skills. Materials also develop care of the environment, care of person and grace and courtesy. A sense of order and concentration are promoted through the use of materials in this area.
The goal of the Sensorial curriculum is for the child to become an acute observer and to appreciate the beauty and wonder around him. This is done by offering the child beautifully designed materials which isolate concepts of size, color, form, touch, taste, weight, temperature, etc. Each of the human senses is called upon in isolation, thus helping to refine the child’s acuity.
The materials begin with simple activities such as matching colors that are the same, building towers of cubes by using the ability to visually discriminate the various sizes of the cubes, and learning the names of geometric figures. The work progresses to more complex materials such as the names of polygons and quadrilaterals and discovering the triangle as the constructor of other shapes. The Sensorial curriculum is rich in discovery, manipulation and language enrichment.
Dr. Montessori saw the road to reading as a dual path that involved the education of the hand and the education of the mind. Building upon language skills such as listening, understanding and basic speech patterns which she has previously acquired, the child moves on to hear and analyze both the sounds and the meaning of language. By using language in the classroom thru listening, storytelling, reading and dramatic play, a child develops a love of literature, good communication skills and a strong self esteem.
Materials throughout the classroom offer the child many opportunities to develop the refinement of the hand by calling for careful attention to detail and the use of small muscles. Fine motor coordination is also enhanced through manipulating writing instruments, cutting, drawing, writing and opportunities for creative, artistic expression.
In the Montessori Mathematics area, the child is introduced to math concepts and experiences using concrete materials in the environment. Different from traditional mathematics instruction, the abstractions are introduced through sensorial, manipulative experiences which call for the child to order, discriminate, distinguish, make judgements and problem solve.
Dr. Montessori designed beautiful yet simple materials for her math curriculum. Each material was designed to isolate one concept. The isolated concepts build on one another throughout the curriculum to develop and expand the child’s mathematical understanding and experience.
Throughout the year children will explore Science. The children will learn the difference between; living vs. non-living, vertebrate vs. invertebrate, and plant vs. animal. Using hands on materials the children will learn the parts of insects, animals, trees, and flowers. The children will discuss the seasons as they change exploring items found in nature. Science integrates all the other areas of the classroom. The Science area of the classroom is always changing attracting the children and allowing the children to explore nature within the classroom.
The geography area of the classroom allows the children to discover and travel around the World without leaving the classroom. They will learn the difference between land, air, and water using the land and water globe. The children will learn about the different regions; deserts, mountains, and forests. They will learn about the continents, using the continent globe and large continent maps. The children will explore the different countries with hands on artifacts, learn different languages and discuss the traditions of different cultures.
There will also be Cultural Circles where the children will taste the food, and learn about the different countries through the parent co-op.
Parts of this were Written by Northeast Montessori Institute 1994, revised by CHM staff 1995