Our Class Rooms

The picture that readily comes to mind when you think of a classroom is probably a teacher saying to the pupils, “It is the third day of September, so open your math book to page 50 and….,” while the whole class is seated with their books out looking at the teacher showing them how to add up numbers.



The typical Montessori classroom is not designed to function this way, because the Montessori classroom is a ‘prepared environment’ which aids self-learning.



The “prepared environment” is Maria Montessori’s own concept that the environment can be designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child.



In the prepared environment, there is a variety of activity as well as a great deal of movement. It is calm and ordered, meeting the child’s physical, intellectual, social and moral needs. In a preschool classroom, for example, a three-year-old may be doing a pegging activity, while a four-year-old nearby is composing words and phrases with letters known as the movable alphabet, and a five-year-old is working with the trinomial cubes.



There are 6 basic components in the Montessori classroom environment. They are:

  • Freedom
  • Structure and order
  • Reality and nature
  • Beauty and atmosphere
  • Montessori materials
  • Mixed Age Classroom


Freedom

Freedom is essential in a Montessori environment because a child can only reveal self in a free environment. Freedom does not mean not having any responsibilities! The child is given activities that encourage independence…ones he can perform by himself. Before using any materials, the child needs a lesson by the teacher. Children speak to each other and join in activities with each other whenever they like.



Structure and Order

The underlying structure and order of the universe must be reflected in the classroom if the child is to internalize it and thus build his/her own mental order and intelligence. Through this internalized order, the child learns to trust his/her environment and his/her power to interact with it in a positive way. Structure and order ensures for the child the possibility of purposeful activity. Order means that the child is assured the possibility of a completed cycle of activity in using the materials. To accomplish this:



  • All the pieces will be provided for the exercise engaged in.
  • No one will be permitted to interrupt or interfere with his/her work.
  • He /She will return materials to their place and in the condition they were found.
  • The child, is therefore, an integral partner in maintaining the order of the classroom.


Reality and Nature

The equipment in the classroom needs to be geared to bringing the child into closer contact with reality. This means that it needs to be authentic – real glasses, light furniture, nourishing

food, etc. In the real world, everyone cannot have the same thing at the same time. So only one piece of each type of equipment is available and the child learns to wait his/her turn.



Beauty and Atmosphere

Maria regarded beauty not as an extra aid for the developing child, but as a positive need in calling forth his power to respond to life. True beauty is based upon simplicity. The atmosphere of the room must be relaxing and peaceful with the use of life plants and soft music. It should be warm, and inviting so the child will want to participate.



Montessori Materials

Montessori materials must correspond to the child’s inner needs, and they must be presented to the child at the right moment in his/her development. Also, the intensity of

the stimulus of the material needs to be matched to the child’s internal need.

Montessori materials are designed for auto-education. The control of error lies in the materials themselves rather than in the teacher.



Basic Rules in Using Montessori Equipment

  • Children are required to treat the materials with respect. When a child is using Montessori equipment, he is to bring all the material necessary and arrange them on a table or on a rug. He is to arrange the materials in order. He is expected to return the materials to their


proper places and in the same condition in which he found them.



  • The child has a right not to be interrupted while working with the materials either by another child or by the teacher.
  • Mixed Age Classroom


The society of the child is therefore the antithesis of adult society, where sociability implies a free and well bred inter change of courtesies and mutual aid, although

each individual attends to his own business. Children have freedom in their social relations and are only limited when their actions interfere with the rights of others. In a Montessori classroom children of differing ages are included. The older children give spontaneously to the younger ones and the younger children observe the older children. It is an imitation of a real society.



AN ANALYSIS OF THE MONTESSORI CURRICULUM ON CULTURE

The Montessori Culture Curriculum is one of the most unique aspects of the Montessori philosophy, giving the children a cutting edge above their contemporaries in the traditional schools. Montessori children are exposed to some aspects of botany, zoology, and geography that other children will only come to know about later in primary school.



Cultural activities are a specific extension of the language curriculum where children begin to acquire a sense of historical fact, correct naming of physical geography, and an appreciation of physical science and cultural differences.



Comprised of the study of history, science and geography, the Montessori Cultural Curriculum was designed to inspire a sense of awe in our children. It was created to help them answer such questions as, “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?” and “Why am I here?” Impressionistic lessons lay the groundwork for future learning, by capturing the children’s imaginations. The cross-curricular nature of the topics reaches them in a manner that capitalizes on their interests and learning styles. The broad scope of the curriculum develops children who are culturally aware and have a true appreciation for the diversity and wonder of the world around them.



History

History is taught using storytelling and timelines. Timelines are the concrete representation of the abstract concept of history. Using storytelling and timelines, the directress helps children to trace the evolution of our planet and its many life forms, as well as an overview of human history.



Life Science

Spring Montessori pupils learn early to become good stewards of the earth. Teachers work hard to incorporate the study of nature into their lessons, both inside and outside the classroom. At every level, children are given responsibility for the care of classroom



Plants and animals. Three to six year olds anxiously watch as seedlings develop under natural lights each day. The pupils have many opportunities to “go on nature walks,” to study first hand, the characteristics of the plants there. Observation of nature is encouraged at every level.



Preschool pupils are introduced to the classification of the visible parts of plants and animals, using puzzles and nature card sets which lay the groundwork for further study in Lower and Upper Elementary. Students learn about the families of the animal kingdom, including vertebrates and invertebrates, their classification, their basic characteristics, and the way they function and survive. They also learn about different plant groups, from trees to flowering plants.



Geography

The study of physical geography begins in Preschool , with the use of materials that have been specially prepared for use by that age group. Brightly coloured globes and puzzle maps help children to learn the continents of the world, the countries of North and South America and Europe and the other continents, as well as the states of the U.S.A.



The children gain knowledge about basic land and water formations, such as an island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay and archipelago by working with three dimensional models of each and finding examples of them on maps.



Cultural Geography

Cultural studies begin in Preschool and continue through Primary School. Using age appropriate activities, pupils learn about the geography, climate, flora and fauna of different regions and the effect of these on the people who live there. In addition, children benefit from the experiences of our multicultural community, as they explore regional foods, dress, music, art, religion and traditions.



Once these ‘seeds of culture’ have being sown in the child, the child’s enquiring mind is further attuned to this wonderful world around; this planet-Earth.



INTRODUCTION TO PRACTICAL LIFE.

WHY IS MY CHILD ALWAYS CARRYING, WASHING, ROLLING, AND POLISHING? – PRACTICAL LIFE ACTIVITIES AND THEIR VITAL ROLE IN CHILD EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The process, not the product is the point of the activity…encouraging children to think and ‘do’ for themselves.

There are so many benefits to Practical Life activities. These exercises build the foundation for everything else that follows.

WHAT IS PRACTICAL LIFE? The traditional work of the family is referred to in Montessori as practical life work. It is the single most important area of an education for life

Practical: means basic, useful, purposeful; life means way of living.

Practical life Exercises are just that, they are Exercises so the child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way.

Meaning and Purpose of Practical Life

The purpose and aim of Practical Life is to help the child gain control in the coordination of his movement, and help the child to gain independence and adapt to his society. It is therefore important to “Teach teaching, not correcting” (Montessori) in order to allow the child to be a fully functional member in his own society. Practical Life Exercises also aid the growth and development of the child’s intellect and concentration and will in turn also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking.

Exercise Groups

Practical Life Exercises can be categorized into four different groups: Preliminary Applications, Applied Applications, Grace and Courtesy, and Control of Movement.

In the Preliminary Exercises, the child learns the basic movements of all societies such as pouring, folding, and carrying.

In the Applied Exercises, the child learns about the care and maintenance that helps every day life. These activities are, for example, the care of the person (i.e. the washing of the hand) and the care of the environment (i.e. dusting a table or indoor sweeping).

In the Grace and Courtesy Exercises, the children work on the interactions of people to people; encouraging their social development.

In the Control of Movement Exercises, the child learns about his own movements and learns how to refine his coordination through such activities as walking on the line.

Reason for Practical Life Exercises

Practical Life activities prepare the child for reading (left to right) and for writing (preparing the hand).Practical Life activities help the child to develop control and coordination. After these skills are learned, the child can then take command of his/her mind and body and therefore can direct his/her own activities. Practical Life activities give the child experience in focusing his/her attention. In order for a child to find out how to do it for his or her self, they need real things to concentrate on. The foundation of character and social behaviour are built from the skill to concentrate. Practical Life activities help channel the child’s activity constructively by giving them motives for activity. There is always a reason to do what they are doing. Therefore the child will have purposeful actions throughout his/her entire lifetime.



Practical Life skills help build:
  • Self-confidence through pride of accomplishment.
  • Establishes independence.
  • Assures development of initiative.
  • Characteristics of Practical Life


Because Practical Life Exercises are meant to resemble everyday activities, it is important that all materials be familiar, real, breakable, and functional. The materials must also be related to the child’s time and culture. In order to allow the child to fully finish the exercise and to therefore finish the full cycle of the activity, the material must be complete.

CONCLUSION

Children have for eons shown an interest in daily life through make-believe cooking and cleaning. It was one of the pivotal discoveries of Dr. Montessori that, given the chance, children usually choose real work over imaginary play. Allowing the child to participate in the daily work he sees going on around him is an act of great respect for, and confidence in, the child. It helps him to feel important to himself and to those around him. He feels needed.

We can empathize if we think about the difference in treatment of a stranger, perhaps a dinner guest in our home, who is served and waited upon, compared to that of a good friend who is welcomed in our kitchen to talk and laugh while we prepare the meal together. Children don’t want to be the guest; they want us to help them to do it themselves. Practical Life exercises must be mastered so that the child will develop to their fullest potential and take their place in the history of our world. It is our role as caretakers of the adults of tomorrow to entice the child to work with purpose in everything they do!



THE LONG TERM BENEFIT OF MONTESSORI EDUCATION

The Montessori approach is described as an “education for life”. When we try to define what children take away from their years in Montessori, we must expand our vision to include long term benefits of a Montessori education and development of the whole child .Research shows that Montessori students, have alongside other benefits:-



  • More innovation and compulsion to make positive contributions to their community and the world at large.
  • Self-discipline and composure. They are self-reflective.
  • A love for learning.
  • Good levels of independence, self-direction, composure and motivation.
  • More confident in expressing their own ideas and creativity. They recognise the value of their own work, respect the process of others and are willing to share ideas.
  • Better prepared both for higher education and for life; life long learners. Montessori schools give children the sense of belonging to a family and help them learn how to live in harmony with others.


Montessori schools are different but it isn’t just because of the materials that are used in the classroom. Look beyond the golden beads and the pink tower and you will discover that the classroom is a place where children are moulded for an outstanding future.

Here are some living witnesses to the success of the Montessori education



FAMOUS PEOPLE EDUCATED AT MONTESSORI SCHOOLS

It is quite an interesting collection of people throughout history who have gone to Montessori schools, sent their children to Montessori schools, or supported this method of education in one way or another. The short list includes:



  • Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
  • Will Wright, designer of The Sims
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, former first lady(John F. Kennedy)
  • Anne Frank-author, diarist from World War II
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin -founders of Google
  • Jeff Bezos -founder of Amazon.com
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez-Nobel Prize winner for Literature
  • Katherine Graham, former owner-editor of the Washington Post
  • Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs- music producer/entrepreneur
  • Berry Brazelton- paediatrician and author
  • Julia Child- author, chef, TV cooking shows
  • Prince William and Prince Harry
  • Kami Cotler- actress
  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert-actors
  • Elizabeth Bridge- actress


FAMOUS MONTESSORI SUPPORTERS

  • Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor
  • Thomas Edison, US scientist and inventor, helped found a Montessori school
  • Alice Waters, restaurateur and writer, is a former Montessori teacher


FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO CHOSE MONTESSORI SCHOOLS FOR THEIR OWN CHILDREN

  • Bill and Hillary Clinton ,Former President and New York Senator
  • Jennifer Granholm ,Michigan State Governor
  • John Bradshaw, psychologist and author


Montessori has influenced many people, famous or not, who have grown to see the world in a new way and to follow their own leading.

“I do not believe there is a method better than Montessori for making children sensitive to the beauties of the world and awakening their curiosity regarding the secrets of life”.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Laureate in Literature and former Montessori student

HOW TO RECOGNISE A TRUE MONTESSORI SCHOOL

Maria Montessori set up the Association Montessori International (AMI) in 1929 to ensure her work would be faithfully reproduced after her death. A school that is run by an AMI trained teacher is practising what is known as ‘Maria Montessori’s Montessori.

GENERAL:

The Spring Montessori School offers a mixed age classroom and is staffed by trained adults including an AMI certified Directress.



LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD

How a child learns to speak and understand the spoken word is a mysterious process. As long as a child is exposed to some language in his/her early life, s/he will almost always learn to speak. We don’t entirely understand why, but we know this to be true. She will learn the vocabulary that she is offered. We can do much to enrich these offerings, to give the child a greater wealth of words at her command, but we can not make her learn to speak. That occurs in a way that, at present, remains a mystery. However, the same cannot be said for writing or reading. These, we teach. Montessori believed that language is innate and it is in the nature of humans to express themselves both orally and through the written word. The Montessori Language Arts curriculum, therefore, starts the moment the child first enters the environment. Steps taken to support the child’s language development include­;



  • Spoken Language: (helping to create an internal dictionary and practice using the words in it),
  • Phonetic Awareness: (helping to teach the phonetic sounds within words and the sounds/symbols of our alphabet),
  • Creating Words (Writing): helping to put these symbols together to make words)
  • Reading: helping to decode those sounds/symbols to decipher words.


Montessori Language: Ages 0-3 – Montessori believed that the sensitive period for language begins at birth and continues to about six years of age. From birth, the child has been absorbing the sounds and speech patterns of family and home environment. Long before being able to speak, the child listened intently while acquiring the sounds of her native language. Babies learn to recognize and repeat the individual sounds of their language and toddlers learn to recognize, name, and pronounce the names of objects in their environment. In the Montessori Infant/Toddler environment, daily exposure to language through conversations and the reading of good literature helps the child strengthen her vocabulary and increases independence as she becomes more cognisant of the world around her, giving her the ability to name her wishes and desires.

Montessori Language: Ages 3-6 – is a natural extension of the patterns of communication that have already been absorbed. Through every conversation, every book read aloud, every new word that is taught, the Montessori student is learning language, and thus, learning to read. In the Montessori Preschool environment, emphasis is placed on the process of acquiring language. Knowledge is constructed by mental and physical activity rather than on passive learning. Writing is taught before reading through the direct and indirect aims of the Montessori Practical Life and Sensorial works. In the Montessori 3-6 Language curriculum, writing itself is seen as a direct preparation for reading.

Montessori educators use precise language that is neither too simplified or given to baby-talk in order to give credence to the work the child is doing to acquire vocabulary and language skills. As Montessori educators, we help the child to focus her attention to the sound of her own speech, making fine distinctions between sounds. From our attention in oral language development emerges the child’s need to write. Unlike speech, writing and reading require instruction of some sort and require some degree of effort by the child. She must exert herself on the components of our language to build it for herself. She must mount each of these steps:

Step 1: Spoken Language

There are many ways the adult can facilitate the acquisition of verbal language but we can not directly teach it. Instead, we prepare the environment. We naturally focus on offering the child rich oral language experiences. This is essential yet there is other work we do that is as critical, if not more. We must adjust the child’s environment, both physical and navigable (e.g., daily routines, human interactions), so that it does not in anyway block the expression of the inborn, natural directive to communicate. We trust that given the right environment, the right support structure, the child is inherently capable of developing a strong, logical, ordered, and gracious language. Our work in this regard is mostly indirect and it begins with the child’s surroundings for one of the most significant ways we can offer assistance is by providing the child with an organized and accessible environment.

Step 2: Phonetic Awareness

Traditional education demonstrates a somewhat predictable swing between the teaching concepts of phonics versus whole language. The reality is that both of these concepts are valuable and necessary. The Montessori approach teaches both, but it teaches phonetics first. Why? Because 50% of our language is phonetic. It follows predictable rules…and children love rules. They are drawn to find the logic and order within our world. The natural directive for order and precision are very strong in the young child and the phonetic half of English is compliant in this respect. It is systematic and predictable. There are rules that, when followed, hold the key to cracking the code of English. We begin by teaching the child these rules. We teach them the sounds of each letter and of key phonograms. We encourage them to build phonetic words, and later, when they are ready, to read phonetic words. This process slowly builds the child’s confidence. It lays out the patterns of English. It presents the rules the children love to follow and gives them opportunities to practice applying those rules, to practice hearing the sounds in words, saying the sounds of each letter, writing letters, using those letters to build words, and reading phonetic words. Then, once the child has confidence, once the child believes she can crack the code of English, we slowly reveal the non-phonetic half of English…the words which don’t follow any rules at all. Wow! Words that don’t follow any rules at all? That’s interesting! And learning follows interest.

Step 3: Creating Words (Writing)

Traditionally when we think of writing, we think of putting pen to paper. But there is more to it than this. Before one can have success with writing by way of the hand, one must be able to build words in the mind. This is the intellectual component of writing. It refers to the ability to put letters together to create a word. It can be done even if one has no muscular control of the hands. As such, this intellectual component of writing may develop even before the hand is able to hold a pencil. Our first work in aiding the young child to master writing is to prepare the mind for the work of writing.

Step 4: Reading

At some point, when the child’s needs for verbal language, for phonetic awareness, and for writing have been met, there is a magical event. The child reads his first word. Just as we can not make an infant take his first steps, this discovery is not something we as adults can make happen. It will occur on its own time table and for reasons that will remain mysterious. We can only prepare the child to make the discovery in all the ways we have discussed. Once this preparation is complete, we continue to find exciting ways to engage them in the language

work while we wait. And while we wait, we trust that, she/he will spontaneously begin to read. Our intention with all of this work is to help children become masters of the spoken and written word, to realize what Dr. Montessori called Total Reading. We want children not only to be able to read and understand the words of others, but to realize their own voice, to trust in it, and to measure everything else against it. This is a much loftier goal than teaching a child to work with the mechanics of letters and phrases. This is the work of developing the child’s full potential.






About Us

This is achievable with trained and qualified directress and prepared environment

SpringMont School

  • Our Location
  • NO 20 Mezu Lane, off SS Mulumba Catholic Church , along Akachi road, off Wetheral Owerri Imo state.
  • Contact info :
  • Tel: 08099504162
  • mail: info@springmontessori.org

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