Classroom Areas

Practical Life

Practical Life is just as it sounds. It is the basic life skills that we all need in order to function in our world. The children gain concentration, coordination, a sense of order, and independence. They begin working in the area of Grace and Courtesy, learning social grace. Care for oneself and for their environment are also valuable lessons that they gain here. The work in this area is more than mastering the given task, but mastery of the self. The children work towards self-discipline and concentration, organizing their movement and thoughts toward the completion of a task.

The principles found in the Practical Life area will also carry over to other academic areas. For example, sorting things from left to right prepares them for the structure of reading and writing. Pincer activities prepare the hand position for writing and matching exercises develop the concept of one to one correspondence, which is later applied to math.

For Elementary children, the work and concepts gained become a part of their daily routine. Organizing their work and time, caring for their materials, and even becoming active participants in helping the community, all translate from the lessons learned through the Practical Life area.

Sensorial

Maria Montessori believed that all things begin in the intellect as a sensory experience. She understood that developing the five senses opens the gates to learning. The Sensorial Area does just that. The child begins to explore using touch, taste, sight, sound, and smells. Each sense is isolated in the different materials, providing a myriad of work that they enjoy and the development for the individual senses. As in Practical Life, the Sensorial area becomes a jump off point to other academic areas.

In our Elementary Program, the Sensorial area begins to extend to other areas such as math, science, geometry, and music. Not only have the children developed their senses, but they have also gained the ability to differentiate, organize, categorize, and classify. These skills become imperative later on as they progress to the higher levels of academics.

“The development of the senses indeed precedes that of superior intellectual activity…”
– Maria Montessori

Mathematics

Montessori understood that in order to teach an abstract concept such as math, the child must first work with concrete, hands-on material. It begins at the toddler level by teaching Pre-Math concepts. These concepts include temporal relations (sequencing), spatial relationships, seriation (ability to order in a series), class inclusion, one-to-one correspondence, and equivalence. These concepts are built into the materials and as the children explore, they begin to gain an innate understanding. As the child gets older we begin to introduce the concept of number. Not just at the rote level of counting, but the understanding of the association between quantity and numeral.

Once this understanding is attained, the child can now explore the different operations and manipulations of number, again using hands on materials. As they work more and more with the material, the children will soon be able to abstract the process, working without the need of manipulatives.

At our Elementary level, the students go beyond the realm of just equations on a page and see how the different facets of math are used in the real world and apply their mathematical knowledge to real world problems.

Cultural

The goal of the Cultural Studies Area is to help the child discover his own place and purpose in the world. This area encompasses natural and physical science, geography, history, and social studies, as well as humanities and art.  The children are introduced to and explore these many areas. They begin through experiences in the classroom, utilizing visual media, maps, charts, time lines, and at times experience  the real thing. These experiences eventually grow to the higher levels of learning.

Our Elementary students begin to learn of the inter-relationships between these areas. Through large group “WOW!” lessons, the child is introduced to many new and fascinating concepts which encourage them to ask “Why?”, learn about causes and effects, and to look for and discover answers to their questions. Through these lessons and their individual work, the children gain the skills to observe, classify, interpret, synthesize, and evaluate information about their world and to become insightful, perceptive, sensitive, and thoughtful participants in it.

Language

The development of a child’s language skills begins at birth. They are already communicating in their own unique way and as they grow, they begin to acquire the language of their environment. We know that placing a child in a language rich environment is essential to their language development. The Montessori classroom is designed to where the children will gain vocabulary, communication skills, and listening skills. They are acknowledged for what they learn and for what they have to say.

As the child gets older, they are introduced to the world of reading and writing. Montessori has materials that allows the children to explore letter sounds and words without being hampered by trying to hold a pencil. With materials such as the Movable Alphabet, a child can work with phonetics and word building while refining their fine motor skills for writing. They are introduced to literature through story reading and begin to gain an enjoyment for reading.

At our Elementary level the students begin to explore the rules of grammar and the functions of words. They increase their vocabulary and spelling skills using the “Scientific Spelling” method and continue their enjoyment of literature by using “Great Books” studies.  Research and composition work is not only used for language but in all other areas of study.