"It is through contact with and exploration of the environment that the intelligence builds up its store of operational ideas without which its abstract functioning lacks both foundation and precision, exactitude and inspiration"
- Maria Montessori
The Children's House is designed as a whole environment integrating four main areas of learning: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, and Language. An additional area termed ‘Culture’ will introduce the children to subjects such as biology, geography, music and art.
In this area, children work to gain skill and build independence. They take pleasure in activities such as Washing a Table, Flower Arranging, Folding Cloths, and Polishing Objects. Children learn how to prepare food from the garden to the table. They learn about plants and animals, as well as how to care for them. They learn how to be graceful and courteous and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.
The five senses are refined through "materialized abstractions,” such as work on chromatic gradation with concrete color tablets and preparation for abstract math through geometry and manipulation of figures and shapes. It is through work in this vital area of the Montessori environment that the child creates order in his brain, categorizing information for greater ease of all learning to come.
Using wooden blocks and beads, the child begins to learn about numbers. Children learn sequencing and experience real quantities through counting and measurement activities. It's easy for them to understand basic math operations and facts with these fun hands-on activities. They even understand really big numbers in the thousands and the difference between one half and one quarter. Moving from the concrete to more abstract concepts like multiplication and division, the child will work naturally and sequentially establishing a greater comprehension of the true nature of numbers and their operations.
Language acquisition begins well before the child enters the primary classroom and is offered consistently throughout the three year cycle. Beginning with verbal skills and naming of objects, the child comes to writing and reading organically with sufficient preparation. It is common to hear of a child ‘exploding’ into reading, seeming to acquire this skill overnight, but it is actually the result of offering the child the correct tools at the correct time during his sensitive period for language that allows him the ability to reach this level of comprehension. More advanced materials will offer an in-depth exploration of language as the child works with the various parts of speech, sentence analysis and eventually creative writing.
In this area, the possibilities of exploration and knowledge acquisition are vast. Materials in the areas of biology, geography, music and art allow for not only an impressive level of comprehension, but the opportunity for a child to follow her interests freely in any particular area.
All the areas of learning are organized in a child-centered environment that promotes independence and offers uninterrupted periods of activity. Children work with interest and focus, participating harmoniously within a peaceful, multilingual, multicultural community.