Montessori Focus Areas
PRACTICAL LIFE AREA
The Practical Life area explores and masters dressing skills, care of the environment, pouring, cleaning, food preparation, sewing tasks, lacing, scooping, coloring, cutting and pasting. These activities are designed to teach the children independence, self-control, hand-eye coordination, concentration and fine motor skills. While seemingly mundane in nature, these exercises are of profound fascination to the children, who are developing rhythms, a sense of technique, and an understanding of their abilities in the world, which they will rely on for the remainder of their lives.
In this area, sensorial exercises help children to distinguish, categorize and relate new information to what they already know. The child learns to differentiate between size, color, weight, texture, sounds, smells and tastes. The child does not experience size, texture or color for its own sake, but as a means for accomplishing a task-either one that a teacher illustrates or one that the child creates. The Montessori sensorial apparatus require the children to use all five senses, helping them make a finer distinction in quality and gradation. The tools allow the children to organize, classify and verbalize experiences they have had since birth.
The language program is comprised of verbal skill, visual perception, and small muscle coordination. A complete reading system is available to the children to help them learn that separate sounds can be blended together to create words. Young children are introduced to sounds, letters, and the names of things, while older children may be beginning to read. The sensorial and language materials work hand in hand. Language materials are often tactile, taking advantage of young children’s sensitivity to learning through touch.
In the Montessori classroom, concrete materials are used to introduce mathematical skills. Children do not memorize abstract facts, but instead they discover that they often already know them from real life situations. Children also work with two- and three-dimensional shapes, measurements, graphs, and time and money as a part of the mathematics curriculum. As they utilize the concrete teaching tools, they more truly learn concepts like addition, subtraction, and multiplication. These exercises help the children’s developing sense of order, sequence and direction.
The cultural curriculum expands the children’s concepts of the world around them. Children develop an understanding of their place in the universe, and how the earth has changed over time. The school is comprised of children and families from all over the world, and children learn about cultural differences and similarities on a daily basis.
Music is incorporated on a daily basis in group/circle time. The goal is to help children enjoy singing, rhythm activities and clapping games. OKC Montessori believes that the arts are a meaningful part of the curriculum, just like mathematics and language. The arts provide children with a sense of creativity, teach communication, and provide tools to help children assess what they see, hear, feel, read and experience. Each student deserves to have the chance to add creative images to the world, and express their ideas and emotions through a non-language outlet.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AREA
Children are encouraged daily to be involved in light physical exercise which includes games to promote gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, foot-eye coordination and general enjoyment. Physical education enables children to understand how physical activity affects their productivity and overall health.