The specially designed Montessori curriculum assists children to build a sense of order, concentration, coordination and independence along with academic competence. In our school, students gain a strong foundation in math (from concrete to abstract in numeration, geometry and measurement), in English (writing and reading) and in culture (science, history, geography, art and music) as well extensive exposure and practice to communicate in English and French. Children receive curricular lessons in English and attend French classes throughout the week.
These activities are focused on tasks normally done in the home, such as folding laundry and pouring liquids, and help bridge the gap between home and school. They are the foundation of the program, as they settle the child into the school, and help in the development of many important attributes. In this area, children improve their co-ordination and lengthen their concentration span. They learn to pay attention to detail as they follow a regular sequence of actions and develop a sense of order. Finishing each task and putting away all the materials before starting another activity establishes a sense of responsibility and good work habits. Finally, these exercises prepare the child for sensorial materials and materials which require fine motor control.
Children entering the program already have sensorial experiences from the environment. Sensorial exercises help them to organize their chaotic impressions by developing an awareness, understanding and refinement of their five senses. The material is designed to give knowledge systematically along with the vocabulary to go with each sensation. When they apply their intelligence to the impressions given by their senses, the students learn to observe, co-ordinate, control, distinguish, categorize, and relate new information to what they already know. These materials create a foundation which makes all future learning easier.
Children learn best by combining the thought process with manipulation of equipment. Montessori students learn the concepts of quantity, symbol, sequence, operations and memorization of basic facts by using very concrete mathematics materials that engage their hands and mind together. There are many materials designed for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, all featuring the decimal system.
This area includes oral language development, written expression, and reading. Children are introduced to the language area with the letters of the alphabet made from sandpaper. They learn the phonetic sounds by touching the letters and repeating the sound of each one, and then learn the alphabetical names in sequence. Through exercises, games and activities, students progress to learning to read three letter phonetic words, then four or more. Dr. Montessori considered reading one of the most important keys to future learning. Subsequent research indicates that phonetics is the best way to teach reading.
The Montessori Method aims to foster a love and appreciation for all living things. Children study the names, parts and life cycles of animals and plants. Our unique setting gives the students countless opportunities to relate classroom lessons with the real thing.
We start with an overall view and then focus on specific parts. The children are introduced to the concept of time first, then night and day, yesterday, today and tomorrow, the names of the days, months and seasons and young and old. Egg timers, time lines, pictures and golden bead material are all used in this area.
We foster an understanding, tolerance and compassion for all forms of life, throughout the world. Globes, cards and maps help to form concepts of land, water, continents, oceans and land forms, as well as specific places in the world and the planetary system. Various aspects of different cultures are taught, to raise the children’s awareness of the world at large. The basic tenets of environmentalism are also taught and practiced.
Children benefit from having a variety of art materials available to them at all times and a space to work, uninterrupted, when they are inspired. They are provided with the best quality that we can afford—pencils, crayons, felt pens, clay, paper, brushes—the child learns how to use and care for them.