Dr. Montessori observed that the young child has a love of words and sounds ! Therefore, she developed a phonetics approach to teaching reading and writing skills. The children use sandpaper letters, the moveable alphabet, nomenclature cards, chalk boards and many other concrete materials to develop early language skills. Language learning at Coppell Creek Montessori also includes quality children's literature, unit based studies and opportunities to speak in front of their peers.
The Montessori approach to math is completely different than the traditional work book approach. Children use concrete material such as number rods, spindles, colored beads, addition-subtraction strip boards and many other materials to learn abstract mathematical concepts. At Coppell Creek Montessori we introduce counting, numerical symbols and the four basic math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We introduce fractions, basic geometry and algebra concepts that lay a foundation for higher level math.
The objectives for working through the practical life exercises is to allow the child to gain independence, build attention span as well as develop hand and eye coordination. Starting from simple things as tying their shoe laces to button up their shirt, Practical life teaches the child skills they need to survive in the real world. It helps build their self esteem and confidence.
The sensorial materials allow the children to make comparisons, form judgments and reasoning skills. The child educates his senses with the concrete materials to make comparisons on height, diameter, weight, thickness, length, size, etc. The child's vocabulary is enriched through the introduction of such terms as large and small, big and little, thick and thin, rough & smooth, prism, cube, etc.The exercises in the sensorial area lead to the study of math. Why? Because each apparatus has ten pieces. This leads the child to an abstract concept of base ten which is the foundation of our math system.
The cultural exercises are the studies of the man and how he relates to his environment. It is divided into three sections: geography, botany and zoology. The study begins with the introduction of globes and terms such as land and water, continents and oceans, followed by the names of the continents. The child furthers his studies with the use of puzzle maps, flags, land forms and classified nomenclature cards. The child is introduced to zoology and botany through the use nomenclature cards, wooden puzzles and concrete models. The activities in the cultural area are endless!
The Reggio Emilia Project Approach:
A project is an in-depth investigation of a topic worth learning more about. The investigation is undertaken by the whole class. The key feature of a project is that it is a research effort deliberately focused on finding answers to questions about a topic that is decided by the children with the goal being to learn more about the topic than to just to seek right answers. This provides a great learning opportunity for children for new discoveries and in-depth learning on the topic. The teacher assesses the knowledge about the topic at the beginning and again at the end of the project to determine the level of learning during the project. A photo-journal provides the parents a visual of the project stages.
The Montessori Teacher
The role of the Montessori teacher also varies from that of a teacher in a more traditional setting. Rather than being strictly an instructor, or a conduit of information, the Montessori teacher is primarily an active observer of the classroom. He or she watches the students carefully as they approach their work, intervening when a child is stuck or seems ready to move onto new material or more challenging work.
The Montessori teacher is able to provide direction and guidance to each child on an individualized basis, enabling each student to work at his or her own pace. Because of the mixed age grouping, the teacher also shares his or her role as educator with the older children in the classroom.
The older students help the younger ones with materials and work that they have already mastered. This process, in turn, helps the older children solidify their own knowledge, as the repetition reinforces the learning process.