THE AGE OF THE ABSORBENT MIND
3 through 6 years
Monmouth Montessori Academy is proud to stay true the the Montessori method developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. By focusing on teaching for understanding, not memorizing, children learn “by doing.” They are totally immersed and engaged at the task at hand, and as a result, they find that learning is exciting and fun. Active learning through hands-on activities and exercises rather than “book learning” is emphasized in order to encourage the development of the creative and analytical mind.
The Practical Life lessons are the first level of work for all children and are a link to the child’s home environment, aiding adaptation and orientation to the child’s society and culture. The materials involve precise movements and procedures, which aid large and fine motor development. The child’s concentration and attention span are strengthened through repeated and increasingly complex activities. Sequential and orderly work habits, independence, and self-control are established with this area. The early social courtesy behaviors, class procedures and expectations that are introduced through the Practical Life curriculum evolves from care of self into care of others and care of the environment. This leads to activities such as science experimentation and discoveries and is essential for success in all academic areas as well as in our social and cultural environment.
Grace and Courtesy: Class ground rules, social manners, carrying and walking respectfully, conversation and self-expression, table manners and self-care.
Motor Skills and Coordination: Eye-hand coordination, fine and large motor control, pencil grasp, sequencing judgment, left-to-right and top-to-bottom sequence, spatial awareness and body coordination.
Care of Self: Dressing/undressing, hand and face washing, independence with personal hygiene, and care of personal belongings.
Care of Environment: Washing and polishing materials and furniture, plant care and flower arrangement, animal care, setting and clearing tables, respecting materials and environment, returning work when finished, and related environmental activities including the outside environment.
Food Preparation: Pouring, slicing, stirring, peeling, grinding, chopping, measuring, mixing and following a recipe.
The Sensorial materials involve innovative materials which isolate a particular quality and refine the sense-perceptual skills. These are materialized abstractions which give the child concrete experiences with concepts. By working with matching and gradations of size, shape, form, color, texture, sound, and taste, the child’s senses are refined and perceptual awareness is intensified. The sensorial materials are a direct preparation for the development of mathematical thinking and the math activities, such as geometry. The student also meets a rich vocabulary in the process and learns to discriminate perceptually, using the senses.
Visual: Matching and grading colors and corresponding vocabulary; size matching and gradations with cubes, lengths, prisms and corresponding vocabulary; geometric forms and shapes matching, gradations and vocabulary and definitions.
Auditory: Matching and gradations of sounds and musical tones and rhythm instruments.
Gustatory and Olfactory: Recognizing and identifying tastes and smells.
Discrimination Skills: Recognizing same, similar, differences and gradations.
MMA’s language program begins with readiness activities. It is important that each child be allowed to progress to a state of physical and mental readiness before formal language exercises are introduced. The child experiences matching cards, stories, poetry, listening games and other preparatory activities.
As the teacher ascertains the child’s readiness, he or she is introduced to language through a phonetic approach. Language is taught through a variety of multi-sensory activities: visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic. This ensures success by providing the appropriate experience for each child’s individual learning patterns. As the child differentiates and recognizes sounds, he or she begins the process of word building and then blending sounds into meaningful reading. During the kindergarten year, student reading skills typically range from the early stage of phonetic reading to the study of the functions of the parts of speech.
To guarantee success and pleasure, the reading child is guided carefully through the Montessori curriculum.
Oral Language: Listening and communication skills, auditory discrimination, and vocabulary development.
Writing: Sandpaper letters, metal insets, moveable alphabet, and penmanship.
Reading: Phonetic object boxes, phonetic reading, sight words, phonograms, reading
classification, function of words, alphabetizing, word study, and simple research.
Mathematics is introduced individually as the child demonstrates interest and readiness. Our teachers at MMA match each child’s ability to the appropriate materials so that his or her learning experiences are positive, rewarding and provide optimum learning at each stage of development.
Introduction to mathematics begins with a clear, sensorial impression derived from manipulation of objects, movement and activity on the part of the child.
As each math concept is internalized, the child weans himself naturally from concrete objects and progresses to the abstract level that is required for advanced math curriculum. This method of instruction, devised by the genius of Dr. Montessori, has proven to be successful in teaching math skills while enabling the child to enjoy working in this subject.
Each child benefits from this concrete introduction to abstract concepts such as decimal system identity, commutative and associative properties, and cube vs. square concepts. Older students work with the math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using Montessori Golden Bead material. The success that the child meets here inspires confidence and a desire to seek out future learning experiences.
Numeration and Linear Counting: Discovering the relationship between quantity and symbol; counting 1-10, teens, twenties, to 100, 1000 and skip counting.
Decimal System and Concept of Operations: Discovering the relationship between quantity and quality of ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands; addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division using the decimal materials.
Reinforcement of Operations: Working toward abstraction using the Stamp Game and Dot Game for the four operations.
Math Concepts: Working with clocks, money, measurement, and fractions.
Hands-on learning is the key to the Science curriculum at MMA. Children touch, feel and absorb important concepts such as magnetism, chemical reactions, density, living and non-living things, and gravity. Each child is given a one-on-one or small group lesson and then allowed time to explore and discover.
We offer an enhanced Montessori curriculum in the Physical Sciences including Astronomy, Weather, Physics, Chemistry and Geology. The study of Science, including Zoology and Biology, begins in the classroom and then moves outdoors to the development of a garden. In our Biology area, children study seeds and the life cycle of plants.
The Zoology curriculum helps children classify animals (vertebrates vs. invertebrates) and real specimens provide a close up look at the different species of the animal kingdom. Classroom pets, such as our bunny, help introduce the concept of animal care. Field trips round out the zoology curriculum by taking the children out into the wild to see the animals in their natural habitat.
Art, Music, Geography and International Language are a part of the Montessori Prepared Environment interwoven into the Practical Life, Language, Sensorial, and Science areas.
Our American culture is blessed by having a variety of people from different places with varied cultures. Children learn about Geography and the world through music, art, architecture, celebrations, food, globes and maps, books and pictures. Students learn about physical and political geography, people and flags of distant countries, and the cultural similarities that unite all people. They also learn about the world through each other’s traditions.
Parents and their children are encouraged to share a special holiday with the class that is a part of the child’s heritage. Our Thanksgiving Feast celebrates our culture’s diversity by inviting each child to bring a special dish that is a family tradition passed down from their ancestors.
Weekly Spanish lessons builds international language abilities during your child’s most sensitive period for language, when the mind is absorbing at it’s highest level.
Circle Time provides experiences with music, movement and drama. Playing rhythm instruments, listening to music, dancing, singing, acting out a familiar story, or mimicking the movements of animals encourage creative expression.
Art is a central part of the Montessori classroom. Children are taught how to use basic artistic tools, and then are set free to create. Projects that are combined with zoology, language, cultural, or geography themes help the children synthesize and remember what they’ve learned.
All children will have outdoor play activities on a daily basis as well as be introduced to physical fitness such as yoga and creative movement. We have a beautiful playground and yard for various group activities as well as free play. Summer students will also have the benefit of our pool for fun water activities.