Earlier this year I posted on the Liturgical Calendar. I shared how the 1st-3rd grade children learn to label each prism of the calendar as one of the … Read More
The Montessori Children’s House is prepared specifically to meet the needs of children ages 3-6. During this time, children are attracted to a well-prepared, orderly, and beautiful learning environment which encourages freedom of movement and independence while fostering their natural abilities and maximizing their potential. Children engage in purposeful work learning practical life skills, enhancing sensorial experience, and developing the intellect. The Montessori environment encourages an awareness of the awe and beauty in all of God’s creation, with an understanding and compassion toward others.
Research is very clear that children learn by observing and manipulating their environment. The Montessori materials give the child concrete sensorial impressions of abstract concepts that become the foundation for a lifetime understanding and learning. As adults and educators guiding the child, the role of the Guide (Montessori teacher) is to assist the child in connecting more completely with the environment by providing materials and opportunities for exploration through the use of the hands, physical movement, and engagement of all their senses. The goal of Children’s House is to help children refine the many sense impressions they have received since birth in order to initiate a greater understanding of the world in which they live and beyond.
The period from birth to six years old is critical for all language acquisition. It is during this time where children are exposed to the most beautiful and rich aspects of the language of their own family or culture through story telling, readings of books, poetry, rhymes, riddles, and conversation. Guides help the children develop a love for and an appreciation of their language, first as a “spoken language”. Simultaneously, the children are introduced to the written word, first with the individual letters and their sounds, followed closely with the formation of short phonetic words and short vowel sounds. This exposure helps the children explode into writing and reading. The introduction of the double and multiple phonograms and sight words, which must be learned because of their non-phonetic nature, helps to unlock the door to discovery of new and vast horizons of learning. In addition, the children are exposed to the structure of a sentence and the function of each word in the sentence along with the study of many different types of word families, root words and even some of the irregularities in our language. After the their year in a Montessori Primary environment, most children have learned to read and write creatively and begin to use their skill of reading and writing to explore and research the world around them.
Mathematics is the study of quantities through the use of numbers and symbols. In Children’s House, the children are first exposed to the numbers 1-10. Once they comprehend the quantity and symbols of the numbers 1-10, they are introduced to the Decimal System, the formation of complex numbers, and place value. With this knowledge, the children learn the methods of calculating or solving problems with numbers which includes the four basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; the squaring and cubing of numbers; and finding cube root and square root. In Children’s House, Guides give a very concrete impression of the squaring and cubing of numbers that will prepare them for a deeper exploration in the elementary environments.
The function of the geography materials in the Montessori environment is to help children increase their awareness of the world around them. The world is a concept in which there is no sensorial image that can be abstracted from the child’s surrounding environment. As teachers, guides provide a dynamic link for child with a series of globes representing the earth. In Montessori, an introduction of a concept always begins with the whole then is broken down into its parts. In geography the globe is the first representation of the whole “the earth” which scales down into continents and detailed mapping. In the environment, the child further explores geography by working with land formations, continent maps, flags, maps, directions, zones, and time. Cultural subjects offer more exploration of the world through cultural studies, botany, and zoology. Through sensorial lessons in geography and world culture, primary children develop an interest in the social sciences that will guide their learning into the elementary years.
Children, by nature, are natural scientists. In Children’s House, the Guides prepare the science area for sensorial exploration. Science, as an ordered discipline, directs the child to the reality of the world in which he lives by giving the “real” to the child to observe whenever possible. A solid base of exploration at a young age not only keeps interest alive but deepens a foundation for later years of scientific study. Children begin to make connections with nature, increase their vocabulary, and make discoveries in the environment through exploration.
The main areas of scientific study in Children’s House are Botany, Biology, and Zoology. The Botany studies are introduced to aid in understanding the role of plants in nature. The function of Biology is to arouse an interest in life found in our outdoor environments. Zoology introduces children to the study of animals and how nature has laid the plan for what each animal needs to survive. In addition, science experiments are presented to aid in enticing the child’s interest to further explore naturally occurring concepts in the world. The indoor prepared environment is a dynamic link to the outdoor environment and contains a variety of indoor plants, nomenclature card material, and simple experiments that further explore basic scientific concepts throughout the year.
A Montessori Children’s House environment is designed and prepared to educate children for living life in the school, at home, and in the world. One of the ways we achieve this is through lessons in “Grace and Courtesy”. These lessons instruct the child in the most respectful ways of caring for one’s self, others, and the environments in which they work and play.
All of the materials within a Montessori environment must include these three components:
- The use of the HANDS, allowing engagement with the real world.
- Incorporating the SENSES, allowing greater perception and understanding which cultivates the imagination in future years.
- The MIND, which builds the intelligence. “We should never give the mind more that we give to the hand.”
Any additional materials incorporated into a Montessori environment should never replace the essential materials but serve to enhance and deepen the practical elements of exploration, analyzing and discovery. These materials could assist the child in developing the skills of observation, which would encourage knowledge or identification, which leads to further experimentation and discovery. Technology tools could include microscope, binoculars, scales for weight and balance, rain gauges, sun dials, telescopes, etc.
- 7:45-8:00 AM – Children Arrive
- 8:00-8:15 AM – Work Cycle Begins
- 10:45-11:00 AM – End of Work Cycle – (The Chime ends each day, children gather and get any work to take home. Kindergarten children set up for lunch)
- 11:00-11:30 AM – Recess
- 11:30 AM – 3 and 4 year old half day children are dismissed
- 12:30 PM – The Afternoon Work Cycle Begins
- 12:45 PM – All Day 3 and 4 Year Old Rest Time (Subject to change on individuals need for rest. The work time begins as each child awakes)
- 2:40 PM – End of the Day/Clean up Jobs
- 3:00 PM – Dismissal
*The Daily Schedule is subject to change