"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". Nelson Mandela
The Primary Class (Ages 2-5)
The Primary curriculum lays the basic foundation of education and the Elementary curriculum continues to build on this foundation and is expanded in greater detail.
It is a unique cycle of learning designed to take advantage of the child's sensitive years, where he/she can absorb information from an enriched environment. The child who acquires the basic skills of reading and mathematics in a Montessori classroom, has the advantage of beginning his/her education without effort, boredom or discouragement.
A child who misses the early years and/or leaves before completion of the kindergarten year will not receive the optimum benefits and results from this program. Therefore, it is recommended that children begin at two years of age and continue through kindergarten.
As the children work in a prepared Montessori environment, they develop a sense of order, discipline, independence, and responsibility. A child who may be a little slower will work at his own pace without any pressure. By the same token, a child who is ready to advance and read is not held back because of age.
Practical Life activities help to develop motor skills and help to normalize the child. They consist of care of person, care of environment, care of plants, care of pets, dexterity (small motor control) and grace and courtesy. They include such things as water pouring, polishing, dressing frames, bead stringing, gardening and many other activities. These exercises help to develop concentration, coordination, order and cleanliness. In addition, the children have a sense of satisfaction when they have successfully mastered an activity.
The Sensorial materials help the child to develop and refine the five senses. He learns the tactile and visual discrimination of size and shape. The children are introduced to new vocabulary like (big, little, thick, thin, red, yellow, blue, etc.). This enables exploration and discovery through sensorial impressions. Properly developed, these impressions can bring to the child a sense of order and oneness with his environment.
The Montessori materials for mathematics provide a fundamental understanding of number functions. The children are first introduced to the concepts of quantities and symbols, and then introduced to the functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
The Montessori materials teach mathematics in a hands-on (manipulative) manner. The children are exposed to such concepts as fractions, algebra and geometry in a very concrete fashion that is easy to understand. This leads to a clear understanding of the abstract concepts which they will study later in the elementary classroom.
The interest in writing develops in the child a short time before the interest in reading; however, the skills are so related that they are developed almost simultaneously. Very early in classroom experience, the children are introduced to the phonetic sounds of the lower case alphabet letters. Through a series of games and lessons, the children discover that words are merely sounds put together. Using the moveable alphabet, they learn to build words, and move on to building sentences and creating stories.During this period of reading and writing preparation, children develop their skills and interest where they burst into writing and explode into reading one right after the other.
Science in the primary classroom is an exposure to the world around them. There are collections of shells, rocks, bugs or plants available for the children to examine, touch and learn about. Simple science experiments are done in group lessons to help the children understand the workings of the universe as well as their immediate environment. The children participate in Animal Science activities by caring for and maintaining pets such as chickens that the children have hatched from eggs in the classroom. The children also care for fish & reptiles on a regular basis. In addition, the children learn Botany and gardening skills by growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers in the school gardens.
Dr. Montessori created a colorful set of map puzzles to teach Geography. Children learn the shapes and names of the continents of the world and are introduced to the map of the North American countries and the United States. They also learn about land forms such as the island, lake, bay & cape.
Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten & First Grade (Ages 5-7)
Maria Montessori characterizes the six and seven year old child, as being in the second plane of development. It is now the age of reason. In the first six years, the facts are important and necessary to adapting to the environment. At the elementary age, the child is deeply interested in the why and how of everything.
A vast Elementary curriculum covers:
• Reading & Writing
• Physical Education & Sports
The Montessori teacher is there to present the materials to the child individually or in small groups according to the child's needs and development. The elementary age is also where the moral foundation is set into place and the children learn to be responsible for their actions.
In addition, every year the students are given standardized tests that helps us to determine their working level in each basic academic area. Parents receive a copy of these test scores and we retain a copy in our student files.
The K-1 class also work together in a Montessori environment using advanced Montessori materials. Students are exposed to situations that aid them in developing communication skills, fundamental motivation, spontaneous activity and self-education.