Le plus beau cadeau que l'on puisse donner aux enfants sont les racines de la responsabilité et les ailes de l'indépendance.
The casa environment is divided into five basic areas: practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics and cultural.
In the practical life area the young child works with exercises that develop his concentration, fine motor skills and co-ordination. These activities also give him the opportunity to develop independence, proper grace and courtesy etiquette and good work habits. (eg: pouring, sweeping, table washing, hand washing, dressing frames, …) The purpose of these exercises is to develop concentration and the attention to details as the child follows a regular sequence of actions finishing each task and putting away the material before moving on to the next exercise. These activities help the child: develop his independence by learning how to get dressed by himself (dressing frames) , take care of himself ( washing hands), take care of his environment (washing a table) and also proper etiquette (greetings in the morning, thanking someone for a compliment). These grace and courtesy exercises cultivate authentic, caring relationships and connections to his environment to create a sense a belonging among and between the children and the adults and the world around them.
The sensorial exercises in the Montessori classroom are designed to sharpen the senses of the young child. The child at this level of development learns through hands on experience with the concrete material and all information he receives in his intellect is via the senses. The Montessori sensorial material helps the child to distinguish, to categorize and to relate to the new information that he or she is receiving. The child finds a sense of order in this material and acquires the joy of learning when there is order in his/her environment. By sharpening the child’s senses he or she will be better equipped to understand the world around them and feel they belong.
The Language area is a very important part our curriculum. Songs, finger plays, storytelling, book reading, encouraging communication and oral expression throughout the day all help foster communication and expression. A lot of time is spent in the beginning doing different oral language games to make the child aware of the different sounds of our language. Once the child is aware of the different sounds of his language we then introduce our sandpaper letters. Tracing the sandpaper letters helps the child connect the sound with the symbol. After the child can recognize a good number of letters he or she can use the moveable alphabet (series of cut out letters) to spell different words. These activities serve as a preparation for writing and reading.
The Montessori material for mathematics lays down a strong foundation for numbers. The concept of quantity, the symbols for the numbers 1 to 10 and the decimal system are all introduced at this young age. The child in Montessori learns many different abstract mathematic concepts through the help of concrete material. The exercises presented teach the child how to calculate but furthermore, provide him with the deep understanding of how numbers function.
The last area is the cultural area. Montessori introduces geography, biology, geology, history, to the children of 2.6 to 6 years of age because at this age the children can joyfully absorb many difficult concepts if they see them in a concrete form. Furthermore, the cement which binds all of Dr. Montessori’s work together is the notion that children must make the world a better place when they become adults. World peace was her cherished goal. Montessori maps should be in evidence as children learn from the earliest age that there is a world outside their school walls. A strong cultural emphasis is a must in a Montessori school. By giving the world to the young child they better develop a sense of belonging to the world around them.
In a Montessori class you will also find an area provided for different arts and craft activities, a music shelf and a quiet corner. A few reproductions of famous artists and a good selection of classical music provide opportunities for the child to develop his/her artistic and aesthetic sense.
This rich Montessori environment provides many new experiences for the young child to engage in active, creative and meaningful exploration work (games) using our Montessori material. Through the manipulation of our material the child is given the opportunity to explore and inquire.