“At some given moment it happens that the child becomes deeply interested in a piece of work; we see it in the expression on his face, his intense concentration, the devotion to the exercise.” —The Discovery of the Child
Dr Montessori believed that human beings learn from participating in productive activities. She observed children engaging in work they could be proud of and witnessed how genuine learning took place when the children took pride in what they were learning. The ‘Casa de Bambini’ was born out of her vision to ensure that children were empowered to learn best when they chose what they wanted to learn – when they wanted to learn. She felt when the child had a choice of what they wished to learn at their own pace this then prepared them to be more independent adults. The teacher serves as a guide in the class, their role is to ensure that the child is able to move from one activity to another when they are ready to do so.
In the fulfillment of the Montessori philosophy, we encourage students’ parents to commit to the three years program. This helps create a harmonious and mutually supportive atmosphere where children have a positive attitude towards schools and receive lifelong learning skills.
A key feature of the Casa program is the increase of the Montessori materials they now have at their disposal to learn from. The teacher cleverly sets up the shelves around the classroom laying out materials and resources that are easily accessible to the child and will help them to learn a set of skills as they progress through each of these materials.
The Montessori classroom is an uncluttered, aesthetically pleasing space that is neutral in colour to enable every child to concentrate and focus on what they are learning. The manipulative materials are purposeful, clean, neat and complete. The classroom is prepared to help children accomplish their goals and work mainly independently, gaining confidence and dexterity in a particular skills. Gradually, the children reveal qualities for which theu are not usually given credit for. For example these qualities include:
Language Materials – the Montessori program enables very young children to start understanding how to read and write by using a variety of 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.
The Sandpaper letters enable a child to visualize letters through touch. The Moveable alphabet gives children the opportunity to see that sounds have symbols; symbols combined make words which is a building block for reading. 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.
Culture Materials – Geography, Zoology, Botany, Science
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.
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 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.
Science experiments are carried out to begin to use the concept of prediction and hypothesis enabling the children to start to understand the concept of cause and effect.
Specialist Subjects- Art, Music, French, Gym
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. The weekly themed programs enable the children to experiment with a variety of medium learning to paint, draw, colour and create ‘masterpieces’ for their parents walls at home!
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.
Developing the additional language skills of French, the children are given a weekly introduction to the French language where they are encouraged to sing and learn the alphabet, the numbers, common greetings, animals and fruits and vegetables to expand their vocabulary.
Through such weekly activities as somersaults, tumbling, cartwheels, balance beams and routine mat work, the Gym classes at CMS enable the child to develop balance, coordination, flexibility, posture and rhythm. The children are encouraged to enhance their physical limits, which in turn, allow them to develop confidence.