The use of concrete materials to learn about abstract concepts and operations is fundamental to the Montessori teaching method. In a Montessori classroom, the materials play a significant role in each child’s learning
Materials and activities are designed to attract the child’s interest and to support self-directed discovery and learning. Each material isolates one concept that the child is to discover. The children presented with, and work independently with the materials in the fully equipped Montessori classroom which is prepared by the trained adult according to the Montessori philosophy
These materials are organized around Practical Life activities that develop both independence and social skills; Sensorial activities that refine sensory perception; the development of Spoken Language, Writing and Reading skills; and Mathematical activities that develop fundamental mathematical concepts; as well as activities that reflect upon our human understanding of geography, history, biology, science, music, and the arts.
Exercises of Practical Life – Activities of everyday living
When children enter our classroom the Practical Life area provides the link between home and school. In this important area, the child is able to perform the same activities he or she has seen at home such as polishing, pouring, washing, sweeping, folding etc. During these activities, the child develops concentration, independence, order, patience,coordination of movement, self-discipline as well as gross and fine motor skills which are a vital pre-cursor to writing.
Sensorial – Exploration of the Senses
The sensorial activities are the interesting activities for learning about the environment through sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. In the sensorial area of the Montessori classroom, children develop and internalise concepts of qualities, similarities and differences through classification and gradation with regard to dimensions, colour temperature, texture and sound.
These activities highlight different aspects of the world and help to extend and refine the vocabulary. Slowly and gradually the child constructs a picture of the real world.
Mathematics – Concrete to Abstract
The Montessori mathematics materials that we have in our classroom, allow children to begin their mathematical journey from the concrete to the abstract .
The Montessori approach to mathematics is logical, clear and very effective. The childinternalisesmaths skills for numbers, symbols, sequence, place value and arithmetic, first using concrete materials and then through memorisation of basic maths facts.
Language – From Spoken to Written
Children’s language development begins long before they enter the classroom. Dr. Montessori asserted that children from birth to age six are in the age of the absorbent mind. During this time, children are able to learn language simply by living around others who are using language. Montessori classrooms incorporate both spoken and written language into the environment to further enrich this early learning .more emphasize is given to the development of Spoken Language, Writing and Reading skills.Other skills such as pencil control, handwriting and the fundamentals of grammar are also emphasised in the classroom.
Culture – Our World
The roots of Religion, geography, history, geometry, nature study, art and music are all fostered in the classroom through concrete materials and activities.