At Kathy b’s Montessori we firmly believe in the Montessori philosophy of promoting independence, intelligence, emotional and social skills in each child in a prepared environment, to ensure that when each child graduates from Kathy b’s they are ready for the next big step in their lives, starting Primary School.
Dr. Maria Montessori believed “children are born with mental powers which aid them in their own development. However, they cannot complete the task of self-construction without purposeful movement, exploration, and discovery of their environment – both the things and people within it. They must be given the freedom to develop physically, intellectually, and spiritually. The “Freedom Within Limits” atmosphere of a Montessori classroom provides an environment which nurtures a sense of order and self-discipline.
At Kathy b’s we pride ourselves in providing the materials and environment which will aid development and to be ready to respond when help is needed.
Practical Life lessons are purposeful activity and help develop motor control, coordination, independence, concentration, and a sense of responsibility. The exercises in practical life cover two main areas of development: care of self, and care of the environment. The purpose and aim of Practical Life is to help the child gain control in the coordination of his movement, and to gain independence and adapt to his / her society. Through Practical Life the child learns about his culture and all about what it is to be human. Lessons include washing our hands, toilet use, putting on our coat, caring for our belongings and our classroom, cleaning our teeth, folding clothes, etc. Practical Life is very important for preparing each child for Primary School and being able to look after themselves and their belongings. It is also a huge favourite with the children as they love being given responsibility to complete tasks that are part of their everyday home life.
Sensorial activities are used in Montessori learning to help children in discrimination and order. They also help broaden and refine a child’s senses. When a child combines Montessori designed materials with Sensorial work, it helps them become more logical, perceptive, and aware. The Sensorial Materials used in the Montessori classroom help the child develop and refine his or her 5 senses, tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory senses. Some of the equipment includes Colour Tablets, Pink Tower, Broad Stair, Red Rods, Coloured Cylinders, Binomial Cube, Geometric Shapes, Mystery Bag, Thermic Tablets, Baric Tablets, Fabric Box and Sound Cylinders. Most of the equipment is wooden and comes in a set of ten.
Like many other materials in the Montessori classroom, Sensorial Materials have what is called “control of error”, meaning that the child not only works with the material, but has a way to check their work rather than seeking out the teacher if they have a question on whether or not they did it right. This is done to help promote independence and problem solving on the part of the child.
Maria Montessori believed that the sensitive period for language begins at birth and continues to about six years of age. Through every conversation, every book read aloud, every new word that is taught, the Montessori student is learning language, and thus, learning to read. Language is treated with the utmost importance in the Montessori classroom. Our teachers start with a phonics-based approach to learning the basics: sounds, vowels, and consonants. This means learning through sight words and sounding out sentences through consistent practice. Some of the materials used include Sandpaper Letters, Large Movable Alphabet, Small Movable Alphabet, Pink Language Series, Blue Language Series, Green Language Series. At Kathy b’s the children also develop language skills through daily Circle Time, Story Time and learning many songs and poems. The children also enjoy learning Basic Sign Language and cúpla focal as gaeilge.
Montessori Maths materials help children approach maths with hands-on, visual, and physical learning aids.
These materials allow children to attach concrete knowledge to the often abstract concepts in maths. As children progress through the Maths curriculum the materials become more abstract. Some Montessori maths materials may look familiar to people with no knowledge of Montessori education, like an abacus or a multiplication table, and others may seem new and different. Montessori education uses a wide array of materials to explore the base-ten number system, and the myriad relationships among numbers. Some of the Mathematics equipment includes Number Rods, Sandpaper Numbers, Cards and Counters, Short Bead Stair, Golden Beads and Small Number Rods. Much of the equipment is wooden and in a set of ten. For example the Number rods are a set of ten wooden rods, the shortest being 10 centimetres long, and increasing by 10 centimetres each time. The number rods make their number of sections apparent by having each 10 centimetre segment alternate between blue and red. These rods introduce students to the concepts of numbers and counting.
The Montessori Culture curriculum provides children with an opportunity to explore the larger world. Cultural Studies also introduces children to the physical world that surrounds them, providing them with the opportunity to explore real things, and learn the scientific names for plants and animals. Some of the Equipment / lessons includes classification cards, science experiments, nature table, nature walks, human body, musical instruments. Kathy b’s hosts a Culture Week every year where parents are invited to come in to the children and talk about their culture, traditions, language, food, etc. Parents are also encouraged to provide phrases for us to hang around the classroom to use with the children and encourage them to learn other languages.
History is the study of the past. It begins with the present and it looks at what has come before. Teaching history in a Montessori means helping children understand the passage of time. It is a difficult concept for children to grasp, but there are many interesting ways we can explore the passage of time in a Montessori environment. One of the best ways to begin the introduction to time and history is to work with The Calendar. The children will learn all about the calendar which is part of our daily routine during circle time, discussing the month, placing the number on the calendar and talking about the weather. The children learn the days of the week song which they sing regularly. We discuss the terms ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’ and ‘yesterday’ and we ask the children if they know what day of the week it will be tomorrow and what day of the week it was yesterday. It takes a while to get this concept at the beginning of the year, but eventually, it begins to makes sense to the children. We also learn about the seasons in Montessori and how to observe, categorise, and integrate the seasons into our daily lessons. The older children then move on to learning about the passage of history. Some of the History lessons include the black timeline, learning about fossils and dinosaurs and the solar system,
Geography is the most all-encompassing subject in the Montessori “cultural curriculum.” It creates the foundation for understanding the oneness of the human family, recognising the basic needs that all people share while appreciating the diversity of how different cultures satisfy those same needs. The focus on physical geography includes learning about the creation of the earth, the nature of the elements, the relationship of the sun and earth and the work of air and water. Some of the equipment used to teach Geography include, Sandpaper Globe, Coloured Globe, Land and Water Forms, Jigsaws of the world, lessons on different flags, Air, land and water jars, Classified Cards, Continent Folders, etc.