Montessori sensorial materials aid the child in developing discrimination through the five senses. It reinforces the idea of sequencing and develops vocabulary and correct expression. Dr. Montessori believed that this process is the beginning of conscious knowledge.
In this area, children establish a sense of order, develop good eye-hand co-ordination and become absorbed in activity. They gradually lengthen their span of concentration. Tasks which adults consider ordinary - washing dishes, cleaning, dusting, using tools, polishing shoes - are activities which excite children. They learn to pay attention to details as they follow a regular sequence of actions. Through practical life exercises, children gain the necessary skills that free them from adult dependence. Good work habits and the importance of making proper work choices are reinforced. Elementary children learn everyday living skills such as caring for a garden, serving meals, making bread, and daily classroom chores.
Language Arts activities give the child a means of communication and ordering thought processes. Hands-on materials take the child from the most concrete (real objects) to somewhat abstract (pictures of objects) to the most abstract symbols (letters and words). Each letter sound is isolated then combined to form words (phonics). Through the language materials, vocabulary is expanded. Whole word learning in context of use is included. Reading books and drama experiences make the written word come to life! Expression of ideas through written words is vital in the learning environment! Elementary children do in-depth study of classic literature, grammar, and word study in addition to creative writing experiences and research.
To develop the mathematical mind Dr. Montessori created materials that provided a systematic and concrete way to develop skills in numeration. As the child uses these materials, confidence is built, thus alleviating the fear of "math" that intimidates many adults. By relating concrete objects to the abstraction of a numeral, the child is introduced to the golden beads, the most concrete representation of the decimal system. Using the golden beads, children can be introduced to the process of the four math operations. Mathematical thinking skills and memorization of facts are included in the elementary program.
Through the use of a variety of mediums, the children have freedom to express their thought through the creation of images. They develop an appreciation of beauty by having exposure to the world's famous artists as well as joy in their own works of art. Through their creations, their hands are being developed by cutting, pasting, stapling, gluing, coloring, sculpting, and painting.
By exposing the children to real and concrete information and classification about himself and the world around him, the child learns respect and appreciation for all living things. The children's curiosity is piqued through scientific experiments and exploration while discovering cause and effect. Healthful habits are encouraged. Physical science comes alive through hands-on activities.
Children proceed from the global aspect to the specific, learning that the world is made of land, air, and water. They become aware that certain combinations result in various landforms, such as lakes, islands, and peninsulas. They are introduced sensorially to continents and oceans through globes and then through puzzles. Elementary students study the history of the universe, biomes, and how land has changed over time.
Children participate in experiences that explore countries' customs, foods, music, dance, language, art, plants, and animals. We hope to help children develop an understanding, tolerance, and compassion for all people throughout the world as they gain an awareness of the world around them. A simple study of Spanish as a second language is included.
The introduction of the idea of history is achieved through the use of a time line of the child's own life from birth to their current age. Through research, projects, and drama experiences, the elementary child can develop an understanding of their historical past. At the elementary level, many views of the beginning of life are introduced.
Through various activities both inside and outside the classroom, the child can develop good body control, which is an aid to a positive self-image. Through these activities, basic motor skills can be more easily achieved. Children learn about control of movement and expression of feelings through dance. An important step into reading is the development of directionality, i.e. left, right, up and down, which can be attained through movement. The elementary students have regular time for physical education, learn dance, and begin their day with physical exercise.
Children have both large group and individual experiences in music. Through the use of songs and rhymes, auditory memory is developed. Various composers' lives are introduced and the children listen and feel the music and express these feelings through drawing. Music is an essential part of the classroom for enjoyment and appreciation. Piano and violin lessons are available at the elementary level.