The Montessori Classroom
Practical life is the area in the classroom where children learn coordination, confidence, cooperation, independence and order. These activities include care of self, care of the environment, and physical skills.
The sensorial area of the classroom helps children develop three main skills used in the math sequence:
· Perception of difference
· Perception of similarities
· Experience with a graded series
Before one learns to read, one must learn to listen. Listening activities are the first language activities in the preschool classroom: the silent game, rhyming, verbal labeling, and listening to books all emphasis on a child’s listening skills. Children at this level need to be able to hear the difference in sounds, words, and phrases. Many of these activities take place during group time-and the child is unaware they are having a lesson.
Next the child must prepare their eyes for reading. This entails activities such as puzzles, matching, classification, sequencing and sorting activities.
After many activities the child is ready to start integrating his/her skills for continuing the journey to read. The child uses sandpaper letters to learn the relationship with a sound and the symbol it represents. Through these activities children see that blending sounds together makes a combination of sounds—or words.
From here on the children further develop their reading and writing skills.
Math is a large part of the Montessori preschool. Pre-math activities teach one to one correspondence and the relationship of symbol and quantity. Numeration activities include the number rods, sandpaper numbers, spindle box, which is the first introduction to the concept of zero. The counters game introduces odds and evens. Sets, baskets, and memory game are all other numeration activities.
From here the children move on to linear counting activities, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and finally the decimal system: learning to work with units, tens, hundreds and thousands.
The geography activities at the casa level are very enriching and exciting to the children. An introduction to the parts of the earth leads to the discussion of the three parts of the world—land, air and water. Activities such as sorting objects and pictures encourage children to think about the world around them.