The Montessori Curriculum
The Montessori Curriculum is centered around five areas of development: language, sensorial, math, cultural and practical life. The complexity and sophistication of the tasks that the children engage in in each area changes as the child matures and develops, but the underlying principles of the curriculum are the same.
The language area of the classroom offers a host of tactile materials, such as small figurines, picture cards, and textured letter cards for tracing with a finger to encourage the child’s acquisition and mastery of letter sounds and shapes. The Montessori curriculum uses phonics and a multi-sensory approach to teach children to read and write.
This area of the classroom showcases Dr. Montessori’s ingenuity in developing materials for the child who is seeking to find patterns, observe size, shape & weight variations, and engage their five senses as they explore the world around them. In the sensorial section of the classroom, a child may enjoy stacking cubes that increase in size, using a blindfold while smelling a variety of scents to see if they can identify them, or working with a friend to identify by touch alone the objects that have been placed in a mystery bag.
Mathematical concepts are introduced with manipulatives. Using a tactile tool, such as beads, to begin adding, engages the sense of touch to reinforce what the child is beginning to learn intellectually. As the child develops and masters basic concepts, the curriculum moves to greater abstraction and the child may practice addition, subtraction or multiplication problems with simply a pencil and paper. Montessori manipulatives make it easier for a child to see increase and decrease by 2s, 5s and 10s, and when they graduate from Dothan Montessori School, most children have a very strong intuitive number sense.
A central part of Dothan Montessori School’s program is an emphasis on fostering curiosity and understanding the world around us. This happens in the classroom through shared experiences, opportunities for close observation of the natural world, and skill building for positive social interactions and peaceful conflict resolution. The cultural component of a Montessori classroom is rich. In DMS classrooms it includes basic science (often through gardening and cooking), cultural explorations of regions and people – locally and globally, and ample opportunity for the child to integrate what he or she is learning through art.
Children want to be meaningful, contributing members of their households, classrooms and communities. The Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom offers them ample opportunity to practice the skills they need to fulfill this desire. For example, at DMS, children practice pouring with beans or rice, then with real water, and they have dressing frames to practice buttoning, tying, and latching. Children delight in the opportunity to practice and master these simple, but essential, self-care skills without being rushed.