Curriculum

       

THE MONTESSORI METHOD OF EDUCATION 


PLANES OF DEVELOPMENT


The transformation of children from birth to adulthood occurs through a series of developmental periods. The focus of Montessori education continually changes in scope and manner to meet the child’s changing needs and interests.
  • The first plane of development occurs from birth to age six. At this age, children are sensorial explorers, studying every aspect of their environment, their language and culture.

  • From age 6 – 12, children become conceptual explorers. They develop new powers of abstraction and imagination, and apply their knowledge to further discover and expand their world.

  • The years between 12 and 18 see the children become humanistic explorers, seeking to understand their place in society and their opportunity to contribute to it.

  • From 18 to 24, as young adults, the children become specialized explorers, preparing to take command of their own lives.


MONTESSORI PRIMARY 3-6 YEARS OLD


The Primary classroom consists of a mixture of children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. The children in the primary program possess what Dr. Montessori called the Absorbent Mind”, the ability to absorb all aspects of one’s culture and environment without effort or fatigue. As an aid to this period of the child’s self-construction, individual work is encouraged.

The Children ages 3 to 6 years old are grouped together in one class, the younger children will have the opportunity to learn from the older ones and the older children will have the opportunity to become role models to the younger children. The AMI Montessori teacher in the classroom is the person who will give all children individual lessons with the Montessori Materials in all areas. Once the child has received a presentation/lesson he/she can practice with that material as often as he/she wants. It is the practice with the material which teaches the children not the Adult in the classroom.

The child can freely choose any material he/she has had a presentation on. Because the children choose their own activities there will be plenty of time for the Teacher to observe what is going on in the classroom and decide which children are ready to move on to the next lesson. The Montessori teacher follows the child, if the child is interested in a particular lesson he/she will get that lesson in order to progress at his/her own pace.

The children in the primary program will be working in the following areas:

  • Practical life exercises instill care for self, for others and for the environment.

  • Sensorial Materials serve as tools for development. Children build cognitive skills, and learn to order and classify impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening and exploring the physical properties of their environment.

  • Language Development is vital to human development. The Montessori environment is rich in oral language opportunities, allowing the child to experience conversations, stories and poetry. They will be learning the phonic skills necessary to develop their reading. The children are also exposed to the study of grammar.

  • Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art and Music are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities.

  • Mathematical activities help give children a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles, prepares them for later abstract reasoning and helps to develop problem-solving capabilities.


MONTESSORI ELEMENTARY 6-12 YEARS OLD


The Montessori classroom prepares children for each successive developmental plane. It allows them to take responsibility for their own education, giving them the opportunity to make choices and become unique human beings.

Montessori focuses on social development, which is just as important as the academic aspect of education. Social development is at the core of the human existence. Parents often ask whether the Montessori elementary program, with its emphasis on small-group activity, provides enough opportunities for social development. Moreover, they may wonder whether a multi-age class affords enough same-age peers for each child to have a wide choice of friends.

Just like the Montessori preschool, Montessori elementary is based on three-year age groupings. Students in first through third and fourth through sixth grades are grouped together in the same classroom, just as three-, four-, and five-year-olds are together in the preschool. At all levels, the multi-age grouping provides children with opportunities for broad social development. Knowledge and behavior is passed on from one level to the next. The oldest children provide leadership, reliable friendships, and academic learning, which peers don’t always provide. At our school we also have a classroom which has all age levels from 6-12 years old together. In order to have a good balance in each classroom this was a necessary move. We have a small group of each age level together and the same principles still apply. The children learn from each other and continue to help each other at each level.

Friendships developed in a multi-age setting have depth. Children make an effort to get along together because they know they will be together for more than one year. Moreover, the presence of a wide range of ages and abilities builds in each child a tolerance and appreciation for people’s differences. Shy, introverted, or less socially experienced children often become outgoing and confident with those who are younger. Self-confident youngsters are given the opportunity for even greater leadership roles. Relationships and their complexities are supported by alert and sensitive adults who are trained to observe and enhance social interaction, not to repress it.

The multi-age groupings also enhance learning. The youngest children receive stimulation from the older children’s activities before the younger ones even receive the lessons. And of course, they want to emulate the older children’s progress. The older children, in turn, benefit from helping the younger ones. They reinforce their own knowledge by “teaching” younger children.

The elementary-aged child is in a period of heightened social development, so s/he needs group experiences. Multi-age groupings mean more small-group options relative to ability and interest. They also mean maximizing the potential of each individual child in an environment that has a place for everyone, providing a profound sense of belonging.

The social life of the Montessori elementary is enriched by the free verbalization and movement (i.e. no assigned seats). Work is shared, and learning is vitalized by social life. Each child’s work is unique. At elementary level of Montessori, the exchange of academic facts and discoveries becomes second nature.

Adding to the community environment is parent involvement. A special brand of community pervades the classroom because the parent is not treated as an alien but as a collaborator. Children begin to see that the educational destiny is part of the parent’s direct input and action. The school is a community celebration and all are involved.