image/Title - Curriculum

Our Montessori curriculum is based on the research and findings of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952). Montessori evolved a philosophy of human development that would later spark major educational movements and influence child development approaches throughout the world.


Montessori's method is structured around the child's natural and self-initiated impulse to become absorbed in an environment and to learn from it. Based on her observations, Dr. Montessori developed special materials, techniques and curriculum areas that assist each child in reaching his or her full potential. In addition to the curriculum areas listed below, the daily routine is complemented by a full range of cultural experiences including: Drama, Music, Poetry, Art, Spanish, Geography, Botany, Zoology and occasional field trips. Our curriculum focuses on six important developmental components. These components are Practical Life, Language, Sensorial, Math, Science and Cultural Studies.


Practical Life

The Practical Life area lays the foundation for all other curriculum work to be done in the classroom. The activities are everyday tasks that a child needs to learn to master the care of self and care of the environment. Such activities include pouring, sweeping and sewing, as well as grace and courtesy. Daily Living exercises play a great role for the development of "Order", "Concentration”, "Coordination" and "Independence" for the preparation of a educational mind. Practical Life activities consist of a sequence of steps that the child must perform in a precise order. Thereby, indirectly training a child’s problem solving skills and instilling confidence to successfully complete tasks in a particular order.


Sensorial

The goal of the Montessori Sensorial section is to educate the child's senses. This curriculum area contains Montessori-specific materials that help the child refine his or her experience of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. In addition, the materials of this section are modeled on scientifically-based concepts, such as metric system dimensions or algebraic formulas. Sensory experiences with materials are illustrated for example by the child's first step toward understanding the abstract concepts they represent.


Language

Montessori language curriculum is an integrated approach that combines phonetics and whole language. The child is first introduced to letters and sounds. After several sounds are mastered, he can begin to encode (spell) and decode (read) words by linking these sounds together. Words that do not follow the patterns or rules of the English language are presented as sight words. Once the child has gained confidence with his or her language skills, he or she can use it to enhance his studies in other areas of the classroom.


Mathematics

Mathematics in the Montessori classroom can be separated into eight major categories:



Concepts are presented in a very concrete way so that children are not only able to count, but skip count, square numbers and work with numbers in the thousands. Once the child has a firm understanding in the operations of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division then the memorization of facts is introduced. The child learns hands on by manipulating the concrete material while encountering his own discoveries and conclusions to the abstract concepts he attempts to comprehend.


Science

A child of age 2 to 6 years old is concerned with absorbing the real world around them. The science materials present certain aspects of this world, in such a way that the child can observe, experiment, demonstrate and record what he or she has learned. The focus here is that the child learns how to be a scientist: objective, organized, able to perform tasks in a predetermined order, and record the results. He or she learns to classify, label and differentiate. Science is a hands-on activity that includes the following:



Culture Studies

The topic of Culture Studies integrates and emphasizes a region or population's geography, history, music, art, etc. The children study different areas of the world and experience concrete examples of those areas:



This increasingly important area introduces the child to our planet's great diversity of people.


Art

Art lessons are presented in a Montessori style where they are organized on a tray to be chosen as individual work. As with other Montessori work, the emphasis is more on process than finished product. The demonstration is given to teach the process and proper use of the materials. Once the demonstration has been given, it is important to allow the child freedom to be creative and express himself as long as the materials or surroundings are not being misused. The finished product will be a true expression of the child - a unique combination of the materials, the process, and the child’s own spirit and creativity.


Music and Movement

Music and movement can be powerful forces in the Montessori classroom. Music adds a sensory dimension to life like nothing else. Children have a wonderful capacity to appreciate music of all types, and an uninhibited inclination to move, dance, and make music. South Riding Montessori Center’s movement education program provides children plenty of opportunities to perfect their movements and refine coordination.


Literature

Mari Montessori spoke of children having “explosions” into reading. After children in a Montessori classroom learn all the sounds of letters with the Sandpaper Letters and had extensive practice making words with the movable alphabet, they will spontaneously synthesize what they know and to their own delight—they can read!


After children master the mechanics of reading, they will soon become fluent readers if they have access to lots of books (and card materials) at various reading levels, on a multitude of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. Children will soon realize that reading is a key to exploring the world, and if given the opportunity to choose their own direction, their reading skills will develop naturally.


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