"Montessori philosophy can be summed up in one single sentence: 'Children teach themselves.' Maria Montessori said that children have 'absorbent minds,' and are driven to build order out of chaos they perceive in a world full of sights and sounds.
"The different areas covered in a Montessori environment in pre-school and elementary are given below. These areas are taught in different levels for the elementary students.
"Practical Life - Practical Life is designed to instill independence, self-confidence, self-esteem and most importantly self-control. All of these are characteristics that play a critical role in subsequent intellectual growth. These concepts are developed through a number of activities such as:
* Care of Person (Personal Care, Dressing, Frames, and Grooming)
* Care of Environment (Cleaning and Polishing)
* Food Preparation
* Fine motor development (Pouring, Squeezing, Twisting, and Hammering)
* Gross Motor Development
"Sensorial Work - This area includes materials that help refine the senses and includes many works that involve seriation and gradation. Exploration, imitation, initiation, and pattern completion are the objectives of this area. 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. The Sensorial Lessons consist of:
* Auditory Learning (sound)
* Visual Learning (color, size, shape, gradation)
* Tactile Learning (texture, weight, temperature)
* Learning Through Smell (Olfactory - ability to distinguish between and match scents)
* Learning Through Taste (Gustatory- ability to distinguish between salty, sweet, sour)
"Language - Phonics-based approach is used for reading. We also incorporate sight words and whole language when it is appropriate. Each area in language has activities that emphasize beginning, middle and ending sounds, word building, and reading words. Handwriting is a built in feature of the language area and children learn to write as they are learning the sounds. The child at his own pace pursues each of the separate skills involved in the mastery of reading and writing. The Language Lessons Consist of:
* Auditory Preparation conversation with children storytelling (sequencing) poetry (rhymes and finger plays) auditory discrimination listening skills identifying sounds
* Visual Preparation recognizing patterns matching and sorting
* Motor Preparation eye to hand coordination strengthening of the hand manuscript writing
* Analysis phonogram sounds blends
* Reading on Word Level phonics reading in context
* Correct Expression vocabulary of objects, attributes, and actions
* Function of Words beginning writing noun and verb identification (introduced)
"Mathematics - 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. The Mathematics Lessons consist of:
* Numeration counting numerals 1-9 recognition of numerals
* The Decimal System decimal introduction association of place values understanding the concept of 10
* Linear Counting visual recognition of 1-1000 teens, tens, and 100 identification counting with materials
* Four Operations decimal system: introduces concepts of four operations golden beads: units, tens, hundreds, thousands addition, multiplication, subtraction, division
* Abstraction: The Bridge after manipulating the golden beads for operations work, the child becomes ready to recognize the symbolic value of the stamp material
* Memorization actual memorization of the complete tables does not begin until the elementary level-these activities are intended to provide exploration of numbers/quantities while also providing numerous opportunities for repetition and engaging the mind for memory
"Science - Science is a hands-on activity and in addition to the work on the shelves that includes biology, botany, zoology, and physical science. The children have organized time outdoors to study nature. Montessori classes work on small gardens, window boxes, or tubs in which flowers and vegetables can be grown. Other things include:
* Differentiation between living and non-living things.
* Differentiation between animals and plants; basic characteristic
* First puzzles representing the biological parts of flowers, root systems and trees, along with the anatomical features of common animals. These are first used by very young children and puzzles, then as a means to learn the vocabulary, then are related to photos and/or the "real thing," then traced onto paper, and finally with labels as a reading experience.
* Nomenclature Cards
* Botany: identifying, naming and labeling the parts of plants, trees, leaves, roots and flowers.
* Zoology: identifying, naming and labeling the external parts of human beings, insects, fish, birds and other animals.
"Geography - This area contains puzzle maps of the World and its continents. Children have the opportunity to learn the names, flags and location of countries. There is a heavy emphasis on the cultural aspects and parents are encouraged to share their culture and customs in the classroom.
* The Primary Globes (Age 3-5): specially prepared for the very young child that isolate single concepts of globe study - how land and water are shown, and the corresponding shapes of the continents that they learned from the puzzle maps.
* The Puzzle Maps (Age 3-7): These are specially made maps in the forms of intricate, color-coded, wooden jigsaw puzzles representing the continent, the countries of each continent, and the states of the U.S. They are presented to the children at an early age, and are at first enjoyed simply as challenging puzzles. As soon as the children can read, they begin to lay the puzzle pieces out and place the appropriate name labels to each as a reading and geography exercise.
* Land and Water Formations: materials designed to help the very young child understand basic land and water formations such as island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay, archipelago, etc.
* Transference to maps: Introduction to written names and various forms of maps, along with early study of the flora, fauna, landscapes and people of the continents."
-- Excerpted from school website