"The goal of early childhood education should be to activate each child’s own natural desire to learn."
- Maria Montessori
The goal of the Pinetree Montessori School is to nurture the curiosity, creativity, and imagination born within us all, to awaken the human spirit of every child, to celebrate the diversity of our community, and to approach each child as an individual while inspiring a passion for excellence and lifelong love of learning.
The Montessori Method of education is designed "to help the children to help themselves, so that they may develop the fullness of their individual human potential through independence, inner discipline and discovery."
The aims of the Pinetree Montessori Directress are to help the child acquire: self-confidence, self-motivation and independence, the right to activity and the right to explore the world though senses and movement.
In the Montessori curriculum there are 6 overall categories; scroll down to learn more about each:
This area is designed to help students develop and care for themselves, the environment, and each other. In the Primary years (ages 3–6), children learn how to do things such as: pouring and scooping, using kitchen utensils, washing dishes, polishing objects, scrubbing tables, and cleaning-up. They also learn how to dress themselves, tie their shoes, wash their hands, and other self-care practices. They learn these practical skills through a wide variety of materials and activities.
Although caring for one-self and for one’s environment is an important part of Montessori Practical Life education in these years, it also presumes to prepare the child for more: The activities might build a child’s concentration as well as being designed, in many cases, to prepare the child for writing. For the first three years of life, children absorb a sense of order in their environment. They learn how to naturally act a certain way, by absorbing it. In these ages, 3–6, the children are learning how to both build their own order and to discover, understand, and refine the order they already know. The practical life area teaches language in many forms. Fine motor skills used in the pencil-grip help the child develop that particular grip, in order to later more easily use a pencil. Strong concentration and attention to detail are typical traits of Montessori-schooled children. Practical life schooling in the elementary years and in the high school years involves many of the same skills, but also begins asserting a greater drive towards community-service-oriented activities.
All learning first comes through the senses. By isolating something that is being taught, the child can more easily focus on it. There are many different Montessori sensorial materials designed to help the child refine the tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory senses. For example, colours are taught with color tablets. The color tablets are all alike, except for one detail — the color in the middle. It helps avoid confusion for the child, and helps him and her focus specifically on: What is “blue”?
Exact phrasing of identifying terms is important, thus, an oval is not an “egg shape”, a sphere is not a “ball”. The Montessori method greatly emphasizes using the correct terminology for naming what we see. This is readily apparent in the sensorial area, because, it regularly overlaps into the mathematics area.
The blue rods used in the sensorial area schooling are a direct link to the segmented rods used in mathematics taught to one-through-ten year-olds. The pink tower has a connection to units and thousands that the child learns later, in the 3-6 curriculum. Even the trinomial cube will be used in the elementary years to figure out complex mathematical formulae.
This includes studies of the world and other cultures. Montessori children achieve early understanding of the concepts of continent, country, and province, and the names of many countries of the world.
The use of colored maps and flags assist the children in remembering continents, countries, and provinces.
More important, the goal is acquiring an understanding of the world’s other cultures.
The language curriculum, especially in the early years, includes everything — from vocabulary development to writing to reading. Children learn basic phonic letter-sounds through the use of sandpaper letters.
The child’s tracing of the letter implements tactile learning of how the letter feels.
Children then begin constructing three-letter words with a moveable alphabet, then progress into actual reading.
The science curriculum takes advantage of the child’s natural questioning and draws a curriculum for the 3–6 age range.
Early-childhood age children are very detail-oriented. They know what a bird is. At that age, they want to know the body parts of a bird. They want to know the life cycles of different animals.
They begin to observe the parts of a plant, and ask: What are those long things coming out the middle of a flower?
Learn more about the Montessori philosophy...
When physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs are met children glow with excitement and a drive to play and work with enthusiasm, to learn, and to create. They exhibit a desire to teach, help, and care for others and for their environment.
The high level of academic achievement so common in Montessori schools is a natural outcome of experience in such a supportive environment. The Montessori Method of education is a model which serves the needs of children of all levels of mental and physical ability.
The premises of a Montessori approach to teaching and learning include the following:
- That children are capable of self-directed learning.
- That it is critically important for the teacher to be an "observer" of the child instead of a lecturer. This observation of the child interacting with his or her environment is the basis for the continuing presentation of new material and avenues of learning. Presentation of subsequent exercises for skill development and information accumulation are based on the teacher's observation that the child has mastered the current exercise(s).
- That there are numerous "sensitive periods" of development (periods of a few weeks or even months), during which a child's mind is particularly open to learning specific skills or knowledge such as crawling, sitting, walking, talking, reading, counting, and various levels of social interaction. These skills are learned effortlessly and joyfully. Learning one of these skills outside of its corresponding sensitive period is certainly possible, but can be difficult and frustrating
- That children have an "absorbent mind" from birth to around age 6, possessing limitless motivation to achieve competence within their environment and to perfect skills and understandings. This phenomenon is characterized by the young child's capacity for repetition of activities within sensitive period categories, such as exhaustive babbling as language practice leading to language competence.
- That children are masters of their school room environment, which has been specifically prepared for them to be academic, comfortable, and to encourage independence by giving them the tools and responsibility to manage its upkeep.
- That children learn through discovery, so didactic materials with a control for error are used. Through the use of these materials, which are specific to Montessori schools (sets of letters, blocks and science experiments) children learn to correct their own mistakes instead of relying on a teacher to give them the correct answer.
- That children most often learn alone during periods of intense concentration. During these self-chosen and spontaneous periods, the child is not to be interrupted by the teacher.
- That the hand is intimately connected to the developing brain in children. Children must actually touch the shapes, letters, temperatures, etc. they are learning about—not just watch a teacher or TV screen tell them about these discoveries.