The Montessori Method of education is based on Doctor Maria Montessori’s (1870-1952) scientific observations about how children learn as they progress from birth to 6 years. Essential to the Montessori Method is the Montessori Curriculum, which is a child-centred learning framework that incorporates holistic learning outcomes tailored to each individual child’s developmental needs and interests.
The Montessori Curriculum covers five key learning areas, including: Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language and Culture. In addition to these key learning areas, Fletcher Montessori also covers the Health and Wellbeing (Yoga, Free play and Cooking), Science, Geography, and the Arts. In this way, Fletcher Montessori delivers a holistic education program that is tailored to the unique developmental needs and interests of each individual child.
Practical life activities are important aspects of Montessori education because they support children in learning how to perform real life activities necessary for everyday life. They learn how to care for themselves and their environment. Practical life tasks help children to develop gross and fine motor skills, life skills, preliminary activities, social graces and courtesies, care and respect for self and the environment.
In perfecting practical life skills children gain confidence, concentration, become more independent, sense of order, longer attention spans, good hand-eye co-ordination and the ability to face new challenges. These activities indirectly prepare children for writing and reading.
Sensorial materials were designed by Doctor Maria Montessori to help children express and classify their sensory experiences. The senses play an important role throughout life, especially during the ages between Birth to 6 years when the growth potential of the senses is very significant. Montessori sensorial exercises help children refine their senses by using specially designed materials.
Montessori sensorial materials and activities teach children to use their senses and help them understand the concepts of size, shape, composition, texture, loudness or softness, weight, temperature, taste and smell etc. There are many purposes of sensorial exercises, including: preparation for mathematical mind and relationships, developing accurate observation skills, increasing the attention span, hand and eye coordination and develops the ability to observe and compare with precision.
Initial explorations with sensorial materials encourage children to understand basic maths concepts such as learning rote counting (numbers), grading, sorting and sequencing. The purpose of our math activities is to lay the foundation for later cognitive development and to prepare children for a gradual transition from concrete (using materials) to abstract thinking (symbols). Montessori learning materials are designed to teach children about numbers and concepts step by step through a logical sequence.
This helps children to use their math skills in everyday life. Children learn to perform counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division exercises by using and handling very extensive Montessori mathematical materials such as rods, beads, spindles, cubes, cards and counters, etc.
The emphasis of our Language Program is based on writing and reading and is enriched with activities such as active listening, public speaking (show and tell and talking during group time), singing songs and rhymes. Activities such as the metal insets help to prepare the hand for writing and the sandpaper letters are used to introduce letter formation. The movable alphabet gives the child the opportunity to see that the sounds (phonetics) have symbols and symbols combine to make words. They learn to read after they have learned how to compose their own words using moveable alphabet.
They progress using concrete materials to compose their own written work, read the work of others, and learn to communicate their unique thoughts and feelings. We also have incorporated picture books and visual aids, to enhance their vocabulary and explore both written and spoken language.
Additional language program
The children are also taught basic words in French which is offered two times per week. Beginners start with common verbal skills, learning words for colours, numbers, vegetables, animal names etc. Singing is a part our additional language program to improve speech and language skills.
Children develop their vocabulary by playing games, through story time, singing and dancing, viewing videos, miming and a variety of other activities to motivate children.
Art and craft
Self-expression through art is an important part of our program and allows children to be creative. Our Arts and Crafts program encourages children to explore and experiment with a variety of art mediums. The children’s learning is documented through written and video documentation methods, and art is displayed with great respect.
In this part of the program children gain a basic knowledge of science, geography, history, and diverse cultures of the world from the child’s community, society and cultural background. Geography is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum and is incorporated into every aspect of our program.
Children learn to demonstrate a sense of identity, a positive self-image, and begin to see themselves as unique. Children learn about themselves in relationship to others, and identify how they are connected to the family, community, and the world. Children are also taught about the importance of caring for mother earth through recycling, reusing, and reduced use of material.
The children learn many different aspects of the world using various Montessori materials that include globes, puzzle maps, flags, pictures, photographs, stories and videos. It helps to give the child an insight into different cultures. Children are encouraged to bring items that belong to their cultures to share with their peers during circle time.
The science activities are conducted using a variety of natural objects collected from the environment. Children are encouraged to add objects to the Nature Table. Most of science activities are designed for children to develop an understanding of natural phenomenon and concepts such as weather, seasons, life cycles of plants, human and animal, and properties of natural objects.
Our special cooking sessions gives an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in food preparation and baking, have lots of fun, and take pride of tasting food prepared by their own hands. The physical activates such as cutting, chopping, squeezing, mixing, pouring that are involved in cooking improves child’s fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and help them build confidence in their skills.
As the children engage in these meaningful practises, they are given the opportunity to develop these skills in a way that translates to life, allowing them to engage in open discussions about nutrition, healthy eating, hygiene, and active living. This supports and prepares our children for a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Our Yoga sessions help children to improve their physical strength, flexibility and coordination of the body, and to enhance concentration and calmness of the mind. Furthermore, children learn to follow instructions, rules, directions, stay within boundaries, work co‐operatively with peers, and respect others’ personal space through yoga.
We have our trained Yoga Educator who visits the rooms weekly, where our Educators then extend on this program through the remaining days. We feel that it is important to support children in finding a state of mindfulness, to be able to feel in control of their emotions and attuned with their bodies.
Free play is an essential part of our curriculum. Due to the numerous benefits it delivers, we have included free play in our daily program to bring about enjoyable experiences for children.
The materials and free space we have allows for us to accommodate a variety of free play activities and inspire innovative thought. As the children engage in construction, dramatic play, natural play and assist in the community garden to care for our plants and animals the children are building stronger connections not only with each other, but with the natural environment. This supports growth and confidence in social situations, developing the skills which assist them throughout life.
It is through this time and careful planning that the children are provided with many opportunities to engage in physical play, developing their fundamental movement skills and gaining an appreciation for an active lifestyle.
‘He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.’ – Maria Montessori