“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”
- Maria Montessori
When children come into the world, their first function is to adapt to their environment and therefore the environment must first be prepared for the child.
The Exercises of Practical Life are the foundation of a Montessori environment; provide a complete range of activities which allows the children to develop control and coordination of movement, awareness of their environment, orderly thought patterns, independent work habits and responsibility. These characteristics can only be attained by spontaneous, purposeful work.
The Exercises are grouped under the following headings:
§ Preliminary Exercises, Care of the Environment, Care of the Person, Grace and Courtesy and Movement.
The specialist Montessori materials are all adapted to the child’s size, interests and capabilities.
These specially designed materials are simple in appearance and totally satisfying to the developing child. They are concerned with the development and refinement of the five senses, thereby sharpening the child’s intellect and control. The materials are designed to reflect the principle of both the child’s hand and mind.
The Sensorial Materials are mathematically graded, isolating one quality only and keeping the remaining characteristics identical. They all have a built-in control of error. These materials allow for individual work and repetition which make it possible for the child to abstract the concept made concrete in each piece of material, to name it and then apply it to the environment.
Due to the clarity of these concepts abstracted, the Sensorial Materials lay a solid foundation for Mathematics, Geometry, Geography, Botany, Art and Music.
Children learn to write and read spontaneously after working with very simple materials: the Sandpaper Letters which give them the shape of the letters; the Moveable Alphabet which allows them to arrange these letters to form words; and the Metal Insets which make it possible for the children to control a writing instrument. The phonic approach to reading is used.
The Montessori Language Materials provide the keys to the fascinating world of language and are highly effective in their simplicity.
The Montessori Mathematics Materials give the children a sensorial experience of the abstraction that is mathematics, allowing them to store concepts so that when the time comes to deal exclusively in abstract terms, the understanding is already there.
Every piece of mathematical material isolates one concept and these isolated concepts come together to form the basis for a further step in the development of the child’s mathematical understanding.
The Exercises of Practical Life have given the child an indirect preparation for mathematics, having developed logical and sequential thought patterns. The Sensorial Materials too have indirectly prepared the child by the mathematical order that is inherent in the Sensorial Materials.
The young child absorbs all the elements of the world around him/her. The Montessori Botany materials include basic leaf shapes, parts of the leaves, parts of the plant, parts of the flowers and so help to classify and refine the child’s perception.
With the Montessori Geography Materials, the child is given the facts of his physical world.
In addition to the Montessori Curriculum, Little Sponges is committed to and delivers, the EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is made up of three PRIME and four SPECIFIC areas of Learning and Development, which are all connected to one another and equally important. These areas are underpinned by the Principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The PRIME AND SPECIFIC areas of Learning and Development are:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
The developmental progress of each child is charted and recorded through regular evaluations and Individual Observations in all areas of learning at LITTLE SPONGES ~ Montessori At Home.