The Montessori Method embraces the holistic development of the child this includes:
Physical, Intellectual, Language, Emotional, Social, Play
“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.” – Maria Montessori
The Montessori favorable environment consists of six different learning areas which are:
ACTIVITIES OF EVERYDAY
Activities of Everyday Living are exactly that – activities of everyday living, such as getting dressed and washed, preparing food, setting and clearing a table at mealtimes, washing up and general cleaning, and tidying the house. These are everyday activities that the child is exposed to every day and attempts to imitate. This is the child’s way of learning to adapt to the world and to understand it. In the first Children’s House in Rome, Montessori noticed the children’s interest in activities of everyday living and carefully created activities which would enable the children to learn how to dress themselves, sweep the floor, prepare and serve food and engage in other chores. This was her way of giving the children life skills. It was then found that these life skills did not just affect the children in their individual lives, but also the lives of their families. (MCSA, 2018)
EDUCATION OF THE SENSES
The sensorial materials allow the child to manipulate, explore and experiment concepts that they may already have been introduced to ‘unconsciously’. The materials also enable children to perfect their actions and to develop high levels of competence and engagement in purposeful activity. This measure of self-control is closely linked to the concept of self-discipline and the development of the will.
As the name indicates, the Sensorial materials are closely linked to the five basic senses:
Visual, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory, Tactile
They also include the following additional senses:
Baric, Thermic, Chromatic, Kinaesthetic, Stereognostic (MCSA, 2018)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD
The Knowledge and understanding of the world area of the Montessori curriculum is a collection of fascinating materials that allow the young child to gain an overview of Biology, Geography, History and Science, and through this to build up a wide general knowledge and interest in the world around her/him.
Young children learn about their immediate environment by exploration, investigation and discovery from their own first-hand experiences. This will lay the foundation for all later learning about the world around them as their education progresses. (MCSA, 2018).
Number concepts are a part of everyday life. The child has been introduced to them long before s/he even comes to school. It is important to note that even if a child may be reciting numbers in sequence that this is not the same as being able to count let alone understanding what these words mean. In the Montessori classroom, the child learns by using and manipulating concrete materials during the time that s/he is most sensitive to them. Many mathematics skills are built on the concepts of matching and pairing exercises, sorting, sequencing and ordering. Children do many of these activities quite naturally in their daily lives. They involve concentration and the ability to make comparisons, and as such are very important for cognitive development. (MCSA, 2018)
Reading and writing are one of the most essential milestones in the life of young children. These are two indispensable developmental skills that influence children’s ability to communicate and make their way in the world of advanced learning. Basically, without these skills we wouldn’t be able to express ourselves and put our ideas on paper that can be useful to ourselves and other people. Before children learn to read and write properly, they should develop their ability to speak first. In the Montessori Method, language development is supported by a number of activities that stimulate communication skills and vocabulary development. There is a broad range of materials for reading readiness, phonetic analysis as well as fine motor control for writing.
The Montessori approach to creativity is very special. Montessorians recognize that all children have within themselves a tremendous potential for creativity. It is our responsibility as the Montessori practitioner to ensure that an environment that meets the needs of the child is prepared. Our task is to nurture that potentiality for creativity by offering materials that will best allow this tendency to come to the fore. Creativity in a Montessori preschool environment includes all forms of the creative process. These can include (but are not limited to), art, music, movement and drama. These are universal languages which can be understood by all. During the early years the child’s intellectual activity and physical skills are fused in a creative process which is unique to humanity. General problem solving and exploration when working with the Montessori materials also promotes creative thinking.