Academics - Montessori Method

At 1st Class Montessori School, we are greatly concerned about the thought process of children and their behavior in a well-prepared environment. We share the views of Jean Piaget (1896-1980) and Maria Montessori (1872-1952), which describe the child as one who is constantly constructing their inner being through movement and manipulation of objects. As the preschool child develops mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually, he or she also possesses sensitive periods for language, movement, order, work and others. Therefore, it is our responsibility and desire to assist the child in becoming the best person they can be. Since we realize each individual has unique background experiences, inherited qualities and personalities, we address specific needs that will guarantee success. Our curriculum is designed to enhance proper learning and development.
 
There are four basic areas of instruction created as the foundation in the Montessori program, including: Practical Life, Mathematics, Sensorial and Language. Some of the other subjects explored are Geography, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music, History and foreign languages which include Spanish, Japanese and Swahili. Our students also are engaged in educational technology, which enhances their learning experience. 

Practical Life
The word "practical" means obtained through practice, designed for use, workable and sensible. In our practical life area, children are taught the basic household activities, such as sweeping, cleaning, personal hygiene, table manners, pouring, spooning, tweezing, etc. This method of "practice" stimulates the mind and body, strengthens the fine motor muscles, and prepares the child for other areas in the Montessori environment. The "basics of life"- something children are familiar with and may encounter in their everyday lives - is the overall aim.
 
Objectives - The learner will:
1. Take care of the environment by cleaning, sweeping, dusting, etc.
2. Show independence by working alone at his/her own pace.
3. Focus on various ways of manipulating certain materials.
4. Engage in social activities.
 
Sensorial
In this area, materials have been developed to challenge the senses and encourage the child to discover his dominion. It is best to allow the children to do something they are familiar with, then present the next activity according to what they already know and are capable of performing. They internalize what they see, feel and hear thereby relating it to their intelligence. 
 
Objectives - The learner will:
1. Grasp and maintain concepts such as size, shape, color, and other attractive features. 
2. Construct materials as demonstrated. 
3. Experience sensations that are essential to their development.
4. Make decisions concerning variations and extensions of various materials. 
 
Mathematics
In everyday life, certain situations will require "on -the-spot" thinking that will necessitate flexibility of the teacher as well as the student. Through trial and error, the child learns to eliminate certain steps in solving problems. He/she is able to mentally calculate numbers because of the process of repetition that takes place in certain activities. In math, the idea is to teach or guide the child from concrete to abstract thinking. The math environment consists of materials that are designed for tactile, visual, and physical experiences. In the math curriculum, counting numerals, golden beads, rods and other materials prepare the child for higher learning. 
 
Objectives - The learner will:
1. Play math games and respond to math questions.
2. Recite numbers in English and Spanish.
3. Interact with others as teammates for math competitions.
4. Work individually to solve math problems.
 
Language
According to Montessori, "All children pass through a period in which they can only pronounce syllables; then they pronounce whole words, and finally, they use to perfection all the rules of syntax and grammar." 
 
In the language area, materials such as the metal insets, sandpaper letters, the movable alphabets and others are used for the purpose of reading and writing. There are prerequisites in other areas of the classroom that the child must experience before manipulating certain materials in this area. 
 
The child creates his/her language with his "unconscious mind"-absorbing his existing environment. He/she uses words or imitates what he has learned from adults and other children. It is our responsibility at 1st Class Montessori to use proper grammar and clearly articulate responses to the children. Young children's growing consciousness or oral or written language is a factor in their success when learning to read. Read and being read to are advantageous to the child's educational growth in the area of language.
 
Objectives - The learner will:
1. Repeat and discuss rhyming words.
2. Sing poetic songs.
3. Recite nursery rhymes. 
4. Role-play and discuss other activities which will assist in the development of reading skills. 
 
At 1st Class Montessori, we want our children to be able to communicate in ways other than "verbal" speech alone. Therefore, we have incorporated sign language, Swahili, Spanish, and Japanese in our curriculum to enhance our overall language area. Translations are written in various areas in the school for the benefit of our parents and observers.
 
Geography, Science, Music, Art and Physical Fitness
These are other essential subjects that are taught throughout the Montessori program. Our staff's role is to observe and facilitate as well as guide our students carefully and enjoyably from one area of learning to another. All of the materials serve a specific purpose - to further develop eye/hand coordination, fine muscle control, independence, and other direct aims. Our philosophy is to incorporate stimulating activities, share views, observe and fulfill needs, respect the child, and all our children to create or construct their personality through real-life experiences, at their own pace.