The Montessori Preschool classroom for ages 3 through 6 years old is a “living room” for children. Children choose their work from among the self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves and placed in specific work areas. The Montessori child moves from being undisciplined to self-disciplined, from disordered to ordered, from “distracted” to “focused” through work in the prepared environment. This process occurs through repeated work with materials that captivate the child’s attention. The following five distinct areas constitute the prepared environment:
Practical Life enhances the development of task organization and cognitive order through care of self, care of the environment, exercises of grace and courtesy and coordination of physical movement.
The Senatorial area enables the child to order, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation to length width, temperature, color, mass, pitch, etc.
Mathematics makes use of manipulative materials to enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operation and memorization of basic facts.
Language Arts includes oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics and children’s literature. Basic skills in reading and writing are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet cut-outs and various presentations allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.
Cultural Activities expose the child to basics in geography, history and life sciences. Music, art and movement education are also part of the integrated Montessori cultural curriculum.