Children in MASB’s primary program have, what Dr. Montessori considered, the ability to absorb all aspects of one’s culture and environment effortlessly. MASB’s primary classroom provides a prepared environment where children ages three to six years are free to respond to their natural curiosity and desire to learn and grow.
Children receive individualized instruction from their teachers allowing them to go as far and as fast as they desire in each subject area. Multi-age classrooms allow children to learn from and to mentor other students, an essential principle of Montessori education; younger children learn from the older children and the older children get to reinforce what they’ve learned by helping the younger children. Teachers act as “guides” linking together all areas of study and directing each student’s focus toward learning necessary skills.
Through hands-on Montessori materials, children gain a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of math, geography, science, language, and art. The primary classroom consists of several types of exercises designed to cultivate adaptation and the children’s ability to think and express themselves with clarity. They include:
Practical Life exercises help to bridge the gap between home and the classroom as the child observes exercises that grownups demonstrate repeatedly in daily life. The different groups of practical life exercises include:
Care of the person – The child participates in exercises that help him become independent in activities including getting dressed/undressed, taking care of his body, washing, bathing, or combing his hair, or things that concern his own person.
Care of the environment – This consists of activities such as ironing, washing, gardening, sweeping, polishing, etc.
Developing social relations – Greetings, offerings, accepting, apologizing, and thanking; these are what we commonly call grace and courtesies.
Control of movement – These activities help the child develop a sense of control and balance of his entire body.
These exercises allow children to engage their sense of sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste to help them distinguish, categorize and relate new information to what they have absorbed since birth.
In the Montessori classroom, the individual presentation of language materials allows the teacher to take advantage of each child’s greatest periods of interest. Before children learn the alphabetical names in order, they learn the phonetic sounds of the letters. These sounds are given first because these are the sounds they hear in words they need to be able to read.
The math area contains concrete materials to represent all types of quantities. Children can combine this equipment, separate it, share it, count it, and compare it to demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of mathematics. In the classroom there are many materials that can be used for counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
The Cultural Subjects include geography, history, science and nature, music, and art. Each of these areas has its own exercises and accompanying materials, with some overlapping from one area to the next.
In Geography, children use wooden puzzle maps as puzzles in the beginning then they begin to learn the names of the countries and information about climate, products, customs, food, music, language, and animals.
In History, the children work with time lines and pictures from the past and present. They may begin by making a time line of their own lives, starting with when they were babies.
In Science and Nature, the natural curiosity is stimulated through discovery projects and experiments. The children study the plant and animal kingdoms in an orderly fashion to cultivate a love and appreciation for all living things.
Music is used on a daily basis through singing songs. The children also have opportunities to listen to different types of music and learn about famous composers.
In Art, children have the freedom to explore their imaginations in a variety of mediums including coloring, cutting, pasting, drawing, painting, and sewing, with exercises set up in a natural progression from start to finish as the child works with them independently.
“Growth is not merely a harmonious increase in size, but a transformation.” – Dr. Maria Montessori