Practical life forms the core of the child's play especially when he or she learns about the relationship with other people, objects, and events. The skill learned hear aids the child development in:
Care of personal hygiene
Care of the environment
Control of movement
This area is the foundation for the later academic learning because it provides:
A sense of order: there is a beginning, middle, and an end to a task.
A sense of independence, "I can do it by myself."
A sense of coordination; the child brings his/her muscles under his/her or her own control.
Most important of all, an ability to concentrate, for learning can only occur when concentration is present.
Tasks are broken down into simple steps. The child learns to button, tie, zip, buckle, pour, wash tables and chairs, polish silver, brass, wash and iron clothes, sweep the floor, prepare and serve food for him/herself and for others, experience grace and show courtesy.
Between birth and six years, the child has a special sensitivity to sensorial impressions and their refinement. Therefore, the sensorial materials were designed by Dr. Montessori to help the child to refine his/her senses and his/her observational sensorial skills. This development of a child's physical senses enhances his/her readiness for greater intellectual work.
The child works with Montessori sensorial materials designed to develop and train his/her delicate senses of:
Touch: smooth and rough, hot and cold, heavy and light, etc.
Smell: spices, herbs, flower scents, etc.
Taste: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, etc.
Hearing: loud and soft, musical notes, etc.
Sight: many series of blocks for long and short, broad and narrow, small and large, puzzles with geometric shapes.
There are also materials for the development of the kinesthetic sense and sense of balance. Through the use of these materials the child begins to sharpen his/her awareness and increase his/her perception of the world around him/her .
Concepts in Montessori Math are always presented in concrete, manipulative form. Later, when the child has understood the meaning and the use of symbols by manipulating the concrete objects, more abstract forms are introduced. The materials are designed to help the child to understand the concepts of associating quantity and number symbols, beginning with numbers from 1-10 and extending to the concepts of the decimal system and place value. As the child progresses, materials are available for working with the processes of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.
Language is communication. In the beginning the child learns by absorption. No one teaches the child how to speak the language of his/her culture, with the special dialects of his/her people and his/her region. He/She absorbs it, with all the idioms and with the particular pronunciation of those around him/her. Learning consists of verbal skills, visual perception, and small muscle coordination. Therefore, we begin with games in listening, training the hand with the metal insets and puzzles, and familiarizing the child with the symbols of the alphabet through sandpaper letters.
The sensitive period for writing (composing words) generally occurs between 3 and a half and 4 and a half, and development in this area leads directly into the sensitive period for reading between age 4 and 5. A complete reading system is available to the children. Through the use of this system, children gain an understanding that separate sounds can be blended together to make words.
Even the learning of reading incorporates movement, from the tracing of sandpaper letters, to manipulating the letters of the movable alphabet to form words. These children love to read and are ready to expand their knowledge to sight vocabulary and later on into creative writing.
The study of Science is done through the use of the Creation Story. The themes will be based upon the days of Creation.
For example, Day 1 God created the light so we will explore the properties of light. This will be followed by the study of the sky and water (day 2); the land, flowers, trees (day 3); the sun, moon, stars (day 4); fish/birds (day 5); animals and man (day 6).
These studies will be deepened as children are able to comprehend, grasp, and apply the material. For example for the study of man, children might learn about the various systems of the body (respiratory, circulatory, skeleton, muscles, etc).
Culture and Geography
The Cultural area of the Montessori classroom covers a variety of subjects. Geography, Science, Botany, Zoology, and History are included. Art and Music are also considered a part of the Cultural Area of the classroom. Cultural studies is one of the subjects that distinguishes Montessori education from other early childhood education.
It is in the Bible area that children can revisit the wonderful stories of God. Children can use these materials to remember and re-enact the amazing way that God created the world, how Noah built the ark, how Abraham and Sarah believed and trusted God. How David defeated Goliath, and how Jesus came to earth to save us.
They can remember these stories and memorize the Scriptures. The children can then meditate upon them and experience the love of God. They are developing an intimate relationship with Jesus.
Discovery Christian Montessori
1125 Inman Avenue
Edison, NJ 08820