Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. In 1896 she became the first woman to qualify as a Medical Doctor in Italy
Her ideas and practices for education were formed early in her working career when she had the opportunity to study and observe the way in which children interacted with the world around them. As a result she went on to devise a series of educational methods and principles which, would act as a series of enablers so that the children she worked with might experience the joy of learning in a more self directed and experiential way.
She believed that children have an enormous capacity to learn if given an appropriate and prepared environment, which would enable them to unlock their potential and develop their self confidence and self esteem.
The Montessori curriculum encompasses a whole range of activities that allows children to explore, experience and understand. Our purpose built Montessori nursery is a home away from home where children can be themselves while building on their social and emotional intelligence.
The curriculum has a holistic approach to education as an aid to life and enhances children’s natural learning ability. The activities are designed to build foundation for learning educational concepts later.
The carefully prepared classrooms are designed to meet all the needs of the children to develop a sense of belonging. Montessori classrooms stimulate spontaneous interaction with the materials. Every object is chosen with a specific goal for the children so that everything that they do in the classroom has a purpose. The prepared environments house all child size materials for easy accessibility and facilitate spontaneity and stimulate self development.
The Montessori curriculum involves six keys area, read more here.
Practical life activities
For the little ones, practicing life skills are as important as anything else. So activities such as
pouring out of a jug, caring for the classroom, zipping and buttoning frames, develop hand eye co-ordination, concentration and and a sense of independence that are so important in building their personality. The child size furniture and materials that are carefully prepared give them a sense of belonging to the environment. By working as a team for some activities and by working alone on some others children develop social skills that enable them to become confident members of the society.
Montessori curriculum works around the widely accepted fact that children under the age of six learn more through their senses. The sensorial materials were scientifically prepared by Dr. Montessori to refine, enhance and educate the senses. Working on the concept of isolating one difficulty at a time, these activities help children grasp abstract concepts such as big and small, light and heavy or long and short. These materials provide scope to explore colours, shapes, sounds, textures and patterns. They also help children widen sensorial experience; improve skills of observation and discrimination that are important to understand complicated educational concepts later on.
Dr. Montessori believed that children have a mathematical mind and designed materials that provide concrete understanding of abstract concepts.
Materials such as the number rods, spindle boxes and counters, provide simple yet concrete step by step guide to learning numbers and counting. The concept of math is also approached indirectly through other areas where they measure and pour, or grade big and small. The math materials do not just provide them with the concepts, but help them progress at their own pace and understanding before they move to the next stage.
Children are natural learners and have the capacity to learn more than one language at a time. In the Montessori classroom, children have freedom of speech and movement and this, to a great extent helps them in building language skills. Moreover, language, like math is also approached indirectly through other areas when they are given the precise terminology of things that are used in the environment. Materials such as picture cards help them widen their vocabulary. With the use of sandpaper letters, children use tactile sense to trace around the letter and understand the letter; this helps them when they begin to write the letters later on. Drawing insets, another piece of material, where children learn to draw within a boundary, helps to a great extent in preparing the hand and the mind for reading and writing.
Children also have free access to the book corner, where they can delve into the world of books themselves or request for a story at any time. Everything in the Montessori classroom is about learning language- they learn language while singing songs, listening to stories, creating an artwork or by just talking to their friends.
Creative expression forms an integral part of the whole curriculum. With the variety of materials provided and themes introduced children are free to innovate and experience art in their own way. They are given freedom of expression of their creativity in the painting corner. Apart from drawing and painting, modelling, stories and songs play a significant role in creative curriculum too. There are also many teacher led activities that work around a theme based on current events that help children in their creative expression.
The Cultural Curriculum
The Montessori cultural curriculum brings the world into the classroom through some very exciting activities. Children begin to understand cultures, different people, and countries through various activities such as globe, puzzle maps and other activities.
Also activities such as matching, sorting, classifying using picture and name cards further enhance their cultural knowledge while underpinning the cultural aspect.
In our rooms there are also materials for role play that help them link to the different parts of the wider world. Children learn a lot through songs and stories, so the classrooms are equipped with CD players and television, which are put to good use as and when required to complement learning the cultural aspects.
We also have our pet rabbits, which the children love and care for. This is provides them a key to the world of animals and builds compassion for other living creatures in our planet.
Apart from this, the celebration of global festivals helps children understand and appreciate other cultures and diversities.