Where the love of learning begins and carries children through their educational journey
70 Eisenhower Drive,
Paramus, NJ 07652
Reading is at the heart of all education, because the learning of almost every subject in school, even math, depends on this skill. The habit of reading to your child will not necessarily teach him to read but it nearly always inspired him to want to read.
Dr. Montessori always pointed out that the young child has a natural sensitivity for language development which follows closely on the years when she learns to speak her native language.
The child at three, four and five has a unique fascination for words. This fascination often enables her to begin reading and writing before the age at which it is traditionally taught. Reading instruction can begin on the day when the child wants to know what a word says or when she shows interest in using the sandpaper letters. Sandpaper Letters are introduced as the first step to reading. Sandpaper Letters are simple lowercase letters made of fine grounded sandpaper and mounted on a wooden card. The children are taught the sound of the letters, not the name of the letter, and are introduced to one letter at a time. The child is given a lesson on how to trace the letter and then the correct way to say the sound that the letter makes. Once the first letter is mastered, the child is introduced to another. After the letters are mastered, the child is ready to construct words using the movable alphabet; this nearly always precedes reading in a Montessori environment. The child enjoys many of the Montessori reading materials beginning with Sandpaper Letters, and then the child explores other materials such as the Movable Alphabet, matching words with pictures, command cards, phonograms, and word lists.
This area of the classroom includes both the studies of the world and various cultures. Children educated in a Montessori School leave a 3-6 classroom not only understanding the concept of a continent, a country and a state, but also the name of many of the countries, the oceans that divide the continents and flags from around the world.
In a Montessori Classroom you will find colored maps to help the children remember continents, countries and states. More importantly, our goal is to give an understanding that there are various cultures and these cultures have a lot to offer us. When a child is doing the map of Asia, pictures, stores, facts etc, about different Asian countries are shared. Learning opportunities are endless, giving the child a real sense of the world.
This area is designed to help students develop and care for themselves and their environment, along with developing a sense of order and strengthening their fine & gross motor skills.
Dr. Montessori structured several exercises for the classroom to help the child satisfy this need for meaningful activity. For these exercises she used familiar objects, buttons, brushes, dishes, pitchers, water and many other things which the child recognizes from his home experience. Children love to imitate adults; therefore there is something special about taking on these tasks which adults consider ordinary – washing dishes, sweeping or mopping the floor, preparing the table for meal time, and shoe polishing. Imitation is one of the child’s strongest urges during his early years. It is so important for the materials to be carefully designed, arranged and demonstrated to help teach skills involved in caring for the environment and of self. It also encourages responsibility and promotes a high level of self-esteem. Students learn to prepare and serve food, clean up after themselves, care for plants and animals all while they develop coordination, work habit, self control, a sense of community and greater independence.
Dr. Montessori described the senses as the doorways of the mind and early childhood as a time of special sensitivity for perpetual refinement. Sensory stimulation and manipulation not only aid in the development of maturing sense organs, eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, but serve as a starting point for intellectual growth by helping children to order, compare and classify sensory stimulation their intellectual development is assisted and future learning is more meaningful and useful. When using the sensorial materials, students’ judge, compare, classify and draw conclusions. Frequently the learner is called upon to discriminate between very similar objects and order. The mind is exercised, as well as the senses. The child is then better prepared for future learning in math, language, science and making sense of life’s experiences and information.
A child can learn basic concepts of mathematics in either two ways, he can learn by using concrete material during the years when he enjoys manipulating equipment, or he can learn by abstract methods when he is in the elementary grades. Dr. Montessori demonstrated that if a child has access to mathematical material in his early years; he can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skill of arithmetic. After she observed that the child who becomes interested in counting likes to touch or move the items as he enumerates them. Dr. Montessori designed concrete materials to represent all types of quantities. In a Montessori environment, a child not only sees the symbol for 1,000 or half, he can also hold each of the corresponding quantities in his hand. Later by combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, writing it, and comparing it, he can demonstrate the basic operations of arithmetic. In a Montessori Classroom, the child’s first introduction to numbers is made with a set of red and blue rods, the spindle box numerals and counters, representing the quantities of one through ten. At the same time, the child learns the corresponding figures by tracing the numerals in sandpaper. His teacher helps him to place each of these numerals beside the material illustrating the quantity.
To learn the “teen” numbers, the child uses equipment knows as the tens board. The boards have the numeral 10 printed nine times in a row. On separate cards the numerals 1-9 are printed. The child forms the number eleven by sliding the figure 1 over the zero of the first ten. This shows her concretely that the number eleven is made up of 10 plus 1. To build the corresponding quantities in this exercise, the child uses colored bead bars. Therefore, work with the teen’s board usually begins after the child has been introduced to the Golden Bead Material.
A child in a Montessori classroom never sits down to memorize addition and subtraction facts. She never simply memorizes multiplication tables. Rather she learns these facts by actually performing the operations with concrete material like the Gold Bead Material.
“It is necessary for the teacher to guide the child without letting him feel her, so that she may be always ready to supply the desired help, but may never be the obstacle between the child and his experience”
Art is an important part of the prepared environment. Art activities help develop many of the same skills as the other areas including concentration, independence, coordination, fine muscle control and sensory discrimination. They offer learners ways to express their feelings, experiences and ideas. The visual arts and creative movement represent some of the earliest experiences of composition. Through art, students develop their capacities for creative expression. The art area usually includes sequences for drawing, painting, print making, collaging and constructing.
Where the love of learning begins