This area of the classroom consists of activities that help the child to develop independence, order, concentration and controlled movements. The practical life area is created to help the child to be independent in daily activities while fostering concentration. The children learn to dress themselves, tie their laces, engage in gardening activities, care for their environment and even learn to prepare food. These are just a few of the activities that are designed to help the child function successfully in his surroundings and prepare the child for later activities such as writing and math which require concentration and more coordinated movement.
Children between the ages of two and a half and six are sensorial learners. This means that they use their senses to explore and learn about the world around them. The sensorial area of the classroom allows for the children to learn about and be more attuned to their surroundings by using their five senses.
The language area of the Primary Montessori class is divided into three areas: spoken, written and reading. The spoken language material is usually handmade and catered to the child’s vocabulary needs. The material helps to enrich the child’s vocabulary so that they are able to express themselves with confidence. Eloquent and grammatically correct spoken language is always modeled by the adults in the Primary environment. The teachers always make time to share ideas and have conversations with the children in order to encourage them to speak fluently and with confidence.
Written language involves preparation of the child’s hand and mind. The mind is prepared by presenting the child with the individual sounds which form words in English language, followed by the letters that represent each sound. The child is then eased into writing, by indirectly and directly preparing the hand to hold a pencil and control and coordinate their fingers through other activities in the classroom.
Reading also has three components, which are phonetic words, phonograms and puzzle words, or words that cannot be phonetically pronounced. Once the child is fluent with these three aspects of reading, he is presented with material to help practice reading skills. The material that a child reads is carefully chosen by the adult, so that it is meaningful to the child. Books and stories are also selected with care to include stories that are realistic and that the child can relate to.
Music is always alive in the classroom, whether the child chooses to listen to a type of music or if they sing together as a group. Singing as a group is seen as a way for the children to share in the joy that music brings.
There is an art area in the classroom which contains activities such as painting, cutting, pasting, printing, sculpting, drawing etc. The child is free to choose art work at anytime during their work cycle. The children may also make special projects on a weekly basis in the aftercare program.
Culture and geography:
The Montessori child is exposed to a world beyond their own country. The children are given an idea of the culture and ways of life in other parts of the world by means of educational books, the world maps, cultural objects and other teacher-made activities. The classroom also consists of a puzzle map of the world and a map of each of the continents and their respective countries.
Science, botany and zoology:
The children may also be exposed to certain scientific phenomena pertaining to their surroundings and according to their development and understanding. The botany cabinet consists of different leaf shapes that the children may learn to identify. They also learn parts of a flower, leaf and may be exposed to various classifications of the animal kingdom.
Movement is already built in to the Montessori environment in almost all of the lessons designed for young children. Simply engaging in the material encourages the children to develop both fine and gross motor skills. In addition to this, the outdoor environment provides the children with a green space in which to move and play.
During the months of July and August an exciting summer program is in full swing. Children engage in interesting and fun, educational activities. There is a weekly theme for each month and activities are planned accordingly. Special guests may be invited to expand the children’s knowledge on certain topics or subjects.