Sowing the Seeds of Knowledge & Understanding
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A Montessori environment for three to six year olds is designed to entice children to activity. Each carefully prepared material is considered a "motive for activity," through which a child develops confidence, self-esteem, and consideration for others, as well as basic cognitive understanding. The Montessori three to six environment is divided into five areas of work.
Young children find excitement in the most routine adult tasks; washing dishes, paring vegetables, polishing shoes. These tasks allow children to imitate adults, one of the young child's strongest urges. With the use of reality based activities, we enable the student to gain self-confidence, concentration, coordination, and independence. The student is encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility for care of self and care for the environment. Finally, they learn good working habits as they finish each task and put away materials before beginning another activity.
The best preschool experience in the area.
Sensorial materials help children become aware of details. At first, the materials offer strong contrast sensation of smell, texture, sound, or size. As children become more adapt at recognizing the differences and similarities, the contrast becomes less obvious. Educating the senses is important because the mind needs education and training to discriminate and appreciate. Students are continually surrounded by new sensations. The sensorial materials activate the child's absorption of these new impressions. Included are exercises to develop and refine the senses - tactile, auditory, visual, olfactory, gustatory, and stereognostic. These skills translate into the geometry curriculum in the elementary classroom.
In a Montessori classroom, children learn the phonetic sounds of the letters before they learn the alphabetical names in sequence, because phonetic sounds are what children hear in words. Reading instruction begins on the day the child wants to know what a word says or shows an interest in using the sandpaper letters. Writing or the construction of words with movable letters always precedes reading in a Montessori environment. Students then advance through the curriculum, developing skills in reading, writing, and grammar.
Children who have access to mathematical equipment in their early years can easily assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. The same material, presented later in abstract form, may require hours of drudgery and drill. Observing that children like to touch and move things as they count them, Dr. Montessori designed concrete materials to represent all types of quantities. By combining this equipment, separating it, counting it, and comparing it, children can demonstrate the basic operations of mathematics and moves to a new level of understanding.
Students gain a global perspective of the universe through exploration and research in these areas:
• Physical geography - The large wooden puzzle maps are among the most popular activities in the classroom. At first the children use the maps simply as puzzles, but gradually they learn the names and locations of many countries.
• Science and nature - The children's natural curiosity is stimulated through discovery projects and experiments, helping the children to draw their own conclusions. The plant and animal kingdoms are studied in an orderly fashion to create understanding of and respect for all the living things.
• Arts and crafts - Art in the pre-school environment builds on the great joy children find in creating something of their own. The children have the freedom to explore their imaginations in a variety of media.
• Music and creative movement - Creative music, movement and dramatics are woven into the academic program of the school. The philosophy brings together singing, listening, dancing, games, songs and rhythm instruments.
• Physical education - Non-competitive child centered physical activities are designed to provide successful experiences. Overall goals are to have all body parts respond freely and to have fun. Children play outdoors or indoors depending on the weather.