Academics

Practical Life

Exercises in everyday living skills help to develop hand-eye and fine motor coordination, increase attention span, identify and achieve objectives through a set sequence, and gain a sense of independence. These are skills that are later transferred into writing and other higher pursuits. This is also the section of the classroom to which young ones are often drawn to first, due to their recognizing many of the objects on the shelves. As a child masters the Practical Life materials, he becomes confident in his abilities, and becomes eager to tackle the more demanding lessons he sees the older children doing: mathematics, language, sciences, geography and so on.

Sensorial Education

“There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses.”    

                                                                                             - Aristotle

Unique to Montessori, Sensorial lessons recognize that all of the senses are engaged in the learning process, and the mind must be able to differentiate and appreciate various sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes. These exercises heighten powers of observation, enrich descriptive vocabulary, and help children categorize new information while building on what they have already absorbed outside of class. Each Sensorial lesson attracts the child by beauty of the shapes and designs, but they also lay the foundations of traditional academic work. The Binomial Cube, for instance, consists of two wooden cubes and blocks of different dimensions. If the lengths of the sides of the two cubes were defined as X and Y, the puzzle would demonstrate in concrete terms that X3 + 3(X2Y) + 3(Y2X) + Y3 = 1. A child is very unlikely to understand this equation at the age of three (when she can solve the puzzle). But when she is sitting in algebra class years later, and the teacher writes the equation on the board, she will understand it because she sees algebra as an abstraction of a very concrete world.

The learning materials we use are designed to represent the various mathematical operations. Children learn numerals and operations by manipulating materials and combining them with numeral cards, charts, and written exercises. Dr. Montessori's renowned "golden bead" material forms the basis for learning the decimal system. This lays the foundation for understanding basic arithmetic functions such as adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying and promotes a real understanding of the number system in order to go from the very concrete exercises to abstract representations of numbers.

Mathematics

The Montessori approach to mathematics follows the same pattern as Practical Life and Sensorial in that it’s hands-on and requires active learning with the use of concrete items, centered on the child’s small-motor development. Many lessons have embedded in them foundations for higher order principles. The Montessori mathematics curriculum covers the entire spectrum: arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Language

As with the other academic disciplines in a Montessori environment, the Language area employs manipulative materials and corresponding lessons to allow children to learn reading, writing and speaking.

Our teachers encourage your child to express herself verbally through describing, explaining, storytelling, forming opinions and using imagination. Initially, a phonetic system is used to teach reading. As children gain confidence, their skills broaden with the use of more complicated letter combinations.

Our Sandpaper Letters and Moveable Alphabets are some of the materials used to develop reading and writing. Sandpaper Letters help the child’s muscles memorize the strokes required to make the proper shapes. The shape of the letter is rough to the touch, and it guides the child’s fingers to make the correct form. The letters are placed on rectangular wooden surfaces, with the vowels painted blue and the consonants pink; thus, long before she is introduced to these terms, the child recognizes they are different in fundamental ways. Many different vocabulary cards and books are used in addressing each child's sensitive period for language skills acquisition.

Culture

Cultural Subjects include geography, history, science, the fine arts and more. For all these disciplines there are specially prepared materials following Montessori principles: lessons are didactic, self-correcting, organized for presentation from simple to complex, and contain lessons embedded for future reference. We integrate areas of culture and science to create lessons that demonstrate the interconnectedness of our world, of people and nature. A lesson on the geography of southwestern China easily leads into a discussion of the peoples and cultures of that region. Students learn the physical characteristics of plants and animals and their natural environment. Enhancing vocabulary and using hands-on experiments reinforce basic concepts and spark fascination in the physical and hard sciences.
         
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