Dr. Maria Montessori observed that the young child has a love of words and sounds! Therefore, she developed a phonetic approach to teaching reading and writing skills. The children use sandpaper letters, the moveable alphabet, nomenclature cards, chalkboards, and many other concrete materials to develop early language skills. Language learning at Ivy Montessori Academies also includes quality children’s literature, unit based studies and opportunities to speak in front of their peers.
The Montessori approach to math is completely different than the traditional workbook approach. Children use concrete material such as number rods, spindles, colored beads, addition-subtraction strip boards and many other materials to learn abstract mathematical concepts. At Ivy Montessori Academy we introduce counting, numerical symbols and the four basic math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division at a very young age. We also introduce fractions, basic geometry and algebra concepts that lay a foundation for higher level math.
The objectives for working through the practical life exercises is to allow the child to gain independence, build attention span and develop hand-eye coordination. From to simpler tasks such as tying shoelaces to harder tasks like buttoning up shirts, Practical Life teaches the child skills they need to thrive in the real world. It helps build their self esteem and confidence.
The sensorial materials allow the children to make comparisons, form judgments and reasoning skills. The child educates his senses with the concrete materials to make comparisons on height, diameter, weight, thickness, length, size, etc. The child’s vocabulary is enriched through the introduction of such terms as large and small, big and little, thick and thin, rough and smooth, prism, cube, etc.The exercises in the sensorial area lead to the study of math. Why? Because each apparatus has ten pieces. This leads the child to an abstract concept of base ten which is the foundation of our math system.
The cultural exercises are the studies of the person and how he relates to his environment. It is divided into three sections: geography, botany and zoology. The study begins with the introduction of globes and terms such as land and water, continents and oceans, followed by the names of the continents. The child furthers his studies with the use of puzzle maps, flags, land forms and classified nomenclature cards. The child is introduced to zoology and botany through the use nomenclature cards, wooden puzzles and concrete models. The activities in the cultural area are endless!
The Reggio Emilia Project Approach:
A project is an in-depth investigation of a topic worth learning more about and is undertaken by the whole class. The key feature of a project is that it is a research effort deliberately focused on finding answers to questions about a topic that is decided by the children with the goal being to learn more about the topic than to just to seek right answers. This provides a great learning opportunity for children for new discoveries and in-depth learning on the topic. The teacher assesses the knowledge about the topic at the beginning and again at the end of the project to determine the level of learning during the project. A photo-journal provides the parents a visual of the project stages.