The Practical Life area caters for children's love of being involved in real life experiences, and working with real equipment. This is a very important area of the Montessori classroom as it helps children to enhance, and further develop, many life skills. There are opportunities in the environment for children to experiment, explore and learn real life activities such as food preparation, sweeping, gardening, washing and scrubbing.
The most amazing transformation takes place as children develop their skills and character, as they work with Practical Life activities they love. Concentration, self -esteem, independence, respect, self help, care of the environment and others, emotional awareness, language, mathematical concepts and social skills are all fostered.
Children between 2 ½to 4 ½ years of age develop an inner desire to refine their senses, and this desire does not occur with this intensity at later stages. At this stage children gather information/impressions in a more focussed manner. The specially designed sensorial activities, unique to Montessori environment will boost their refinement of senses. Working with sensorial materials also provides endless opportunities for children to acquire mathematical concepts (including geometry), concentration, independence and skills to regulate their emotions.
Learning language occurs from birth. Through every conversation, every book read aloud, every new word that is taught/ heard, the child is learning language, and thus, learning to read. There are four main aspects of language and they are listening, speaking, reading and writing. Listening and speaking lay foundation for all the forms and they begin from birth. At the preschool stage children are ready to gather impressions/information in a more focussed manner therefore ready to proceed with reading and writing. To begin with, pre-reading activities such as object/picture matching and sorting, object/picture classification, and initial sound games like 'I spy' prepare the children for the Language curriculum. It is phonetic in nature, and games and specially designed materials are available to help make sense of phonetic words, sight words and phonograms (sounds that create from more than one letter, ex 'sh', 'ch''ing').
When children are ready they learn to read and write as naturally as they learn to speak, listen and draw.There are specially design materials (for example, metal insets and sand paper letters) to develop letter formation and writing.
Children have the opportunity to learn and become aware of mathematical concepts from the time they begin at Inspiring Minds Montessori, through being involved in Practical Life activities, the outdoor environment, art area and sensorial activities. As the children develop in the Montessori environment, they ready to encounter more concrete maths activities, using specially designed Maths Materials.All the Math Materials are simple and designed to attract the interest and curiosity of children. These concrete activities help children to explore more abstract thought.Hands on material makes concepts real, and therefore children internalise the concepts with ease. Continuously working through these simple maths activities make abstract and complex math concepts more clear. Children learn counting, quantity, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and the decimal system naturally and with ease.
Environmental/ Science Area:
At this stage children are curious, interested in facts, culture and the environment. Activities in this area help develop an awareness and love of the world round them.
Children at this stage place a greater emphasis on the process than the product.We provide open ended activities to help children explore and use their creativity. There are also 'Skill Builders' that help children develop skills with cutting, colouring, gluing and weaving: these skills help children in their journey of exploring and using their creativity.
The outdoors is an extension of Practical Life activities such as gardening, watering, cleaning, fixing and building. There are also opportunities to develop fine/gross motor skills, upper body strength and balancing skills.
The General Curriculum:
At Inspiring Minds Montessori, we also incorporate other educational approaches, as the children's needs dictate. We are especially keen on the 'project approach', which supports children to explore and extend their interests through long-running projects. There is always something new and exciting to discover.We also follow the national curriculum, Te Whāriki, with its focus on relationships, well-being, and empowerment.