Pillars of the Montessori Curriculum
The lessons in this area of the classroom will help aid your child in independence, self-care, care of the environment, concentration, and development of fine and large motor skills. They will use their hands to engage in plant washing, learn to use the button frame, squeeze oranges to make juice, or help care for the environment and wash a table.These are just a few examples of the activities in this area of the classroom.
Your child will work with many materials created by Maria Montessori which focus on the five senses. Visually your child will see different shapes, sizes and colors and gain knowledge and language on how to express these differences. The sound cylinders help to isolate the sense of hearing. Your child will use their sense of touch to feel the difference of rough/smooth, light/heavy and may use a blindfold with the knobbed cylinders. The sense of smell with matching the scent jars, and the sense of taste with a controlled group lesson to experience sweet and sour.
Starting from abstract to concrete, many of the beginning language works are to help the child focus on hearing and identifying the letter sounds, before the letter names. We always present lessons from left to right, to move as you do when reading a book. In the beginning of the school year, an informal assessment will be given to each child so that each teacher knows where every child’s knowledge is with regards to letter sounds and names.
Math The math materials are both visually engaging and beautifully crafted, encouraging each child to be hands-on while learning numbers. Like with the language lessons, the beginning of the year assessment will help the teachers know what math lessons are an appropriate starting point for each child. No matter their age, we follow each child’s progress accordingly. While beginning with the number rods, sandpaper numbers, and spindle boxes, your child will work with 0-10 visually and tactfully. Once a strong foundation is created, he/she may move to the teens, tens, one hundred board, up to the decimal system, working with numbers up to 9,000.
Each month, the cultural corner enriches our studies on a different continent. While we begin the school year learning about our state of Virginia and our country, the United States of America, we quickly zoom out to discover North America, South America, Antarctica, Australia/Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa, before zooming out even further, completing the year with the Solar System! Our corner is full of books, pictures, beautifully crafted wooden map puzzles, and flags from all around the world.
We start the year learning about the human body (heart, brain, bones, and nutrition) and understanding that we are mammals and discuss what other mammals there are. We will study a new animal each month. We then move on to learn about birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, arachnids. Along with animals, we will also explore different biomes, such as the rainforest in South America or the deserts in Australia. Different experiments are conducted throughout the year.
Your child may choose to create some form of art everyday while utilizing available materials in the art room. Each month we will discuss a different artist with the whole group and at the end of the year, we have a collective art show. From Picasso to Monet, Seurat to Kusama, your child will learn many different styles and techniques. Seeing each child’s own personal style and progress at the art show is beautiful and gives each child a great sense of pride.
Once a week there will be music class where all the children engage in singing, dancing, and playing instruments. Different styles of music are played throughout the day depending on what continent is being studied. Your child may become familiar with some composers and the orchestra.
There is a peace shelf in the Montessori environment where your child will practice how to slow down, breathe, and gain awareness for self and others. Additionally, through group exercises, your child will explore what “peace” is and how they can share peace with themselves and others at school, at home, and in the world.
An abundance of new lessons and materials are found in our outdoor classroom, such as magnetic tiles. Weather permitting, your child will spend a lot of time outside discovering new insects and trees, painting, watering plants, or building and creating in the sandbox. This is a wonderful time to strengthen muscles, socialize, garden, and have a playful imagination.