At Norbeck Montessori, we want children to learn and grow by providing them with meaningful, real, practical activities for use in life. The lessons found in the Practical Life area of the classroom, provide those real life experiences for children. In addition, these lessons provide a sense of purposeful order, develop coordination, develop independence, promote concentration, as well as a sense of responsibility. Both large and small muscle development are involved, helping a child to have control over his or her body. Lessons may include sewing, pouring liquids, sweeping, dusting, polishing and table washing.
At this early age, children are becoming keenly aware of their 5 senses. The Sensorial area of the Montessori classroom, help the children develop and sort out all the impressions they are feeling with their sense. Dr. Montessori believed that without the opportunity for a child to explore through sensorial activities, the child was actually less intelligent. Through the use of sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound, a child at Norbeck Montessori begins to explore, observe, and become aware of the physical world they are in. Sensorial activities help the child learn to discriminate among the various senses, feel a sense of order, and also help prepare him/her to be a logical, aware and perceptive person. The sensorial materials at Norbeck Montessori assist the child in developing an understanding which forms the basis for abstract thought.
One of the most amazing things about children, is that there is no need to ‘teach’ them language at this age — we must organize and provide the content and the child will absorb it. As the adults in their world, we simply need to prepare the proper environment (both in the classroom and home) which enables them to develop language on their own. At Norbeck Montessori, the classroom is rarely silent during a work cycle. The children are constantly conversing and listening, to both friends and teachers, for exposure to new vocabulary. Children in our classrooms learn to write and read faster and with more ease by exposing them to the phonetic sounds vs. letter/symbol recognition. As language becomes more elevated and refined, more structured reading and writing lessons are introduced. Children with start with lessons such as the Sandpaper Letters and the Moveable Alphabet, then move on to 3-Letter Word Cards and eventually to reading and writing stories independently.
Mathematics is another way of looking at the world — a language for understanding and expressing measurable relationships inherent in our experience. Preschool-aged children have the capacity to reason, calculate and estimate. They are naturally conscious of quantity, counting – maybe it’s pebbles on the beach or cookies for dessert. The mathematics materials at Norbeck Montessori build upon each other in increasing complexity. The children start by learning quantity then exposed to the symbol that quantity represent. This eventually leads to a child incorporating quantity and symbols to perform more and more complex operations. This process allows for the child to experience the thrill of discovery as part of a natural progression.
The Culture areas of the classroom encompass a variety of subjects to include History/Geography and Science. The Montessori Science curriculum is designed to peak a child’s natural curiosity and help them discover answers to their “why” and “how” questions. “Why does that float?”, “How do plants eat?” Science also helps a child follow a simple thought process – question, test/observe, conclude. Norbeck Montessori incorporates the exploration of earth science, physical science, biology, botany and zoology into the everyday experiences of the child. Learning, especially in the geography and history curriculum, enables children to make sense of the world around them. At Norbeck Montessori this area focuses on giving children an awareness of the time they are in and where they are in the relation to the environment and the world. We expose children to the broad concept of the world and drill down to various land and water formations. We study everything from individual cultures, continent maps, landmarks, capitals and flags. History in the Montessori classroom focuses primarily on the passage of time, which is a difficult concept for children to grasp. At Norbeck Montessori, we teach this concept in a way that makes it understandable and fun! We start by discussing seasons, then incorporate the months of the year, days of the week, hours of the day and finally getting into telling time. The area of Culture is one of the most fun and interesting areas for all our little learners.