The purpose of these activities is to enable the child to acquire coordination, orderliness, self-confidence, independence, control over his/her small muscle movements and to enable him/her to understand the function of his/her immediate environment. Students will learn to open, shut, carry, pour, peal, cut, and wash. In addition, polishing, scrubbing, the use of buttons, zippers, snaps, ties and latches. The child’s experiences will also include care of person and care of environment.
These activities, which surround the use of sensorial materials, lead the child from sensation to ideas; from the concrete to the abstract and to the association of ideas. These materials also assist the child in learning to differentiate between sizes, colors, weights, textures, sounds, odors, and tastes. These materials include sandpaper in varying degrees of roughness, red rods, pink tower, cylinder blocks, color tablets, geometric cabinet sound boxes, and bells. Students become involved in exercises which allow him/her to organize and classify.
In the prepared environment, there is a selection of activity as well as a great deal of movement. In our preschool classroom, for example, a three year old may be washing clothes by hand while a four year old close by is creating words and phrases with letters known as the movable alphabets, and five year old is performing multiplication using a particular designed set of beads.
The development of language begins with speech and progresses into writing and reading. Vocabulary enrichment activities enable the child to classify his/her environment, enlarge his/her vocabulary and develop communication skills. The geometric insets are used to develop the small muscles as a preparation for writing. The movable alphabet, phonogram board and grammar boxes are used to teach analysis of sentences.
The child progresses from concrete to abstract through the use of materials such as beads, spindle boxes, and number charts. The number rods are used to teach the decimal system which is the basis for all branches of mathematics.
The children learn about the world around them, cultural diversity and distant lands. The child’s first impressions in geography are sensorial globes, puzzle maps, flags and geographical land formations which enable the child to learn and to become interested in the world in which we live.
Experiments are introduced in botany and in zoology. Nature studies are conducted both in an out of the classroom. In science too, the child learns by doing and empathy with one’s surrounding creatures. Children learn about living and non-living things, parts of plants, parts of the body, and animals. Student begins to make scientific observations and discoveries.
Music and Art
Children are encouraged to express creativity in music through free expression. The children learn folk songs, and foreign language songs. Students work with musical instruments (rhythm sticks, chimes, bells, glockenspiel, and xylophone) to heighten the child’s awareness and understanding of musical concepts. Art is a natural part of the Montessori classroom which encourages individual expression. Collage, finger and brush painting, water color and clay offer opportunities to experiment and create. This area is process rather than product oriented.