Between the ages of birth and six years old, the child possesses an “absorbent mind”.  During this time the child learns their home language, perfects movement and internalizes order.  Maria Montessori also observed “sensitive periods” in the child where the child was especially sensitive and acquired certain knowledge and skills.  These periods occur universally for children at about the same age providing the time for optimal development of a particular skill or knowledge.

The preschool and primary school environments have four main areas in the programme with the aim of helping the child to grow as an individual, appreciating the larger context of their world.

Practical Life

The Practical Life area is the link between the home and the classroom.  The child’s desire for order and independence is expressed through the use of materials and. Practical Life includes – Control of Movements, Care of Person, Care of Environment and Grace and Courtesy.

Sensorial

In the early years children in the preschool develop a sense of order and actively seek to sort, arrange and classify their experiences.  Sensorial equipment gives the child experience initially in perceiving distinction between similar and different things.  The child will later learn how to grade a set of similar objects that differ in a regular and measurable way.  Precise language such as loud/soft, long/short, rough/smooth, and so on describes these sensorial experiences to make the world meaningful.

Language

Maria Montessori believed that children should be should be exposed to songs, games, poems, stories and classified language cards  and immersed in language, writing, reading and spelling.

Mathematics

The child is led to abstract ideas and relationships by working with the concrete materials like the Number Rods and the Golden Beads.  The golden bead material highlights the numerical, geometrical and dimensional relationships within the decimal system.  Geometry, algebra and arithmetic form part of the Montessori math curriculum.  Through concrete materials the child learns to add, subtract, multiply and divide and gradually comes to understand many abstract mathematical concepts.

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