The Montessori preschool program serves to provide children with a solid educational foundation in which they learn fundamentals that will prepare them for the future. While typical subject areas such as math and language are covered, more importantly, Montessori preschoolers develop a love of learning and a sense of inner security as learners. The prepared environment creates in children a sense of order and self-discipline, a celebrated curiosity in their world and a sense of responsibility not only for themselves but for their peers and school. These goals are accomplished through work in the following distinct areas in the classroom.
Practical life – Children grow more and more
independent as they practice life skills such as grasping, polishing
and caring for their environment. They learn to tie their own shoes
and pour their own glass of milk at snack. Their gross motor control
is developed as is their hand-eye coordination. Older children guide
their younger friends in mastering a new skill, benefiting both learner
and teacher. Children will help tend gardens and care for classroom
pets. They may learn to sew or do needlepoint as they develop
Sensorial – Every interaction for a child with
the world involves the senses. In sensorial exercises, children are
encouraged to manipulate objects in order to explore the subtle
variations in the properties of the given objects. The children order
and classify based on length, mass, color, odor or pitch. Children
learn focus and a greater awareness of their surroundings, allowing
them to more deeply appreciate their world.
Language – Preparation for writing and
reading begins early with the metal insets. Children develop the
coordination needed for appropriate pencil grasp by tracing geometric
figures. Using sandpaper letters, children are exposed to a few
letters at a time, learning the shape of the letter and hearing the
sound spoken by the teacher. Tracing the letter with their fingers
adds a tactile experience to the lesson. Young children learning basic
phonetic skills are encouraged to compose words with the movable
alphabet. The movable alphabet is a set of wooden cut-out letters that
the students can manipulate on a work mat. Teachers can guide the
students by presenting lessons on beginning sounds, ending sounds or
short vowels. Children learn vocabulary through the use of three part
cards where they match a word with its picture. They then can self
correct with the third card showing the correctly matched pair. As
young as five or six, children are introduced to the concept that words
perform a specific task. They will first learn the functions of the
noun and verb. This will translate into their work with the movable
alphabet as they create simple two and three word sentences.
Mathematics – Montessori math materials
show in a concrete way various mathematical concepts. Children engage
in hands on experiences that make abstract concepts clear. The
materials are elegantly crafted to entice the child and hold his
interest. With these engaging materials, the children learn number,
symbol, sequence, operations and the memorization of basic math facts.
The concrete materials allow the child to see and understand the
concepts so that they are well prepared for the passage to abstraction.
History, geography and culture – Montessori
students are exposed to an integrated curriculum with the ultimate goal
of developing a global perspective. Children as young as three work
with maps to learn the names of the world’s continents and countries.
Children learn about other cultures through music, dance, literature
and art. The students in the community learn to celebrate their