The First Plane of Development
The majority of educators and psychologists today concur with our founder and Matriarch Dr. Maria Montessori, who believed that the single most influential and important period in the development of a person’s intelligence, occurs between birth and age six.
The Importance of Early Education
Maria Montessori suggested that from birth to age six is known as the “absorbent years.” Children at this time are compared to as being like sponges whereby they absorb everything exposed to them. Within the Prepared Montessori environment, children are allowed to work at their own pace, explore freely on their own initiative and choose their own agenda for the day, with the guidance and direction of their Directress (teacher). Learning is like an open buffet where all the Montessori materials are exposed in a neat and orderly fashion around the classroom in each of the five areas. This beautiful exposure allows for children to gain independence, fosters self-direction and develops self-discipline. It also caters to all learners.
The Five Areas Of Casa Montessori
For Children 2½ To 6 Years Of Age
1) Practical Life – Everyday life skills:
“Nevertheless, the exercises of practical life cannot be regarded as a simple kind of gymnastics, they are work.” (Maria Montessori). The skills of everyday life are taught in this area. Skills such as care of self (for example, buttoning a jacket or tying a shoe, being responsible for one’s own belongings); care of the environment (watering plants, dusting, sweeping, being responsible for sharing others environment); grace and courtesy (treating others with respect). These exercises help develop fine motor control, coordination, concentration, refinement of movement which will ultimately lead to more precise tasks.
2) Sensorial – Exploring the world through senses:
Sight, touch, taste, sound and smell are the five senses that children are continuously using to explore with the aid of the sensorial materials and the environment around them. Children learn to classify and categorize sizes, textures, colours and shapes and these beginning discoveries lead into the beginning awareness and fascination of Math and Language.
3) Mathematics – From concrete to abstract:
The children learn the difference between quantities and symbols through a sensorial approach to learning. It is fascinating to notice how they move from concrete to abstract learners. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are all introduced using didactic material and a very unique approach to learning.
4) Language – From reading to writing:
From the moment the children enter the Montessori environment, the main emphasis is on communication using precise vocabulary. Children are taught to hear the sound of each of the letters of the alphabet phonetically. This helps the child learn how to form words, then sentences and then a natural explosion of writing and reading becomes fluent and a part of their world, on a daily basis.
5) Culture – World exploration:
Geography, Botany and Zoology are some of the different areas that are covered. Flags, coloured globes, puzzle maps and land and water forms are but some of the wonderful material the children are exposed to in this area. The world of culture is endless and is celebrated on a daily basis at MSK.