The Montessori Curriculum

The Montessori Curriculum
Pre-School Curriculum Elementary School Curriculum

Pre-School Curriculum
Dr.Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. He or she does it by him or herself or it will never be done. A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years he or she spends in the classroom because that person is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge. Dr. Montessori felt, that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre- school course of studies, but rather to cultivate the child's own natural desire to learn.
In the Montessori classroom, the objective is approached in two ways: first, by allowing each child to excitement of learning by his or her own choice rather than by being forced; and second, by helping the child perfect his or her natural tools for learning, so that the child's abilities will be maximized for future learning situations. The Montessori materials have this dual, long range purpose in addition to their immediate purpose of giving specific information to the child.

Practical Life Exercises
For young children there is something special about tasks which an adult considers ordinary washing dishes, paring vegetables, polishing shoes, etc. They are exciting to children because they allow them to imitate adults. Imitation is one of the strongest urges during children's early years.
In this area of the classroom, children perfect their coordination and become absorbed in an activity. They gradually lengthen their span of concentration. They also learn to pay attention to details as they follow a regular sequence of actions. Finally , they learn good working habits as they finish each task and put away all the materials before beginning another activity. Up

Sensorial Exercises
The sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom help children to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what they already know. Dr. Montessori believed that this the beginning of conscious. It is brought about by the intelligence working in a concentrated way on the impressions given by the senses. Up

Dr. Montessori demonstrated that if children have access to mathematical equipment in their early years, they can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. On the other hand, these same facts and skills may require long hours of drudgery and drill if they are introduce to them later in the abstract form. Dr. Montessori designed concrete materials to represent all types of quantities, after she observed that children who become interested in counting like to touch or move the items as they enumerate them. By combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, counting it, and comparing it, they can demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of mathematics.

Children in a Montessori class never sit down to memorize addition and subtraction facts; they never simply memorize multiplication tables. Rather, they learn these facts by actually performing the operations with concrete materials.

When the children want to do arithmetic, they are given a sheet of paper containing simple problems. They work the problems with appropriate materials and record their results. Similar operations can be performed with a variety of materials.
This variety contains children's interest while giving them many opportunities for the necessary repetition. As they commit the addition facts and the multiplication tables to memory, they gain a real understanding of what each operation means.
In a Montessori classroom there are many materials that can be used for numerisation, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Up

In a Montessori classroom children learn the phonetic sounds of the letters before they learn the alphabetical names in a sequence. The phonetic sounds are given first because these are the sounds they hear in words that they need to be able to read.
The children first become aware of these phonetic sounds when the teacher introduces the consonants with the Sandpaper Letters.

The individual presentation of language materials in a Montessori classroom allows the teacher to take advantage of each child's greatest periods of interest. Reading instruction begins on the day when the children want to know what a word says or when they show an interest in using the Sandpaper Letters. Writing or the construction of words with the movable Letters- nearly always preceeds reading in a Montessori environment.

Gradually the children learn the irregular words, and words with two and three syllables, by doing many reading exercises which offer variety rather than monotonous repetition. Also available in the Montessori classroom are many attractive books using a large number of phonetic words. Proceeding at their own pace, children are encouraged to read about things which interest them. Their skills in phonics give them the means of attacking almost any new word, so that they are not limited to a specific number of words which they have been trained to recognize by sight.

The children's interest in reading is never stifled by monotony. Rather, it is cultivated as their most important key to future learning. They are encouraged to explore books for answers to their own questions, whether they are about frogs, rockets, stars, or fire engines.

In a Montessori class, the children are introduced to grammar by games which show them that nouns are the names of things, adjectives describe nouns, and verbs are action words. The activity becomes most enjoyable. Up

Physical Geography
The large wooden puzzle maps are among the most popular activities in the classroom. At first the children use the maps simply as puzzles. Gradually they learn the names of many of the countries as well as information about climate and products. The maps illustrate many geographical facts concretely. Children also learn the common land formations such as islands and peninsulas by making them. Up

Montessori offers the children a concrete presentation of history by letting them work with Time Lines. Time Lines are very long strips of paper which can be unrolled and stretched along the floor of the classroom. The line is marked off in segments which represent consecutive periods of history.

As an introduction to the idea of history, the children begin by making a time line of their own lives, stating with their baby picture. Up

Cultural Awareness Program
The children gain awareness of the world around them by exploring other countries, their customs, food, music, climate, language, and animals. This helps to raise their consciousness about other people, to gain an understanding and tolerance and, therefore, compassion for all the people in the world. Up

Cooking and nutrition
The children study the four basic food groups and learn what their bodies need in order to be healthy. They cook nutrition meals that revolve around their studies of other countries. Up

Arts and Crafts
Art in the pre-school environment strives to maintain the great joy the child finds in creating something of his or her own. The children have the freedom to explore their imaginations in a variety of mediums used for expression. The importance of the process is stressed at this time, not the end product. Up

Music and Creative Movement
The creative music, movement, and dramatics program is an on-going flexible process that integrates itself into the academic program of the International Montessori School. The philosophy brings together the graphic notation symbols, the instruments and sound texture, and the principles of movement. The musical element of primary appeal to young children to rhythm and the natural response to rhythm and the natural response to rhythm is physical; therefore the body is the child's first instrument through which the movement in music is reflected and interpreted. Up

Science and Nature
In science the children's natural curiosity is stimulated through discovery projects and experiments, helping the children draw their own conclusions. The plant and animal kingdoms are studies in an orderly fashion to foster a love and appreciation for all living things.Up

Elementary School Curriculum

The Montessori Program offers individualized instruction, which means that the child may work and be helped on an individual basis. Individualized learning establishes more intimate contact among the child, the teacher, and the work. The teacher can become involved with the child in other than a "talk-and-chalk" stance before an entire class.
With notice that the English curriculum( Harcourt ) which is used in the Elementary section is totally match with the Montessori standard .

Montessori individualized instruction deals in the concrete. The program permits a variety of approaches, using at every turn dynamic and colorful manipulative which materialize abstract principles. These beautiful concrete materials are used throughout the entire curriculum, including math, reading, grammar, writing, spelling, geography, history, natural and general science.

General Educational Objectives of the Montessori

Elementary Program

Physical Goals

  • Developing a body whose movements are mastered and controlled.
  • Developing the fine coordination necessary for writing and manipulation of materials.
  • Learning sports which can be enjoyed into adulthood.

Emotional Skills

  • An awareness of one's own feelings.
  • Sensitivity to and consideration for the feelings of others.
  • An awareness of one's effect on others.

Emotional Goal

  • Developing a good self-image.

Intellectual Skills

  • The mastery of the necessary tools or skills (such as reading, writing, etc) in order to be able to pursue knowledge.
  • An understanding of how to find information and use various media.

Intellectual Goal

  • To become a learner who becomes independent of the adult.

Content Goals

  • An understanding of the evolution of life and a feeling of responsibility toward aiding further evolution.
  • An understanding that all people have the same basic needs and an appreciation for the variety of ways in which those needs are met.
  • An awareness of the interdependence of humankind and nature, with a responsible feeling toward an ecological whole.
  • An awareness of the interdependence of people and nations, with a desire for cooperation and peace.

Language is an important part of the entire Montessori curriculum. Its treatment as a separate subject comes only at the points in which it is necessary to give clarity to the child's mind that is, to give him or her conscious awareness of language in order that it may be used more effectively. Once the child has an understanding that writing is a graphic form of language, these special points center around spelling. Word study, penmanship, grammar, punctuation. The real experience in reading and writing comes through the child's work in other areas of the curriculum, such as geography, history, botany, etc.

Because children have different cognitive styles, they are provided with a different means for learning to read within the environment. In this way , the child will be able to select the components of reading which fit his or her cognitive style and put them together in the way that is best for him or her.

Once reading is mastered, the child expands into reading quality literature and poetry and into self-expression through creative writing.Up

Manipulation of concrete and symbolic materials with built-in error control develops sound arithmetic skills and leads the child to make his or her own abstractions.

As in other parts of the Montessori curriculum, experience with a material comes first, then the spoken language or naming. This is followed by the symbolic representation or written symbol. After the material, it is appropriate verbal language, and its symbolic representation are each studied in turn, they are then associated with one another. In Montessori mathematics, this sequence is referred to as quantity, symbol, and association.Up

Geometry is Montessori follows the historical development of the subject.
Geometry began as a concrete experience with abstractions following at a later time.
Each child follows the same sequence. Geometry is experienced sensor ally through manipulation of both plane and solid geometric figures. These materials induce a creative activity that involves two and three dimensional construction of various forms, artistic drawings, and omamentation. As much geometric nomenclature is supplied as the child is able to assimilate, so that the child will have as much information as possible at his or her command when entering the stage of exploring why, how, and when things happen. If the six year old child has had no previous Montessori, this sensorial experience in geometry is made available immediately upon entrance into the Elementary Classroom. The foundation of the study of geometry is familiarity through sensorial experience.Up

Social Studies and Science
Dr Montessori felt that social studies and science should be integrated in the classroom, as they are in life. Therefore, there are no clear distinctions or lines of demarcation among of the various areas which are included in this section when they are studied in the classroom.

The areas which follow this introduction are entitled: The Human Relation Curriculum, Geography, and History. In addition, the following subject areas are included: anthropology, astronomy, botany, chemistry, economics, geology, philosophy, physics, political behavior, sociology, and zoology.

Montessori biology is structured in such a way as to give the child a means of classification-so that he or she can structure and relate the facts of biology. The study should reveal to the child that classification approximates evolution. The ultimate goal is an ecological view of life and a feeling of responsibility for the environment. The child will see that each individual life on earth is seemingly selfish (fighting for its own survival) but in reality each serves the good of the whole. Montessori calls the development of humankind, early civilizations, and recorded history. The child sees the long labor of humankind needed to accomplish all that is enjoyed here today.

The study of geography is designed to show the physical configurations of the earth contribute to history. The study of geography and physical geography is the basis for the study of economic geography-which shows the interdependence of all people.

The first science experiments are designed to give the child basic knowledge which will make possible the understanding, of the development of the solar system, the earth and its configurations, life on the needs of plants and animals.Up

Human Relations Curriculum
The Montessori Human Relations Curriculum serves as an organizing center in the "cultural subjects", especially geography and history. It is introduced as early as possible in the elementary school.

The FUNDAMENTAL NEEDS OF HUMANKIND chart is placed in the classroom for this purpose of evoking discussion. The chart illustrates the following:
Material or Concrete Needs Spiritual or Abstract Needs
Food-Nourishment Culture
Clothing Religion
Housing-Habitation Love
Transportation Adornment
Defense Good Self-Image

The discussion helps the child understand that the needs of people in all places on the earth and in all history are the same. This understanding helps to establish the idea of the interrelationship of all people. When the child can see that the needs of all people are the same, then he or she can respect and appreciate the variety of ways in which these needs are met.

In the study of history, the above list of needs is used as a guide for the child's research into how people at various times in history met those needs. The same is true in the study of

geography; i.e, the influence of physical geography on meeting those needs, the influence of climate, seasons, natural resources.Up

Arts and crafts
In the Montessori Elementary Class, the adult aids the child in the development of skills in order that the child may creatively express him or herself through various media. In addition to art expression for its own sake, art is an integrating factor for the rest of the curriculum. The child may utilize it in such ways as geometrical drawings, geographical maps, mathematical graphing, or illustrations for history, botany, zoology, social studies, geology, architecture, physics, etc. With a variety of techniques and media at their disposal, the elementary aged children may choose appropriate forms of artistic expression for other areas of the curriculum.

A study of the historical development of artistic expression is made available within the history material. It is developed simply at first as an idea by itself; then, as the child matures, it is related to architecture, religion, music, politics, literature, inventions, exploration, etc. Later, it is taken again by itself and studies more deeply.
Appreciation activities are a natural part of the historical study.
The art studio is immediately adjacent to, and occupies a secluded section of, the classroom environment. The following techniques and media are available:

  • Crayons, chalk, and other drawing materials
  • Painting techniques
  • Clay and other modeling media
  • Textiles and Paper
  • Structuring
  • Printing techniques
  • Inks and dyes
  • Carving media

Music is the Elementary Program consists of seven related elements, which are:

  • Singing
  • Audition
  • Music theory and ear training
  • Eurhythmics
  • Production of music
  • Music appreciation

Singing provides opportunities for understanding scales, expression of feelings, and understanding of other cultures. Singing provides children with a repertoire of melodies which they can use in the production and analysis of music.

The audition or listening part relates to musical expression. The feeling expressed by a piece of music, such as a folk song, or a great composer, can be absorbed and recognized by children. This in turn may lead to quiet listening and contemplation, to expression of the feeling in writing or in art , to the examining of qualities and characteristics of different musical instruments, or to the understanding of an era or a group of people through the music which they produces. This may lead to the study of style and musical form. The opportunities for expansion of the idea are limitless

All of the Elementary Class children participate in recorder and singing classes to aid in acquiring an ability to read music. Private and small group piano lessons are available during school hours at the school.Up

Physical Education
Up to the levels we have now our physical education concentrate on teaching the Elementary levels some techniques for certain games (such as Basket ball, Foot ball.)Up