All Day Montessori Curriculum

The Montessori Method

The Montessori Method of teaching fosters a natural desire for the enjoyment of learning and allows each child to follow his or her own intrinsic curiosity. A young Italian physician named Maria Montessori developed this method over a century ago. Her notions that children learn through hands on activity, that the preschool years are a time of critical brain development, and that parents should be partners in their children's education are now widely accepted.

The Montessori Method enhances social skills. Children learn kindness, courtesy and respect for the rights of others, independence and responsibility. The Montessori Method allows the child to learn the way they learns best - by doing things themselves.

The Montessori classroom is equipped with specially designed materials. They are simple, attractive and self correcting. In a non-competitive environment, the child can choose their own work.

Infants (6 weeks to 18 months)

In the infant classroom, the ratio is 4/1 or 2/10 student teacher ratio. Our staff, well versed in the Montessori Method, realizes that even a pre-verbal child can communicate using movements. The prepared environment and sensorial training, which Dr. Montessori developed, is consistent with developmental needs and capabilities of a very young child. The infant room at Montessori Academy at Westridge is a piece of art. The toys and activities in the room are carefully selected. The room is calm and quiet so that an infant can concentrate on what he or she is doing. Too much noise and overstimulation can make an infant drowsy, sleepy, or agitated, which can block out all possibility of learning.

Toddler Program (18 months to 36 months)

The toddler program is geared to the development of motor skills. Children at this age love to work on practical life and sensorial exercises. Since the material is attractive and placed on low shelves, it is easily accessible to the children.

There are many activities for the development of language. Vocabulary building rhyming words, sequencing and opposites are just a few ways in which a child's language is developed.

Social skills are also taught. Sharing and taking turns, care, and concern for each other are included in the daily lessons plans. The teacher or caregiver sets the tone of a child's day. She provides a wealth of engaging opportunities, interactions, and materials through which they can educate their mind. Due to their limited attention span, the toddlers work in half hour sessions. Toilet training takes place in this classroom.

Primary Program (3 years to 6 years)

The children in the primary classroom range from 3-6 years. Between 3-4 years, the child shows an interest in exercises preparing him/her for writing. Objects like knobbed cylinders, geometric cabinets, sandpaper letters and metal insets all help in the refinement of the hand-eye coordination. Children at this age can hold a pencil and may be interested in reproducing the letters of the alphabet. The equipment the child uses at this stage will help him/her to develop the concentration and work habits necessary for the more advanced exercises to be performed at the ages of 5 to 6 years. It is the intent of the teacher to provide guidance and a positive experience, allowing children to make choices within set limits. All this creates a viable atmosphere.

Classrooms are divided into 5 major areas:

Practical life

Practical life exercises involve taking care of the "self," the environment, and lessons in grace and courtesy. These exercises improve the coordination, working habits, concentration and attention span of a child.

Sensorial

The sensorial material in the classroom helps the child to become aware of details by offering him/her strongly contrasted sensations. The Montessori sensorial materials help the child to distinguish and categorize all the new lessons taught.

Language Arts

Children are taught phonics with the help of picture cards, object boxes, and sandpaper letters. They form words with the movable alphabet. A child as young as 4 years of age may begin reading and writing.

Mathematics

Pre-math starts at the age of two when the cognitive curriculum activities are presented in the practical life and the sensorial curriculum. The children learn sequence, recognition, and quality of numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Some children may be capable of working with the decimal system and fractions at 5 years of age.

Cultural

In this area of the classroom, the children learn about history, geography, and the culture of various parts of the world. The study of various land and water forms and biomes are all fascinating to children at this age. They perform science experiments and extensive reading and writing skills are used in these activities.

Enrichment Program

The weekly Enrichment Programs offer classes in Music, Sign Language, Spanish and Stretch-n-Grow. Children engage in Cooking, Science and Art projects on regular basis.

Extra-curricular Activities

Afternoon activities such as Dance, Soccer, Football and Yoga are offered as a convenience to the parents of Montessori Academy at Westridge.