The Montessori classroom is not only a place for individual learning. It is a community of children where a child learns to interact socially in a variety of ways. Within the classroom there is a three-year age range and balanced age and gender mix. Enhanced learning takes place in the interaction between younger and older children. The older child becomes, in a very real sense, an important teaching resource in the classroom, and it is acknowledged that the best way to learn those difficult lessons is to try teaching them to others. With such a variety of levels in the classroom, each child can work at their own pace, unhindered by competition and encouraged by cooperation. This develops confidence, self-esteem and nurturing skills as well as a love of learning.
The Montessori classroom is divided into five key learning areas:
Practical Life - These exercises form the foundation of the Montessori classroom and promote the development of concentration, hand-eye co-ordination and muscular control. Lessons include care of self, the environment and others.
Sensorial - Young children learn about the world around them through the constant use of all their senses. The sensorial materials assist the child in grasping such abstract concepts as weight, length, colour and shape. As the child matches and grades the sensorial materials, the child learns to discriminate finer details, developing essential skills such as differentiation, independent judgment, estimations versus exactness, and perception of similarities and differences.
Language - The language materials are designed to lead the child on a process of discovery from the acquisition of new vocabulary to writing and reading. Through the identification of sounds in spoken language and the associated symbols, the child moves through a phonetic based language program. The associated constructs of rules, phonograms and sight recognition add the building blocks necessary for literacy.
Mathematics - Mathematical concepts are learned through the manipulation of concrete materials. The child learns to associate symbols with quantities, to sequence numbers and to recognise patterns. The child gradually progresses on to the abstract level of mental calculations and problem solving to prepare them for formal schooling.
Cultural - Cultural materials aim to expose the child to the world through its geography, people and natural wonders.
Learn more about the history of Castlecrag Montessori School.