Montessori Early Years Curriculum
• foundations for learning and development of the whole personality
• skills for learning
• communication skills
• number concepts
• exploration of the wider world
• motor development
• general development
Foundations for Learning
The 'Foundations for Learning' curriculum area aims to promote:
• development of concentration, perseverance and problem-solving
• self-esteem and self-worth
• independence of thought and action
• development of motor co-ordination
• sense of responsibility.
This is achieved through practical activities centred around:
• the care of the environment
• the care of oneself as an individual
• the care of others in the community.
The activities are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and reflective of the child's home environment to facilitate the child's adaptation to the school. They are designed to be freely chosen and self-correcting. They are graded in difficulty and always available.
These are referred to as Practical Life activities.
"Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement, the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence". Maria Montessori
Skills for Learning
The 'Skills for Learning' curriculum area aims to enhance the ability of children to:
• observe, understand and explore their world by developing the senses through which they perceive it
• acquire the skills of classification, discrimination, evaluation and sequencing.
This is achieved through specially designed Montessori equipment for sorting, pairing, grading, comparing, contrasting, and matching, using qualities of size, shape, colour, texture, weight, temperature, sound, smell and form.
These are referred to as Sensorial activities.
"There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in some way in the senses, and senses being explorers of the word, open the way to knowledge". Maria Montessori
The 'Communication Skills' curriculum area aims to develop the four aspects of language:
• oral expression, that is, self-expression through the spoken word
• aural ability, that is, listening skills
• writing, that is, self-expression through the written word
Development of oral expression is achieved through story-telling, songs, poems, drama, vocabulary building, contributing ideas, and expressing logical thought.
Development of aural ability is achieved through news periods, response games, silence game, sounds in the environment and music.
Development of writing is achieved through correct formation of letters, correct positioning of letters, creative writing, spelling and grammar.
Development of reading is based on a progression from phonics to a variety of reading strategies focussed around fluency, meaning, interpretation, speed and enjoyment.
These are referred to as Language activities
"Language lies at the route of that transformation of the environment that we call civilization". Maria Montessori
The 'Number Concepts' curriculum area aims to give children a sound understanding of numeracy, starting from an awareness built up from numbers in the environment through games, songs, rhymes and stories.
Five groups of exercises involve manipulative activity using specially designed Montessori materials.
The first group of exercises helps children learn the numbers from one to ten.
The second group introduces the decimal system and provides an understanding of how our system of counting using ten as a base functions.
The third group, given in parallel with the second, provides children with mechanisms for counting.
The fourth group of exercises identifies the essential number combinations for the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and helps children to memorise them.
The fifth group of exercises provides a framework for the child to be able to perform complex operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in their heads.
These are referred to as the Mathematics activities.
"Mathematics is so often held to be a scourge rather than a pleasure in school programmes....most people have developed mental barriers against it. Yet all is easy if only its roots can be implanted in the absorbent mind" Maria Montessori
Exploration of the Wider World
The 'Exploration of the Wider World' curriculum area aims to give children the opportunity to explore all aspects of the natural world including animals, plants, people, events and cultures. Practical life, sensorial and language activities underpin this curriculum area.
Children area also given the opportunity to experience and create in cultural areas such as art, craft, drama, music and dance. These activities enable them to develop their imaginative responses and their creative self-expression.
"The teacher's task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activities in a special environment made for the child". Maria Montessori
The Montessori materials available in the classroom have been carefully designed to enable the children to be active participants in their own learning process. Children learn through being physically active, and the activities they undertake with the materials have been thoughtfully devised to develop both gross and fine motor co-ordination and control.
"We do not say that we want to prepare a school for the children, we wish to prepare an environment for life, where the children can develop a life". Maria Montessori
The Montessori curriculum aims to support all aspects of the child's personal and social development by providing an environment that is encouraging, supportive and challenging. The focus is always on the whole child because Montessori education is about far more than narrow academic targets - it is about education for life.
"We should help the child therefore, no longer because we think of him as a creature, puny and weak, but because he is endowed with great creative energies, which are of their nature so fragile as to need a loving and intelligent defence". Maria Montessori