Children in the Sunflower Montessori preschool program possess what Dr. Montessori called the the ability to absorb all aspects of one’s culture and environment without effort or fatigue. These young children are exposed to various lessons found in six main areas of the classroom – Practical Life, Sensorial, Language Arts, Culture, Math, and Art.
As an aid to this period of the child’s self-construction, individual work is encouraged. The following areas of activity cultivate the children’s adaptation and ability to express and think with clarity:
Practical Life exercises instill care for self, for others, and for the environment. Through the Practical Life exercises, the children gain order, coordination, concentration, independence and the will to learn more while completing purposeful daily activities. Activities include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily routine in their home, such as preparing food and washing dishes, along with exercises of grace and courtesy. They learn to work at a task from beginning to end, and develop their powers of control and concentration. In a nutshell? Practical life looks like they are pouring water, but they are getting ready to dive into Math and Reading, with success.
Sensorial materials serve as tools for development. Children build cognitive skills, and learn to order and classify impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical properties of their environment. All of the child’s senses are enhanced and sharpened through the exposure to the Sensorial materials. It is through the isolation of each sense and the work with the Montessori materials that this is made possible.In a nutshell? Sensorial work prepares the senses and entices the children into Math and Language, with a greater understanding of the vastness of their possibilities.
Language development is vital to human development. Throughout the Sunflower Montessori classroom language is heard and expressed constantly. The Montessori environment is rich in oral language opportunities, allowing the child to experience conversations, stories and poetry. The primary teachers take note of each child’s state of language and will then fill the inadequacies and deficiencies, correct mispronunciations and wrong usages of words and will enlarge the vocabulary already learned. The sandpaper letters and moveable alphabet help children link sound and symbol effortlessly, encouraging the development of written expression and reading skills.In a nutshell? Language happens while the kids play, and they learn to read, “All by Myself!”
Culture Studies (Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, and History) are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities. Children learn about people and cultures in other countries with an attitude of respect and admiration. Through familiarity, children come to feel connected to the global human family. Lessons and experiences with nature inspire a reverence for all life. The comprehensive art and music programs give children every opportunity to enjoy a variety of creative activities, as well as gain knowledge of the great masters. In a nutshell? The children have fun, while exploring all that the world has to offer!
Mathematics activities motivate children to learn and understand the concepts of math by manipulating concrete materials. In Montessori, the children work from the visual to intellectual, from the concrete to the abstract. They begin by handling and manipulating “real qualities” in different ways until the abstraction is reached. This work gives children a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles, prepares them for later abstract reasoning, and helps to develop problem-solving capabilities. This joyful process is part of the child’s inner development and creation of him or herself.
Art at Sunflower Montessori School encourages children to constantly be exploring and discovering the beauty of their world. Children are encouraged to contemplate the minute and delicate details of a flower to discover it subtle beauty. The children learn about color and how to mix and create it; How to sweep their paint brush across a canvas or squeeze their fingers into clay. They are encouraged to use art to explore their world. Much of our art is nature based so that the children can better experience the beauty of the world. The children enjoy gardening, painting, dance, music, yoga and pottery.