( 3 years - 6 years )
Casa de Bambini translates to The Children’s House. A Montessori pre-school classroom is a "living room" comprised of five main areas. The children are presented lessons with activities from among the self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves, and work either on a table or floor space. The outdoor area is an extension of the classroom offering children an opportunity to work responsibly with friends while promoting social growth and development.
Over a period of time children are able to choose work independently and become engaged and focused. The classroom develops into a "normalized community", as children are working with high concentration and few interruptions.
Normalization is the process whereby a child moves from being undisciplined to self-disciplined, disordered to ordered and distracted to focused through work in the environment. The process occurs through repeated work with materials that captivate the child's attention. For some children this inner change may take place quite suddenly, leading to deep concentration.
Practical Life: Activities in this area are placed in a purposeful order (left to right; top to bottom) assisting in the development of fine motor and cognitive skills in preparation to reading and writing. These activities also encourage learning everyday practical skills through care of self, environment, exercises in Grace and Courtesy, and physical movement.
Sensorial: Sensorial exercises are central to the Montessori Method. They allow children to build cognitive skills by exploring materials through seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, and listening. Lessons include ordering materials based on size (thickness, length, color), working with geometric shapes and forms, matching textures, temperature, and weight. Other activities are discriminated by scents, tastes, and sounds.
Language: The Language curriculum includes oral language development, written expression, reading, grammar, creative dramatics, and children's literature. Pre-Reading activities introduce early learners to vocabulary enrichment, rhyming, and story sequencing, leading to phonetic awareness. Pre-Writing materials aim to develop a correct pencil grip and pencil control needed for writing. Basic skills in writing and reading 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.
Math: The basis of the Montessori Math curriculum is to introduce concepts to children in simple activities and then apply them to more complex work. Lessons include the use of concrete materials that allow the child to understand quantities and associate them with the appropriate numeric symbol. Children can experience the four basic math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using golden beads and other concrete materials. This work provides the foundation for abstract reasoning and helps the child develop problem-solving capabilities. Concepts mastered in abstraction leading to memorization of number facts, and operations.
Culture: Activities expose the child to the fundamentals in geography, history, and life sciences. Exciting work with land and water formation, science experiments, and learning life cycles of animals and plants are all part of the Culture area. Music, art, and movement education are also a part of the integrated Cultural curriculum. Children discover their environment around them learning about plants, animals, people, art, music, traditions and food from all regions of the world.
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