The Absorbent Mind
The catch cry of the 3-6 year child is “Help me to do it myself”. This is a natural drive to want to act independently which is supported through our specifically prepared environment.
A 3 year old child entering our programme will be warmly welcomed into the community of children and will be introduced to activities in all areas of the classroom.
Activities are demonstrated to children so that they may then choose to do this work on their own. Children ‘work’ intensely hard during their time here, as they develop and grow. We do not refer to this as ‘play’ to give respect for their efforts.
Exercises within the Practical Life area include transferring items between bowls, pouring with jugs, matching pairs of objects and pictures, identifying and creating patterns, food preparation and completing puzzles. These activities provide;
- co-ordination and control (refinement) of movement,
- independence, and
whilst meeting the child’s need for order.
Children are empowered and assume responsibility within their community, soon acting for the good of the group rather than to satisfy their own desires.
Refinement of the senses is encouraged with activities to isolate visual discrimination, identify tastes and smells, develop a lightness of touch and listening skills to associate sounds to objects. Beautifully crafted materials are used for each activity and these often lead into a math or science activity at a later point in the programme. The 3-6 year child is absorbing everything from the environment sensorially and in an almost unconscious manner. An appreciation for different styles of music is introduced by having soft background instrumental music playing during the day. Each day children come together for a short group song time where rhythm and actions are introduced.
Both receptive and expressive language are developed through engaging children in conversation, telling stories, listening to them and encouraging self-expression. This is all done through numerous games and activities throughout the classroom. The development of writing involves two distinct processes: motoric or mechanical development (muscular and physical skills) and intellectual development (understanding of a symbol or letter representing sounds in words). The child’s work in the Montessori classroom involves activities to develop both these processes. Children who experience a full Montessori programme generally make amazing progress in the development of reading and writing. Typically they have advanced vocabulary, use of language and can undertake simple research projects and creative storytelling.
Nourishing the development of the ‘mathematical mind’ is the place of the Montessori classroom. Montessori math materials introduce children to quantities and how to write the symbols for numbers. This quickly moves from counting to building numbers within the Decimal System and using numbers for mathematical operations. The Montessori materials and curriculum inspire children to;
- think logically, investigate and measure;
- use analysis, comparison, calculation and reasoning.
In Montessori we aim to make mathematics exciting and fun.
Geography and cultural areas
Children are very interested in people and animals from around the world. We encourage this by introducing them to the continents and countries of the world, the foods, flags, traditional dress, types of houses and transport, art and music, plants and animal life. Our own beautiful environment gives children an early exposure to nature and we hope to create a reverence for life and a style of living which consciously makes an effort to conserve our natural resources and ecology.
Our model of the 3-6 years programme fosters a love of learning, independence, curiosity, confidence, responsibility, self-discipline and respect. It is a transformational experience for children which truly prepares them for the intellectual journey of the 6-12 years period.
We are preparing and building the foundation for a thinking and rational human being. Our ability to think is what defines us as humans. We can think and reflect, we can imagine into
It is the responsibility of the First Plane (0-6 years) to build a solid foundation for that growing being before he or she comes to the Second Plane (6-12 years). In the Second Plane the child can only build upon what was accomplished in the First Plane.