Children in a Montessori Early Childhood classroom (ages 3-6) experience a different preschool experience than what is traditionally offered. The Montessori classroom is an environment filled with exploration, order, and a community of multi-aged learners that inspire and lead one another.
The key to this peaceful and busy classroom is the carefully prepared environment filled with materials that can be adapted to meet the needs and interests of the children. The classroom is divided into interest areas that include, math, language, practical life, sensorial, geography, science, and art, with work that frequently changes to grow with the children and pique their interests. Children are free to work in all areas of the classroom and receive new one-on-one lessons with the teacher throughout the day.
Learning Areas in the Early Childhood Classroom
The work of a preschooler, and what brings that child the greatest joy, is learning to do things for himself. Whether the task is putting on his own shoes, pouring a glass of milk, setting the table, or reading a book, the confidence and joy that comes from a child who is encouraged to help himself, is what Montessori is all about. Our curriculum focuses not just on the traditional academic subjects, but on the development of the whole child.
Care of Self: Children learn to care for themselves, including dressing independently, organizing their work space, completing work in a timely fashion, washing hands, bathroom independence, cleaning up after oneself, being respectful, and patiently waiting for a turn. With this independence, children grow confident of their abilities and take initiative in all tasks, rather than waiting for an adult to direct them to tasks.
Motor Development: Motor development involves learning to control the whole body: walking up and down steps with ease, carrying large items, and having coordination while playing outside. It also focuses on the small muscles of the hand, enabling the child to scoop and pour, use utensils, and develop the muscle strength and memory required for writing.
Social Development: The multi-age classroom provides for opportunities to interact with peers in different ways. The community of learners develop a love for helping each other and find joy in the successes of others, as well as their own.
Through lessons about geography, cultures, science, and nature, children develop knowledge and understanding of the world around them and learn to appreciate diversity in the world.
Speech and Language: As vocabulary grows, our classroom provides countless opportunities for practice with language.Our curriculum also focuses on sentence use, answering verbal questions, expressing feelings, and following directions. Children are introduced to the sounds that letters make as soon as they show interest in them. By teaching the sounds instead of the letter names, children can begin sounding out words as their language skills develop, and by the end of their three years in the classroom children have become enthusiastic readers.
Cognitive and Mathematical Development: Development of processing, perception, reasoning, and memory takes place at an early age. Children are introduced to the concepts of order, matching, and sorting, which serve as the foundation for mathematical concepts. Children learn numbers, shapes, and colors not simply by memorizing their names, but by experiencing them with hands-on materials that engage the whole body and mind, while developing concentration and focus. The hands-on mathematics materials help to develop a true sense of number quantity, quantity-symbol relationships, and an understanding of mathematical operations for numbers into the thousands.