The Montessori curriculum at Fort Montessori is categorized under five areas:
The Curriculum is not determined by age rather it is determined by ability. The Teacher introduces a child to a work and show the appropriate work to learn, understand and complete the work. Children then take over the learning process and learn through discovery and self-directed study. The Teacher plays the role of a guide and is quite passive in the learning process after the introduction. As the child progresses, the curriculum increases the difficulty and present varying concepts in different contexts.
Children usually begin learning with Practical Life – day to day activities that children can relate to. Children are then introduced to Sensorial Learning activities – the sensory organs are the first ones to develop and hence the children can easily understand and learn from those activities and works. Next, the Math and Language are introduced to the child. By this stage, the children are quite independent and can begin the self-learning process after a concept is introduced. Finally, the Teacher, presents Social Studies, Geography and History.
Practical life activities are applicable for all ages. These activities are everyday activities such as cleaning, sweeping, buttoning, mopping, pouring, pushing chair in, throwing away trash. Why are these activities important? These activities develop a high level of concentration, develop a sense of order, take pride in completing a job, increase independence, develop respect for his or her community and surroundings, and improve fine motor skills. The practical life skills teach children the following skills
There is an incredibly famous saying:
“I hear, and I forget, I see, and I remember, I do, and I understand”
This is exactly what sensorial learning does. When a child’s brain is developing, the ability to learn mostly comes from the sensory organs and sensorial learning tends to stimulate these organs. The child’s brain develops the ability to isolate and discriminate. Sensorial apparatus provides a particular purpose and focus. It includes using the child's hands, senses, and spontaneous activity. When a young child sees something new and exciting, he or she will want to touch the object. Young children will grab a new kitten and hold it immediately, they want to feel the reality of the object.
This education is not an exercise to sharpen the senses, but to allow a child to use his or her senses to understand what he or she sees. The first lessons present contrasted sensory materials and then graded materials. This teaches concepts of comparing and contrasting.
In Mathematics children are taught to use concreate material to understand abstract concepts. For example, beads are used to teach children to count. Once the child is able to visualize the representation of a number, then the child easily grasps the concept.
For example a single golden bead represents 1, a group of 10 beads are strung together in a straight line for 10, and 100 beads are affixed into a flat square. The thousand cube is as large as 1,000 of the original single ‘1’ bead. Once a child is able to build a visual representation of a number, the beads are used to teach basic operations. Young children are able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers into the thousands using this material.
Once again, the touch and feel is what makes the learning unique – because the Montessori education taps into the sense organs to make a child understand a concept.
Children gradually transfer the abstract concepts of numbers into writing and begin learning by rote. This knowledge is reinforced by writing it down a notebook and doing mental math.
Children’s language development begins long before they enter the classroom. During this time, children are able to learn language simply by living around others who are using language. In our classrooms we incorporate both spoken and written language into the environment to further enrich this early learning.
Children are first introduced to alphabets using phonics. Circle time becomes an integral part of learning for language where children sing songs and poems and try to repeat after the teachers. Children learn the names of the continents, days of week, month, plant and animal names, and specific terms that apply to areas of interest. These vocabulary words are spoken and shown in written form. Children are then introduced to sandpaper letters – where they begin to feel, trace and sound out the alphabet. The next step in the learning process is moveable alphabets – where children are ready to begin writing and symbolize their own thought. In the final step, the children begin refining the skill of holding a pencil and tracing and begin the process of writing. Children soon begin to read words, sentences and small story book and write three letter words.