Our Montessori Early Childhood classrooms allow the child to learn in a place of beauty, order and rich opportunity. The emphasis on beauty is out of respect for the child’s developing aesthetic sense. Attention to orderly preparation of the environment minimizes the frustration that occurs when things aren’t ready to use or when an adult needs to help. The attractive selection of activities entices the young child to follow her innate drive to develop physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively, creatively and spiritually.
The adults in the Montessori classroom are highly trained to carefully observe and consistently respect children’s individual needs and interests. Development of independence, concentration, coordination and organizational skills are a direct or indirect aim of many of the class activities. Children are encouraged to follow their natural desire for repetition and to ask for lessons on new activities as they feel ready. Those who are less assertive about taking on new challenges are invited often to have a new lesson and are supported as their confidence grows. Daily circle times present opportunities to share verbally; explore literature; experience science and cultural lessons; participate in music, movement and rhythm activities. Outdoor time is another part of each day; children develop important social skills in this atmosphere of unstructured play.
Self-discipline, a natural result
Children are given plenty time to work in the learning areas of their choosing, including practical life, art, sensorial, language and reading, math, geography, history, botany, zoology, and physical science. Teachers try to limit disruption of this work time because the chance to focus is so rarely experienced, but so helpful for a young child’s growth. Visitors are often surprised at the calm atmosphere in the classrooms because they are unaccustomed to seeing children so relaxed and absorbed in what they are doing. The emphasis on respect for people and things that permeates all interactions also helps the children to develop self-control and well-rounded social skills.