The core of the Montessori Primary Curriculum is made up of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Science, Geography, Botany and Art.
This includes daily living tasks, such as polishing shoes, sweeping, and buttoning a shirt. They also learn how to tie their shoes and put on their coats, prepare their own snacks and drinks, go to the bathroom without help, and clean up after themselves if they spill something. To the child, these are meaningful activities that involve caring for himself, other people, and the environment. They also help the child concentrate, expand his attention span, and improve hand-eye coordination.
These materials isolate a defining quality, such as color, size, sound, texture, or shape. They help to develop the child’s visual, auditory, and tactile senses. Some Exercises make sure children use all five senses to learn. For example, a child studying about fall gathers leaves and feels how brittle they are.
The language materials include objects and pictures to be named, matched, labeled, and classified to aid vocabulary development. Textured letters allow the child to feel and see the alphabet, while the moveable alphabet leads the child towards reading. Once the child begins to blend sounds to make words, a variety of materials are available, ranging from simple three-letter, short-vowel words to read, to materials designed to teach long-vowel sounds, phonograms, and parts of speech. Children are encouraged to express themselves verbally and are taught to trace and recognize letters as a precursor to learning reading, spelling, grammar, and handwriting skills. A wide variety of reading materials are used to gain proficiency and a love of reading.
Math is a concrete experience in the Montessori classroom. The children are constantly manipulating objects in their efforts to understand number concepts. The early materials are designed to teach the very basics, such as the quantity and symbols of the numbers one to ten. Spindle boxes allow the child to see what “nothing” or zero looks like. Moving toward the more advanced materials, bead bars teach concepts ranging from units, tens, hundreds, and thousands, to addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. Children learn about numbers through hands-on learning using concrete materials, such as the golden beads that represent the hierarchy of the decimal system, for example These traditional materials are supplemented with teacher-made games and materials for learning a variety of simple concepts, such as time, money, and fractions.
Science activities are nature-based, and include the study of different animals, a variety of plant types, and environments around the world that support this wide range of flora and fauna. Love and respect for all life are emphasized.
Children are given an introduction to physical and cultural geography through the use of wooden puzzle maps, activities with objects from other countries, and international celebrations and snacks throughout the year. Songs, stories and games are incorporated into daily routines as we “travel” the globe visiting a different continent each month.
Painting, color mixing, collage, and printmaking are just some of the activities provided to show the care and use of art materials, to encourage creativity, and just to have fun! Every week there is a different topic which helps children to explore the art world.
We have a French and Spanish teachers who prepare lessons on a weekly basis for the children to include numbers, colors, and general conversation in Spanish and French.
Because Montessori believes in individually paced academic progress, we do not assign letter grades or rank students within each class according to their achievement. Student progress, however, is measured in different ways, which includes:
At the preschool level, students will often prepare a monthly self-evaluation of the past three month’s work: what they accomplished, what they enjoyed the most, what they found most difficult, and what they would like to learn in the three months ahead. When completed, they will meet with the teachers, who will review it and add their comments and observations.
Once the students’ three-month self-evaluations are complete, parents, students, and teachers will hold a family conference two or three times a year to review their children’s portfolios and self-evaluations and go through the teachers’ assessment of their children’s progress.
Our teachers provide progress reports twice a year. They prepare a written narrative report discussing each student’s work, social development, and mastery of fundamental skills.
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