The Prepared Environment
The core areas of our prepared environment are Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Art/Music.
The Practical Life area is the cornerstone of the Montessori prepared environment. The exercises of Practical Life include care of self, care of environment, grace and courtesy lessons, and movement activities. These exercises offer your child the basic skills and experiences he/she needs in order to develop optimally and to thrive in the classroom setting.
While the Practical Life exercises may appear mundane to most adults, they are essential for your child’s intellectual development and overall process of self-construction. They are designed to grow the child’s concentration, independence, and control/coordination of movement. Not only that, but these activities will entice your child because they are real and functional. In a Montessori environment, your child does not “play house.” Instead, real cooking and cleaning take place daily. Nevertheless, in performing these tasks, the child’s aim is different than the adult’s aim. The child performs an activity like polishing because the movements are attractive, not simply or ultimately to achieve a spotless surface. For the child, the process is more important than the end result; the effort to perfect one’s movements and to carry out a noble task from beginning to end results in deep satisfaction and joy.
The materials in the Sensorial Area offer your child “keys to the world.” The child from birth through age six is a concrete learner who interacts with and learns from his/her environment through the gateway of the five senses. The Sensorial Area contains materials which your child will use to compare similarities and differences between objects and then to classify and arrange objects based on various criteria. Your child will identify shapes and colors, discern tastes and scents, distinguish volume and pitch, and experience differences in weight, texture, and temperature. In addition, your child will be introduced to the wider world through maps, stories, and photographs that expose him/her to the rich diversity of people and places on our planet. Furthermore, embedded within many of the Sensorial materials are mathematical concepts that will indirectly prepare your child for later work in algebra and geometry. The activities in the Sensorial area not only build your child’s intelligence; they also foster your child’s aesthetic appreciation and sense of wonder.
Dr. Montessori developed techniques that enable children to speak, write, and read with ease, joy, and sophistication. In place of boring worksheets, rote exercises, and banal readers, Dr. Montessori created a host of interactive, kinesthetic exercises that make language come alive! At Grow Montessori School, your child will have the opportunity to develop a rich vocabulary, fine penmanship, fluency in reading, and the ability to express him/herself through writing.
Dr. Montessori designed lessons and exercises to advance the child along the path toward “total reading.” By “total reading,” we mean reading in the fullest sense, not just decoding words. We want children to capture the content, essence, style, and emotion of the author; in other words, to comprehend a text intellectually, as well as emotionally and spiritually. Through songs, conversations, poetry, books, and a host of academic exercises, your child will fall in love with the world of words.
Most traditional approaches to teaching math start with the abstract, offering the child rules and symbols that are detached from life experience. In contrast, Dr. Montessori wanted the child to see math as thoroughly connected to daily life. As a result, she developed an innovative approach to arithmetic that begins by offering the child concrete experiences with materials that provide strong impressions of quantity. Your child works toward memorization and abstraction beginning from a firm foundation of extensive concrete and sensorial experience. At Grow Montessori School, your child will be introduced to the following: numeracy, counting, and nomenclature (1-1000000); the processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; the squaring and cubing of numbers (1-10); memorization of essential math facts for each of the four operations; fractions.
Art & Music
At Grow Montessori School, children have the opportunity to experience art and music throughout the day, every day. From the moment your child steps foot into the classroom, he/she will be surrounded by prints of master works of art representing different periods, styles, and cultures. Your child will also receive presentations on various media, including cutting, painting, drawing, sculpting, collage, and a variety of handicrafts. In regard to music, your child will have the opportunity to read and write music through his/her work with the bells, one of the signature materials in a Montessori environment. Furthermore, through the listening corner, your child will encounter musicians ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington. At Grow Montessori School, we do not interrupt the work cycle with specialists or formal lessons in art or music. Parents wishing to enroll their child in private lessons must arrange these lessons separately, outside of school hours. Please see staff for referrals.