The Practical Life Materials in our Montessori classrooms offer the child the opportunity to partake without interruption, disruption or harassment, of adults’ daily routine in which he has keen interest. Such activities include sweeping, pouring, dressing, washing, polishing and sewing. Though the practical life activities seem routine, they have a holistic effect on the child’s development. They help to build on his natural interest and to develop good work habits, concentration, eye-hand co-ordination as well as lengthened attention span and control of his body.
They also help to expand his knowledge of the environment, prepare him for later intellectual work, and engender a sense of community in him. As he performs these activities, he gradually develops his independence and learns to take turns. With the use of the materials, evidence of increase in the child’s level of concentration, sense or order, control of movement, awareness and appreciation of self and efforts is witnessed on daily basis. Grace and Courtesy also forms an integral part of the curriculum as children are exposed to cultural and social values.
The Sensorial Materials: The wide range of materials here is designed to help children become more perceptive to understanding concepts, make judgments and build a knowledge and understanding of their world.
They help to sharpen the child’s sense through experience and exercise, to compare and discriminate on the basis of colour, shape, size, weight, texture, dimension, temperature, etc. Besides, the child expands and extends his/her vocabulary as she/he identifies and names objects.
The Language Materials in the language and literacy area facilitate listening, writing, reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary building. As the children trace the outline of the metal insets, their hand and arm muscles are strengthened and prepared for drawing and writing. Phonics is introduced early enough to facilitate the development of reading skills. The activities include storytelling, language games, tracing sandpaper letters and building words with the movable alphabet.
Mathematical Concepts are offered to children concretely and in their very basic forms; from the simple to the complex. Montessori’s hands-on materials make arithmetic and geometry exciting and enjoyable. They are designed to build a child’s confidence and self-esteem as he moves from the known to the unknown and from the concrete to the abstract. These materials boost the child’s understanding of basic mathematical concepts.
The Cultural Materials help the child to learn, in very concrete terms, about his world, the real world, which consists of both the natural and the man-made environment. He learns to care for his world and everything in it. He learns about lands and continents, climates, water formation, volcanoes, etc. in Geography. He’s given enough exposure to time-lines in history, beginning with his own and then the life cycles of animals in natural science. Activities include puzzle maps, interdependence of living things as demonstrated with the food chain, simple science experiments such as “sink and float”, “magnetic and non-magnetic”, etc.
Art, Craft, Music and Movement occupy a major place in the curriculum. Children colour, paint, draw and create. Mathematical concepts such as counting, addition, subtraction and one-to-one correspondence are introduced to the children through songs and rhymes. So is the alphabet. Manipulative skills are developed through the use of materials like clay and play-dough. Children are involved in group activities such as colouring, painting, cutting and pasting, which foster social interaction and team spirit.
Circle Time: Children are always looking forward to this as it is always exciting, captivating and highly educative. We sing, dance and discuss various themes.