The curriculum that we follow at Modderfontein Montessori is the SAMA adapted AMI curriculum. This encompasses the follows the Montessori method closely, which houses the following foundational elements:
The Practical life area forms a strong foundation for Montessori education. This is where a child gains control of their fine-motor skills, concentration, self-confidence at the same time as developing a love of learning. Objects used in this area mimic those found in everyday life, and activities are designed for children to be able to master them comfortably.
There are five areas of activity:
- Preliminary exercise (carrying a tray)
- Elementary exercise (spooning)
- Applied exercises (watering plants)
- Grace and Courtesy (manners)
- Control of movement (silence game)
This area also exposes children to fundamental activities that they will encounter through into adulthood.
The Sensorial area allows children to become aware of the finer details in everyday life that can often be missed. Each Sensorial activity focuses on one important quality such as:
Sensorial activities develop, order, refine and broaden the senses, allowing children to enhance their perception for distinguishing different qualities and small differences in patterns. At the same time, fine motor function in the hands is also developed. The Sensorial area builds levels of concentration for a wider awakening of the senses and perception.
The Mathematics area uses concrete materials to help children recognise numbers and quantities. Using activities designed for the area, children learn exactly what value a number stands for. Mathematics activities are divided into six categories:
- Decimal system
- Memory work
- Concrete abstraction
- Arithmetic tables
As and when they’re ready, children will be introduced to more complex activities.
Using phonetic sounds and phonetic awareness activities, children develop their early-literacy skills in the Language area. This builds on their literary foundation and improves the child’s vocabulary, listening skills and the ability to differentiate between sounds, objects and pictures. Activities in this area include:
- Learning the shapes and sounds of letters
- Practicing fine motor skills by writing
- Vocabulary development
- Word building
- Reading development
- Practicing parts of grammar
- Creating sentences
- Reading silently
In the Cultural area, children learn about the following subjects:
- Geography – helps them understand their culture and others
- Zoology – introduces animals, where they live, what they eat, how they grow and their eco-systems
- Botany – children learn about plants and nature appreciation
- Science – allows children to observe and experiment
- Art and music – allow children the freedom to express themselves
This area gives children the chance to explore the world and different worldly ideas.
Through Cultural learning, children develop their cognitive, social and emotional skills constructively.
Does this sound like the manner in which you want your child to learn?
About Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was alive from 31 August 1870 – 6 May 1952, and in that time, she revolutionised the school of thought surrounding children’s education. She was born in Italy and became the country’s first woman doctor. She had extensive training in psychology, physiology and neurology. She understood the importance of childhood and how children need to be appropriately nurtured during this time in order to become decent human beings that contribute positively towards daily existence.
She had an affinity for children and for enhancing their potential, which is what led her to transition from medicine to the field of education. Her initial work was within asylums helping neurologically damaged children. By 1901 she was confident that her teaching methods and exercises could be used with “normal” children.
Maria Montessori had incredible insight into children and their capabilities and place in this world. She realised that each and every child has such vast potential and possibility within them, and that they simply hadn’t been afforded the rights that they should have within society. She wanted to ensure that this was maximised through their pre-school education.
In 1909, the first Montessori Training Course was given and private schools began to pop up all over Italy. Maria Montessori travelled and lectured, spreading the word of her training all over the world, specifically in England, Spain, Australia, Holland and America.
The need for classrooms to be a prepared environment was important to Maria as she felt that this maximised the child’s creativity and development. This offered children the freedom to choose which activities they want to work on at their own personal levels. This initiates the feeling of self-mastery, as well as joy in work.
This is visible in today’s Montessori classroom and at Modderfontein Montessori.
Maria Montessori was nominated three times for a Nobel Peace Prize. In 1950 she became the Italian delegate to UNESCO.