AMA not only offers an excellent Montessori education, but we have also carefully integrated circle time, books, music, art and yoga along with various experiences into a meaningful yearly theme. For example, as the school year starts, we focus on the child and his/hers immediate world and expand to give the child the greater picture of the universe and our solar system. Children should love what they are learning. Our curriculum enables us to go deeper into the subjects that children show a particular interest in. As we prepare the environment where the child can teach themselves and develop self-discipline. The classroom becomes a small community or a "Children's House" where children share love and ownership of the environment and spontaneously take responsibility for its care. This instills the desire to learn.
"We learn from the children how to teach from the heart."
Teachers must love the time spent with children. Our Curriculum is a work of love, which evolves from years of classroom experience.
Our school has the following features:
The premises of a Montessori approach to teaching and learning include the following:
Montessori is a highly hands-on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses: kinetic movement , spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.
Montessori classrooms provide an atmosphere that is pleasant and attractive to allow children to learn at their own pace and interact with others in a natural and peaceful environment. In the ideal classroom, children would have unfettered access to the outdoors, but this is frequently not possible given modern day space considerations (and cost thereof).In response, Montessori teachers stock their classrooms with nature shelves, living plants and small pets, or perhaps a window sill garden, allowing children to experience as much of the natural world as possible given modern constraints.
In the Montessori Curriculum, there are 6 overall areas:
This area is designed to help students develop a care for themselves, the environment, and each other. In the Primary years (3-6), children learn how to do things from pouring and scooping, using various kitchen utensils, washing dishes, shining objects, scrubbing tables, and cleaning up. They also learn how to dress themselves, tie their shoes, wash their hands, and other various self-care needs. They learn these through a wide variety of materials and activities. While caring for yourself and your environment is an important part of Montessori Practical Life education in these years, it also prepares the child for so much more. The activities 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 act a certain way naturally by absorbing it. These ages, from 3-6, the children are learning how to both build their own order and discover, understand, and refine the order they already know. So it's typical for you to see a child spend a half hour working on one practical life activity with a strong concentration and attention to detail. Language preparation comes in many forms in the practical life area. In non-Asian countries, the setup is from left to right, top to bottom, as much as possible to prepare the child for reading and writing. (Many countries, such as those that read and write Chinese, may adapt this to fit the way they write and read). Many of the fine motor skills being used involve a pencil grip and help the child develop that grip to be able to later use a pencil more easily.
All learning first comes to us through the senses. By isolating something that is being taught, the child can more easily focus on it. For example, colors are not taught by having the child think of everything that is blue - blue jeans, the sky, icebergs, a picture of a blue cartoon elephant hanging on a wall. Colors are taught with the color tablets. The color tablets are all exactly the same except for one thing - their color in the middle. This helps take away the confusion for the child and helps them to focus on specifically what blue is.Exact phrasing of terms is important. An oval is not an "egg shape." A sphere is not a "ball." The Montessori method places great emphasis on using the correct terminology for what we see. This is readily apparent in the sensorial area.The sensorial area also falls over into the math area quite regularly. The red rods in the sensorial area are a direct link to the segmented rods in math that teach 1-10. 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 formulas.
This includes both the studies of the world and various cultures. Montessori children come out of a 3-6 environment not only understanding the concept of a continent, country, and state, but also the names of many countries around the world. Montessori uses colored maps to help the children remember continents, countries, and states.More importantly, the goal is to get an understanding that there are various cultures and these cultures have a lot to offer us. When a student is doing the map of Asia, pictures, stories, facts about different Asian countries, and a variety of learning opportunities open up to give the child a real sense of the world and how it is different - even within the same area.This is just an example, but the possibilities of what a child takes interest in are endless. The teacher is there as a guide to help draw in different aspects for the child to look into and research, rather than having to be the source of all the information.
Children at the early childhood age are very detail oriented. They know what a bird is. Now they want to know the various body part of a bird. They want to know the life cycle of different animals. They begin to really look at the parts of a plant and wonder, "What are those long things coming out of the middle of a flower?" The science curriculum takes the opportunity for the child's natural questioning and draws a curriculum for the 3-6 age range.
The language curriculum in 3-6 involves everything from vocabulary development to writing to reading. Children learn their basic letter sounds through the use of sandpaper letters, where the letters are cut from sandpaper and glued to a wooden board. As the child traces the letter, they get a real image for how the letter feels. They can also feel if a mistake was made because of the different feel of the sandpaper from the board. They begin making words before they can read words with the moveable alphabet, a large box of cut out letters made from wood or plastic that the child can arrange on his or her rug.An appreciation for literature is another strong point in the Montessori elementary curriculum.
Children go from a very concrete understanding of math to a more abstract concept. For example, the difference between 1, 10, 100, and 1000 because they have felt it countless times. They felt it originally in the pink tower when they were 3 years old and later in the math materials. The idea of squares and cubes becomes concrete because of the use of the Montessori Bead Cabinet.As stated above, the sensorial leads into the math area very well. The child can then work out the math equation to figure out the cube of a+b+c with different variables. This is just one example of how sensorial materials cross over into math.Pedagogical materialsEvery activity has its place in the classroom and is self-contained and self-correcting. The original didactic materials are specific in design, conforming to exact dimensions, and each activity is designed to focus on a single skill, concept, or exercise. All of the material is based on SI units of measurement (for instance, the Pink Tower is based on the 1 cm cube) which allows all the materials to work together and complement each other, as well as introduce the SI units through concrete example. In addition to this, material is intended for multiple uses at the primary level. For example, manipulative materials initially used to allow the child to analyze sense impressions are also designed to improve fine motor coordination needed for writing.
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