Activities for everyday living
These are the first activities children take part in, developing their ability to look after themselves and their surroundings. They can practice dressing skills with zips, buttons, buckles and bows on specially designed frames. Use little jugs, filled beans and then water to practice pouring; spoon, scoop or use droppers to transfer from one bowl to another. Scaled down versions of real equipment enable them to wash up, clean shoes and sweep. All these activities involve the hand and mind together developing a great capacity to concentrate, which is the best possible preparation for the intellectual work to come.
These are specially designed materials to encourage development and refinement of the senses and provide the child with keys to the world around him. This enables the child to develop the ability to make fine discriminations through exploration of different shapes, textures, sizes, colour, and sound and then respond to what they can see, hear, smell and touch. The aim of the materials is an inner one – the child trains himself to observe: that he is led to make comparisons between objects, to reason and decide. The child is encouraged to use precise terminology to explore and to classify through the use of materials graded from the simple to the more complex.
Talking about experiences, listening to stories and singing together is encouraged on a daily basis. The alphabet is taught phonetically using sandpaper letters to provide a sensorial impression of the letter forms. Writing often comes before reading in a Montessori classroom with children building up their first words phonetically using the large moveable alphabet. When the child is ready the reading programme is colour coded for each level.
Children gain a physical impression of size and quantity long before they begin to manipulate numbers by working with the number rods, counting out beads, spindles and arranging counters into odd and even. Number symbols are taught using the sandpaper numbers. Progressing through these stages the child learns to enjoy number and can then be introduced to more complex activities: sequencing, quantifying, addition and subtraction.
Children are born with a desire to learn about their world and we nurture this interest. The nature table and the ever changing seasons provide a good starting point to give the children the keys to going and finding out. They can study plants, animals, globes, maps and how other children and their families live in other parts of the world. The breadth of knowledge at nursery of geography, history and science is quite astounding.
Art and Music
These are both seen as part of the cultural curriculum and are available to the children at all times. They are free to express themselves through painting, drawing, cutting and sticking. Music sessions include dancing, singing and experimenting with other instruments from other cultures.
Here the children develop and improve motor skills as they climb, jump and swing through individual or group activities of skipping, parachute games, obstacle courses, ball games, going for walks, gardening etc.
We encourage the children to use the cameras, camcorders and programmable toys.