Arbor Montessori Academy
A branch of North Austin Montessori School

Curriculum



The Montessori Classroom is a prepared environment which invites activity and exploration. The classroom consists of the following areas:

 

Practical Life Exercises

 

Young children are attracted to activities that help them become independent and take care of their environment. Materials in the practical life area allow children to practice such activities as cutting, polishing, sweeping, pouring and washing a table. The purpose of these activities is to develop concentration and attention to detail, finishing each task and putting away all the materials before seeking out another activity. Children are encouraged to repeat activities so they may perfect coordination skills and develop concentration. The skills developed through practical life exercises will lay the foundation for academic exercises.

Sensorial Exercises

 

Sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom are designed to help the child explore the world through their senses. Each of the sensorial materials isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound and smell. The materials help children to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what they already know. The Sensorial Materials are largely self-correcting so the child can accomplish the exercise alone. Children find a sense of order in these materials and acquire a joy in learning that their environment has order.



Mathematics

 

The Montessori mathematical materials isolate each concept and introduce it to the child in a concrete form using manipulative equipment. Children are first introduced to the numbers using the sandpaper numbers. Once they can recognize the numbers they are introduced to activities that teach them to associate each numerical symbol with the proper quantity. These exercises not only teach children to calculate, but they provide a deep understanding of how numbers function. They learn concrete mathematical concepts and the materials lead them to the abstract, so that their understanding has a firm foundation. The child progresses one step at a time to a more abstract understanding of the concepts of arithmetic including addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.



Language

 

Dr. Montessori believed that the evolution of language begins with the infant's unique capacity to absorb fragments of language which serve as a basis for development. First Children discover that sounds have meaning, and then they isolate the parts of speech. Finally, they grasp the use of sentences. The child between two and a half and six is in a sensitive period for language, and hence the constant assimilation of language results in a sudden expansion of vocabulary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montessori children begin writing and reading when they are ready and progress at their own pace. Their experiences in practical life and their sensorial education serve as a preparation for this. The sandpaper letters provide a phonetic basis for reading. Children’s desire and sensitivity to touch are utilized by these letters which are cut out of sandpaper and mounted for tracing. They not only hear the sound and see the shape, but train their muscles for when they begin writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the children are able to recognize the letters, they build their own words with cut–out letters placed on a mat. The material frees them from the fatigue of their still developing writing skills and yet still provides them with the opportunity to pursue their interest in words. Children build up their store of words through story–telling, conversation and many other exercises. These activities serve as preparation for the time when children assimilate what they know and are then ready to explode into writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Academic Areas

 

Montessori introduces geography, geology, biology, history and many other interesting subjects to children at a young age. Children can joyfully absorb many difficult concepts if they meet them in concrete form. The common stumbling blocks in the middle elementary grades can be exciting if they are presented to youngsters at an earlier age when they enjoy manipulating with their hands. In a Montessori classroom, a fraction is not simply a number on a paper: it is something which children can hold in their hands. A verb is not just a word on paper; it is something which they can act out. In similar fashion, they can pour water around an island or form a five squared with five rows of five beads each. The materials that make these concepts tangible for them will serve as touchstones in their memory for many years, to clarify the abstract terms when they meet them again and again in future learning situations.