What Do We Teach?
Practical Life: These are materials which involve precise movements and allow the child to concentrate. They also involve the development of coordination, a sense of order and independence.
Sensorial: Sensory education prepares for accurate perception of different details in the features of things and is the foundation of the child’s observational ability. The materials include work with the different senses, i.e. gustatory, olfactory, visual, auditory, and tactile.
The concrete/sensorial work of the first two areas provides the necessary foundation for the more abstract cognitive work to follow.
Language: Children are immersed in the dynamics of language development through conversation, drawing, letter/sound work, de-coding, word building, phonetic writing, poetry, fiction and non-fiction; and reading and writing.
Mathematics: The math materials beautifully materialize the abstract and provide visualization of the structure of our numeration system, i.e., quantity/symbol association, litany of count, the decimal system and numeral composition; and the four processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Cultural: Montessori education is an education for peace. We introduce different continents, countries, clothing, art objects, stories, songs and different animals in order to familiarize the child with different cultures.
Nature: We learn about the natural world through seasonal changes and thematic units based on observations, identification, classification and shared love of nature.
How Do We Teach?
The prepared adult (teacher) is a guide to the materials and one who is encouraging, loving, and available as a listener. The teacher is a consultant and a participant in the child’s growth. The adult must be disposed to the task by being a child advocate in the deepest sense. The guide needs to be a visionary insofar as she/he maintains hope and belief in the goodness of life and works for the transformation of society.
The teacher is required to design and maintain the prepared environment, allow the children the liberty to engage in spontaneous activities and relate with each child in his/her specificity. Additionally, the adult must work on building a relationship of respect and trust, thereby providing the child with a sense of safety and security. This, in turn, allows the child to feel free to explore.
The practice of observation, keeping up-to-date behavioral and work records and trusting in the gradual emergence of the child are also important in being a good teacher and guide. Appropriate guidance can then be made through individual observation and a more complete understanding of the child’s particular development.