At Children's Own School we prepare our students with a rich program that develops important skills such as creativity, communication, critical thinking, independance, confidence, and resiliance. Dr. Maria Montessori referred to this approach as "Educating the Whole Child" or catering to all areas of the child's development.
Montessori's developmental approach recognizes that each child reaches certain milestones at different stages. As such, Montessori lessons are presented to children when they are developmentally ready and have practiced and mastered certain prerequisite activities.
During this stage of development children have a unique ability to absorb knowledge quickly and effortlessly. Maria Montessori referred to this as the "absorbent mind."
These children are sensorial explorers and learn through the senses; therefore all experiences within the classroom are hands-on. The concrete experience of learning by doing is essential to the child's development as it enriches his understanding of new concepts.
Also during this time the child has a natural passion to want to be engaged in activity that will be meaningful and purposeful. The child wants to be an active participant within his community at home and school.
0-3 Practical Life
Practical life activities link the home environment to the school environment and develop everyday life skills through real and purposeful work. Practical life lessons are interesting to the child who takes pride in meaningful work, contributing to the development of meeting her own needs and the needs of the community. These lessons are designed to meet the developmental goals for each child such as refining fine motor skills, gain greater control over movements, fostering a sense of order, building concentration, and promoting independence.
The sensorial materials are hands-on activities that allow the child to explore the world in a concrete way through the various senses. The sensorial materials help to develop the children’s hand-eye coordination, fine/large motor skills, spatial awareness, object permanence, and classification skills.
The materials help to refine a child’s senses so that he can better clarify, classify, and define the materials and experiences within his home and school environments. These sensorial experiences deepen a child’s understanding of his worlds.
At home and later at school, the emphasis is on receptive and expressive communication. Receptive language refers to what the child can understand, such as following directions. Expressive language refers to what the child is able to communicate with words and/or gestures.
Curriculum is designed to enrich a child’s vocabulary and bring awareness to the structure of language. The language materials aid in independence, helping students to learn how to use language appropriately and to have their needs and thoughts understood. Language is also enriched through music, stories and poems.
Math is learned indirectly at this level through one-to-one correspondence activities such as counting cups for snack. Some children work with additional activities that build a greater understanding of quantity and symbols for numbers between 1 and 10.
In the 3-6 classroom, the ultimate goal for each individual is to achieve concentration, self-regulated behavior, independence, confidence, and a passion for learning about the world.
During this time of development, children continue to be in the phase of the “absorbent mind,” what Maria Montessori referred to as the child’s unique ability to absorb knowledge quickly and effortlessly. Children at this stage take great joy and pride in real life, purposeful work, and their ability to contribute to their home and school communities.
Social development is fostered in the classroom with children of at least three ages (3-6 year olds), allowing them to develop helping, carting, and sympathetic relationships with others in natural, real-life situations.
3-6 Practical Life
These experiences link the home and school environments and develop everyday life skills through real and purposeful work. These activities are the foundation for all other work in the classroom. The goals of practical life lessons are to aid in the development of the child’s concentration, coordination, independence, and sense of order.
Practical life activities further aid in the child’s development of organized thought, ability to sequence and explore spatial relationships, and promote cultural awareness and adaptation. Practical life exercises are indirectly preparing the child for later exercises in reading and writing.
The sensorial curriculum engages a child’s natural tendency to explore the physical world around her through the involvement of the senses. The sensorial materials are puzzle-like materials that allow the child to refine the many sensorial impressions that they have experiences at home and in the classroom.
These impressions are classified and organized in the mind. The goal of the sensorial area is to aid in the refinement of the five senses through manipulation and exploration of concrete materials, so that the child will have a better understanding of the world.
The language curriculum supports a child’s development in spoken language, written communication, and reading. The language curriculum is quite extensive, with many categories within those subsets. Spoken language helps the child perfect her ability to communicate and express herself appropriately with others. Written language curriculum goals are to develop a child’s ability to analyze sounds, recall their associated symbol, and formulate words. The goals of the reading curriculum are to break down the symbols into sounds, and find meaning and context through decoding words, sentences, and eventually stories.
The math curriculum is first presented to children through concrete materials that allow for hands-on exploration of a concept. The math curriculum is quite extensive beginning with the understanding of quantity and symbol, progressing to place value and the experiences with the four mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). When children at this level demonstrate a concrete understanding of these math concepts, they are ready to move onto abstraction.