MONTESSORI PRESCHOOL PROGRAM
PRIMARY 2 1/2 TO 5 YEARS OLD – THE ABSORBENT MIND
2 1/2 years to 5 years
Teacher to Child ratio 1 to 12
Dr. Montessori wrote “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself is being formed.
Another observation of Dr. Montessori’s is the importance of the sensitive periods for early learning. These are periods characterized by an intense fascination for learning. It is easier for the child to learn a particular skill during the corresponding sensitive period than any other time in life.
Our teachers here at Primanti Montessori are highly trained and certified in the principles and procedures set by Dr. Montessori.
- Sensitive Periods
- Practical Life Exercises
- Other Academic Areas
- Sensorial Exercises
The effortless ability to acquire certain skills and abilities that correspond to a child’s development are called “sensitive periods,” by Dr. Montessori. Most of the observed sensitive periods are involved with the child’s senses, the learning tools. From birth he is spontaneously interested in his surroundings and gradually makes order from them. This spontaneous interest and inclination toward order is the basis of the Montessori apparatus. Based on these characteristics, Dr. Montessori developed an environment that allows the child to develop to his or her fullest potential.
Practical Life Exercises
“A child’s work”, Dr. Montessori wrote, “is to create the man he will become. An adult works to perfect the environment a child works to perfect himself”.
Dr. Montessori structured several exercises for the classroom to help the child satisfy their needs for meaningful activity. For these exercises we use familiar objects like buttons, brushes, dishes, pitchers, water, and many other things which the child recognizes from their experiences at home. While using these materials the child is perfecting their coordination, concentration, attention to detail, ability to follow a regular sequence of action, all while learning good working habits. Although these exercises may seem simple, they are actually a very important part of the Montessori program. No learning takes place without concentration and attention.
The materials for mathematics introduce the concept of quantity and the symbols for the numbers 1 through 10. The quantity is introduced by a series of rods, which the child can count and compare. Children match sets of symbol cards with the rods and then using a variety of beads and symbol cards, the child becomes familiar with the numbers. This then becomes the basis for learning the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
These exercises not only teach the child to calculate, but they provide a deep understanding of how numbers function. Our students learn concrete mathematical concepts and the materials lead them to the abstract, so their understanding has substance. Because of the concrete nature of the materials, the child is able to work with basic concepts of fractions, geometry and algebra. Students in our Montessori Preschool – Kindergarten program do very well in math with the use of the Montessori method.
According to Dr. Montessori, the evolution of language begins with the infant’s unique capacity to absorb fragments of language, which serve as a basis for their development. The child first discovers that sounds have meaning, and then they learn to isolate the parts of speech. Finally, they grasp the use of full sentences.
The constant assimilation of language results in a sudden expansion of the vocabulary. The child learns language naturally, taken automatically from their environment. The work of the parent and the teacher is to expose children to the equivalent forms of written language, which they learn through the same general pattern of development. The Montessori child begins reading when they are ready, and learning proceeds at their own pace. Children’s experiences in practical life and sensorial education serve as a preparation for this. The sandpaper letters provide a phonetic basis for reading, and the child’s sensitivity to touch is enhanced by these letters. Not only is sensitivity to sounds and shapes enhanced, but muscles are trained for when writing begins.
Other Academic Areas
Dr. Montessori suggested that the academic areas of Geography, History, and Sciences be presented to the children as an integrated whole, consistent with her cosmic plan of education. Geography is not just the study of facts but an exploration into the life of man.
Dr. Montessori called her Geography material symbols of reality. All of the materials are presented with stories, related to something for memory aids. Most of the History and Science materials in the Montessori classroom are made by the teacher. These materials vary from classroom to classroom. In general they demonstrate Dr. Montessori’s theory that youngsters can learn all kinds of factual information if it is brought to their level by attractive equipment.
Sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom are designed to sharpen and enhance the senses of the young child and enable them to understand the many impressions they receive. Each of the sensorial materials isolates one defining quality such as color, shape, weight, texture, size, sound, or smell. For example, sound boxes are all the same size, shape, color, and texture, but differ only in sounds produced after a child shakes them.
Other sensorial materials include geometric solids, smelling jars, color tablets, temperature bottles, sandpaper letters, baric tablets, cylinder blocks, and much more. The Montessori sensorial materials help the child to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what they already know. The child finds a sense of order in these materials and acquires the joy of learning that their environment has order. Their intellect is trained to make order out of a multitude of experiences, which is the learning process.