The Montessori method provides materials and exercises in the classroom that await each child’s moment of discovery in various areas.
The materials are innately enticing, appealing to the child’s natural interests and instincts, and actively engage them in academic discovery, learning and work. They provide a progression from hands-on learning to abstraction, involve physical movement, are aesthetically designed, isolate one skill problem, and allow for self-correction.
Materials/Exercises can be divided into these main groups:
This area refines everyday gestures, activities and behaviors which the child sees the adults around them perform. Exercises focus learning on caring for themselves and the environment, social behaviors and movement. This area develops concentration, co-ordination, social skills, and independence.
This area refines the child’s sense of discrimination. The materials and exercises do not present the child with new impressions, but rather order, categorize and systemize the vast assortment of impressions they have already received and will continually go on receiving. The child will then develop abstract concepts on her own through working with materials.
Language: Children in a Montessori environment are introduced to reading and writing phonetically through the use of hands-on materials that focus on vocabulary development, the preparation of the hand for writing and the introduction of the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.
Math: In a Montessori environment, Mathematics is approached in a concrete hands-on manner. Beginning with materials to understand the concepts of 1 to 10 (quantity and symbols), the child is then able to move into all areas of mathematics learning about larger numbers (1, 10, 100, 1000’s), teens, skip counting, geometric shapes and fractions all in their concrete form. Mathematical abstraction comes later in the elementary program.
These areas are supplemented and enriched by additional activities in the classroom such as group theme work, music appreciation, singing, choral speech, creative movement, arts, and games.
*Montessori classrooms cover all grade level Alberta Program of Studies.