2 Year 6 Months to
9 am to 1 pm
Our environments are designed to support child's need for activity. The children are free to choose their own work and to watch another child work. We gather once a day or more for stories, songs and free play. Children in this age group are sensorial explorers. They constantly feel, explore and learn from experiencing the objects through direct contact with them. They constantly absorb every aspect of their environment, their language and their culture like a sponge, and growing their knowledge.
A large variety of specially designed learning materials and activities are invitingly arranged on open shelves in specific and yet integrated areas of the environment - Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Culture. Of course, Science, Music, Art and Physical Education are an important part of the daily curriculum too. Children choose their own activities and work independently at their own pace under the gentle guidance of the class educator. In this way the child develops concentration, independence, self-motivation and a love of learning.
The Practical Life component of the Montessori approach is the link between the child's home environment and the classroom. The child's desire to seek order and independence finds expression through the use of a variety of materials and activities which support the development of fine motor as well as other learning skills needed to advance to the more complex Montessori equipment. The practical life materials involve the children in precise movements which challenge them to concentrate, to work at their own pace uninterrupted, and to complete a cycle of work which typically results in the feelings of satisfaction and confidence. Practical life encompasses four main areas: Control of Movement, Care of Person, Care of Environment , and Grace and Courtesy.
From an early age children are developing a sense of order and they actively seek to sort, arrange and classify their many experiences. The sensorial component provides a key to the world, a means for a growth in perception, and understanding that forms the basis for abstraction in thought. The sensorial materials give the child experience initially in perceiving distinctions between similar and different things. Later the child learns to grade a set of similar objects that differ in a regular and measurable way from most to least. Each piece of equipment is generally a set of objects which isolate a fundamental quality perceived through the senses such as color, form, dimension, texture, temperature, volume, pitch, weight and taste. Precise language such as loud/soft, long/short, rough/smooth, circle, square, cube and so on is then attached to these sensorial experiences to make the world even more meaningful to the child.
Maria Montessori did not believe that reading, writing, spelling and language should be taught as separate entities. Pre-primary children are immersed in the dynamics of their own language development and the Montessori approach provides a carefully thought-out program to facilitate this process. Oral language acquired since birth is further elaborated and refined through a variety of activities such as songs, games, poems, stories and classified language cards. Indirect preparation for writing begins with the practical life exercises and sensorial training. Muscular movement and fine motor skills are developed along with the ability of the child to distinguish the sounds which make up language. With this spoken language background the directress begins to present the alphabet symbols to the child. Not only can children hear and see sounds but they can feel them by tracing the sandpaper letters. When a number of letters have been learned the movable alphabet is introduced. These cardboard or wooden letters enable the child to reproduce his or her own words, then phrases, sentences and finally stories. Creativity is encouraged and the child grows in appreciation of the mystery and power of language. Other materials follow which present the intricacies of non-phonetic spelling and grammar. Because children know what they have written, they soon discover they can read back their stories. Reading books both to themselves and others soon follows.
Dr. Montessori called science, history, social studies and geography the “cultural subjects” because she believed that the knowledge and understanding of these subjects is what makes the difference between a “literate” person and a “cultured” person. Today we might use the term "educated". The Montessori cultural studies is another thing that makes a Montessori classroom so different from other classrooms. The cultural subjects are taught in a very specific order, (big picture to smaller parts), and integrated into the curriculum. Eventually, after the foundation of each of the individual cultural areas is set, the study of the individual areas are then integrated into each other as well as the core curriculum, creating a deeper understanding of the world and the interconnectedness of everything in it.
In addition to our Montessori focus, we believe our children benefit through art and craft, Music and movement, simple cooking, gardening and structured play. Children are allowed to paint, draw and colour from imagination. Further, we also introduce different media in art such as vegetable prints, sponge prints, etc. Music and singing are an integral part of the curriculum. Children are introduced to various action songs, songs involving counting, colours, animals and their sounds. Music of various genres is played for them to listen and appreciate. Children are periodically introduced to simple cooking where they prepare their own snack. Gardening, involving planting seeds to grow saplings, watering plants, cleaning leaves of their dust, is a regular activity. Children are given time for free play every day. Once a week, we involve them in structured play, which involves games like, the sack race, musical chairs, obstacle race, etc.