Montessori as an educational approach is not designed simply to teach children basic skills and information. In addition to becoming culturally literate, children need to learn to trust their own ability to think and solve problems independently. Like the rest of us, children tend to learn through discovery as well as trial and error. Montessori students learn not to be afraid of making mistakes. They quickly find that few things in life come easily, and they can keep on trying without the fear of embarrassment.
Practical Life Learning the skills of Everyday Life in an atmosphere of kindness, community, and respect is directly connected to a lifetime of good habits. In a very real sense, Montessori children are responsible for the care of this child-sized environment. They wash dishes, cut food, sweep the room, and steadily grow in their self-confidence. The process helps them develop an inner sense of order, a greater sense of independence, and a higher ability to concentrate and follow a complex sequence of steps.
Language Arts The multi-age grouping of the classroom contributes greatly to the child’s motivation to read. The younger children mimic the older children with their “reading” and aspire to this throughout their Primary years. As with all other skills, reading is taught with the use of manipulative materials. From the sandpaper letters and moveable alphabets to grammar and sentence analysis the child learns language just as concretely as he learned to pour water.
Sensorial Educating the senses allows the child to classify the world around them using their natural curiosity and basic skills. From the very start, children taste, touch, feel, and smell their environment. If this is done so naturally, why is it important to educate the young child’s senses? We certainly don’t believe that we can improve a child’s hearing or sight through training. However, we can help children to pay attention, to focus their awareness, and to learn how to observe and consider what comes into their life. These exercises can help children learn and appreciate their world more fully.
Cultural Studies Geography, History, Science, Art and Music are taught within the classroom and included under the “cultural” umbrella. It includes materials such as puzzle maps of the continents, flags, land, air and water exercises, classifying animals, seasonal timelines, art appreciation as well as technique, rhythm and instrumental studies. This allows the child to learn about the world around them, along with their own environment.
Mathematics Montessori students use hands-on learning materials that make abstract concepts clear and concrete. This offers a logical understanding that graphically shows what is taking place in a mathematical process. As basic skills are mastered, the child moves on to the decimal system and operations. When facts are practiced they are memorized through use, not through rote memorization.
Group Activities At the end of each day, the children work in a group to practice Spanish, Music, Art, Yoga or to hear a story read by a teacher or older student.