AN INTRODUCTION TO CASA
CASA ENVIRONMENT
PRACTICAL LIFE
SENSORIAL MATERIALS
LANGUAGE MATERIALS
MATH MATERIALS
GEOGRAPHY
BOTANY
ZOOLOGY
COMPUTERS
ART
MUSIC
GYM

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO CASA

Dr. Montessori believed that human beings learn from participating in activities. They must do the work for themselves and only then, is learning actually taking place with interest and understanding. She felt that children learn best in a prepared classroom environment, which serves to make the child independent of the adult. The teacher or Directress, as they are known in a Montessori classroom, allows a child to work at their own pace and allows the child to engage in meaningful activities. Since children are free to work with the materials on their own, they have the opportunity to explore and absorb what they learn.


CASA ENVIRONMENT

"Our goal is not so much the imparting of knowledge as the unveiling and developing of spiritual energy." Maria Montessori

A Montessori environment is prepared for children ages three to five years in one class, with materials appropriate for each level. The classroom invites exactness, precision and an aesthetically pleasing environment in which the children learn respect for one another and the materials around them. The materials are purposeful, clean, neat and complete. They must be accessible to the child with generally only one of each exercise. This encourages a child to be patient or the choice to take another activity, thus learning respect for others. The classroom is prepared to help children accomplish their goals and work independently to gain confidence and practice in a particular skill. Overtime the children acquire the following skills and qualities:

  • Concentration skills and longer attention spans
  • Precision of movement
  • A sense of order
  • Maximum effort, even by the youngest children
  • Self-discipline and a respect for others and the environment
  • Peace and kindness towards others
  • An obvious joy in "work"


PRACTICAL LIFE

The preliminary exercises develop movement and co-ordination. They are the foundation for other exercises and basic movement within the class. They teach children self-control and enhance their awareness of the world around them. Through active movement in the class, the children learn about listening and concentration. Care of the environment help create a full self-expression of love for the environment. Care of the person through dignity and independence, not just of oneself but of others as well. Grace and courtesy are much deeper than manners, it is living together with respect. Children thrive on knowing what to do and when to do it. This gives them respect for others and the community they live in.


The Practical Life materials assist the child's development in:

  • Lengthening their attention span
  • Fine and gross motor movements
  • Coordination - through will and action
  • Orderly work habits - to create oneself with order, purpose and values
  • Logical thought - to find purpose in all activities
  • Responsibility - a direct response to freedom and discipline
  • Socialization - the child learns to care for self and others (respect and appreciation)


SENSORIAL MATERIALS

The sensorial materials in the classroom are a representation of a selection of materials using various colours, shapes, textures and sizes. First, they help the child refine their senses. Secondly, they are the classification of sensorial experiences and impressions and thirdly, they introduce the material world to the child in order that they may adapt themselves and learn using their own knowledge freely.

Through the sequence of sensorial materials, the child is exposed to the various elements around them in the environment. Discrimination of size allows the child to find order in a complex number of similar objects. This gives the child the ability to group for example, long to short, large to small, thick to thin etc. Discrimination of colour comes through working with the various colour boxes and learning that life has an infinite number of colours to offer and its a mixture of these colours that enrich our environment. Discrimination of shape invites the child to explore the world around them. By introducing various geometric shapes, the child can look beyond the obvious and continue to explore how the world is made up, using various shapes put together to complete a particular item. Tactile sense (sense of touch) allows the child to discriminate between soft, course, thin, thick etc. This opens up the possibility for the child to explore other textures and surfaces used in the environment. Baric Sense (sense of weight) shows the child that various objects (even though they may look similar in size) may have different weights. Sense of taste, smell and hearing exercises allow the child to "experience" a particular area in life, making the child aware that all things have a very distinct taste, smell or sound.


LANGUAGE MATERIALS

Language is an instrument of collective thought. We use words to represent our experiences and express our thoughts, allowing us to communicate with each other effectively. The child absorbs language and it becomes a part of them at a very early stage. Language is a spontaneous creation from the environment. It does not matter how complicated or simple a language is, the child will unconsciously absorb it.

Preliminary language exercises teach the child to listen carefully to all that is being said, not just the words but the sounds that make them up. The child learns to listen to the "whole" word. Writing exercises through the sandpaper letters allow the child to visually see the letters and internalize them through touch. The moveable alphabet gives the child the opportunity to see that sounds have symbols, symbols combined make words, which is a building block for reading. The metal insets and their frames help prepare the hand for writing in a controlled area. Reading exercises allow the child to connect words with the appropriate objects. Children are encouraged to expand their reading skills and are introduced to phonetic cards, phonogram booklets and puzzle words (or "sight" words). This helps the child expand upon their reading skills and become a "total" reader. Function of Words show the child that each word, within a sentence, has a specific meaning and if changed, can alter the sentence drastically. Children learn that the use of the noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. is all needed in order for the sentence to be complete. Reading analysis and comprehension allows the child to read, understand and retain the story or poem This enriches their vocabulary and adds to their knowledge and language skills.


MATH MATERIALS

The child is prepared for mathematics with the aid of practical life, sensorial and language materials. The child is continually learning about the logical sequence of events, coordination, concentration and the precision with which they are carried out. Through exploration the child can work freely with the materials and learn from their experiences. Numbers to Ten give the child the opportunity to see the symbols used from 0 - 10. They also learn to associate the quantity that corresponds with them. Next the child is introduced to sequencing the numbers. The decimal system helps the child realize the different categories and quantities that match from one to nine thousand and beyond. Teens and Tens Boards introduce new language to the child and fills in the "gaps" between ten and twenty and ten to one hundred. The child learns that by adding a unit or a zero the number value changes. Exploration of Memorization of Tables gives the child, through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the freedom and confidence to work with any and all mathematical problems. With the previous materials used, the child has learned to categorize and visualize numbers and can begin working abstractly in the math area. Fractions enable the child to understand that a whole is divided or broken up into equal parts. This shows the child that in mathematics a number is given to each size of a part. It does not matter how large or small the quantity is, it is represented by a mathematical term.


GEOGRAPHY

The children learn about the world around them through various Montessori materials. The use of puzzle maps, atlas' and globes allows the child to learn the many different aspects of a continent or the name of a particular country. In addition, the child also learns about each country's flag, capital city, population, terrain import/export and animals. They are introduced to land and water formations, space, weather, explorers and many other facts about our wonderful world.



BOTANY

Children learn about nature and how it affects their everyday life. They learn about plants, water, sun and the delicate balance in our Eco-system.



ZOOLOGY

Zoology introduces the child to animals and their needs, characteristics and habits. Children's fascination with animals has always motivated them to learn about the different animal kingdoms and their importance to our environment.

 

COMPUTERS


We believe that through the educational use of technology, young children develop their resources more fully to become educated and productive in our ever changing and complex world.


ART

Self-expression through art is an important part of the weekly program. The children are encouraged to develop their creativity and self-esteem through arts & crafts.

 

MUSIC

Music is an important form of self-expression allowing the child an ongoing exploration of themselves. Through different types of music, a child develops listening skills and an appreciation for different styles of music composition.. We introduce the children to singing, humming, movement, rhythms, beats and playing various instruments.


GYM

Through such weekly activities as somersaults, tumbling, cartwheels, balance beams and routine mat work, the child develops balance, coordination, flexibility, posture and rhythm. The children are encouraged to enhance their physical limits, which in turn, allow them to develop confidence.