THE MONTESSORI CURRICULUM
The Montessori classroom consists of the following main areas:
The young child is attracted to activities that give independence and control over their own life. In the Montessori classroom children practice such activities as pouring, hand washing and polishing. The purpose of these activities is to develop concentration and attention to detail, finishing each task and putting away all materials before going on to another activity. The child may repeat each activity as often as they like, therefore perfecting coordination and extending concentration.
The child explores dimension, shape, color, texture, weight, aroma, taste, pitch, and their relationships through a series of exercises called the sensorial materials. These materials isolate various qualities so that the child can experience each one individually. The materials are largely self-correcting so the child can accomplish the exercises alone. Moreover, they are structured, building on what has been previously learned. A sense of order is found in these materials and the child acquires the joy of learning that their environment also has order.
Each of the separate skills involved in the mastery of reading and writing is pursued by the child at his/her own pace. Exercises include rhyming games, matching objects to pictures, sandpaper letters and language cards. Montessori introduces grammar, geography, geology, biology, art and music to children. At this stage children joyfully absorb many difficult concepts when they meet them in concrete forms.
The Montessori mathematical materials isolate each concept and introduce it to the child in a concrete form using manipulative equipment. Children first learn to associate each numerical symbol with the proper quantity. The child progresses one step at a time to a more abstract understanding of the concepts of arithmetic.