Primary

The Primary Environment

A child can usually enter a Montessori House of Children between the ages of two and three depending on the individual situation. He will begin with the simplest exercises based on activities which all children enjoy.

The equipment he uses at two and three will help him develop the concentration; coordination and working habits necessary for the more advanced exercises he will perform at five and six. The entire program of learning is purposefully structured. Therefore, optimum results cannot be expected either for a child who misses the early years of the cycle, or for one who is withdrawn before he finishes the basic materials. By pursuing his individual interests in a Montessori House of Children, he gains an early enthusiasm for learning which is the key to his becoming a truly educated person.

“It is true, we cannot make a genius: We can only give each individual the chance to fulfill his possibilities, to become an independent, secure and balanced human being.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

The Approach?

Attention is paid to “life skills” such as growing plants, fastening clothing, using scissors and pasting (and even the youngest child tidies up afterward) growing in independence. The children are encouraged to from gracious and courteous habits as it is a pleasurable tasks at this formative age.

The child learns many basic concepts such as colour, size, shape, texture, smell, weight and musical pitch. He is also given a very good grasp of the idea of number simple geometry and the alphabet, before moving on to the more complex math operations, writing and reading. Geography is introduced with the help of globes, jigsaw puzzle maps, miniature animals, pictures, etc.

Maria Montessori was a medical doctor an anthropologist who became interested in the psychology an development of the young child.

The teaching method that she evolved stresses the individual growth of the physical, intellectual and psychological abilities of the child. It is designed to allow the child to progress at his own speed by his own motivation within a carefully prepared environment, offering beauty, order and reality.

Dr. Montessori observed that children went through various sensitive stages in which they were very receptive to learning specific skills. She stressed the importance of developing the senses between the ages of two and six when the child naturally wishes to use and perfect his senses. Thus the teaching materials are designed for the children to learn by seeing, touching and hearing.

Through number rods, beads and cubes the child builds a clear idea of the meaning of numbers using concrete examples. Sandpaper letters and metal insets as well as spoken sounds, give him a triple impression of letters preparatory to writing and reading. He is introduced to music through sound boxes, graduated bells, rhythm instruments; to colour with graduated colour tablets and to earth science with model landforms and wooden lift out maps.

Montessori equipment has the wonderful feature of being self-correcting, enabling children to work on their, own once they have been shown how to use the specific material, without the constant humiliation and discouragement from personal correction by another. The process is self-education, building self-confidence through competence. The materials and activities in a Montessori environment generally fall into five groups:

EVERYDAY LIFE ACTIVITIES – These offer the child the means of taking care of himself and his environment-dressing, sweeping, scrubbing, etc.

SENSORIAL MATERIALS – These help to educate and refine the sense and aid the child in learning to from concepts and abstractions.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES – A meaningful, involved first person acquaintance with plants and animals, music, basic science concepts, art, geography, etc. These help the child towards becoming a knowledgeable, compassionate and loving citizen of the world.

LANGUAGE – These give the child the means not only for expressing his ideas, but for writing and reading.

MATHEMATICS – These help the child to an internal understanding of basic mathematical concepts and processes.

The Montessori House of Children, therefore, gives a very good foundation to the human being’s education- to be continued in the more abstract format when the human development dictates it. This is especially beneficial since most education systems are geared to the abstract level.

Quotes:

Dr. Montessori found that while a child of seven or eight would read some fairy tales and profit from the literature and more is illustrated in fiction, it is quite different with the child under six years of age. At this age, according to her, you may be doing the child serious and even permanent injury by relating such stories. G.K. Chesterton had much to reveal in support of this fact.

“It is fatally easy for us to forget and thoughtlessly take advantage of the small child’s extremely limited experience.” In keeping with the totality of the Montessori program, therefore and helping the child by providing this carefully prepared environment, we have to censor the reading material, stories, etc., within the House of Children. Your assistance is requested in continuing this benefit outside.