Dr. Montessori characterized the young child as possessing an innate ability to absorb information from his or her surroundings. Dr. Montessori named this quality “the absorbent mind.” A sensorial learner, the child soaks up every aspect of the environment, including language and culture.
Dr. Montessori recognized the motto of this young child to be “help me to do it myself.” Development during this period focuses on learning to be independent. The corresponding educational environment, then, should support this natural drive, enabling the child to become competent, and therefore confident.
The Montessori approach embraces the development of the whole individual, addressing his or her physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual aspects.
Practical Life Skills / Daily Living
Practical Life offers our students’ exercises in daily living that serve as a foundation for their development. Although the Practical Life Exercises may seem simple and commonplace, they are actually a very important part of the Montessori program. Each task helps the child to perfect his coordination so that he ill be able to work later with the more intricate academic materials.
No learning takes place without concentration and attention. The child prepares to learn by performing exercises which help him to gradually lengthen the time in which he can focus his attention on a specific activity.
Sensorial / Sensory Motor Skills
The Sensorial Materials in our classroom isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, smell, etc. These help the child to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what he/she already knows. Dr. Montessori believed that this process is the beginning of conscious knowledge.
Language / Math
Our Montessori early childhood classroom is a reach in oral language opportunities–listening to stories or reciting poems, singing and conversing with others. Introduction of the Montessori sandpaper letters connects each spoken sound with its symbol, supporting the development of writing, and, eventually, reading.
Maria Montessori described the mathematical mind as a universal human attribute. During the Pre-school and Elementary years, a sequence of lessons brings the child naturally and gradually to the point of understanding abstract mathematical operations using specific Montessori Math Manipulative. The structure of the decimal system, the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and other key concepts follow the same pattern. Once the students have a firm understanding of the key concepts, children move towards memorization, keeping track of their progress, and work individually and in teams with ongoing support from the teacher to advance their mathematical skills.
Science / Cultural
Our Montessori classroom has beautiful sets of nature cards which illustrate in color such information as the parts of a tree, the parts of a leaf, etc. Working with these cards helps our children to become more observant of the characteristics of things which grow in their own environments. The history of life, both before and after the arrival of humankind, is inextricably linked to other disciplines such as geology, geography, and biology.
The study of history reveals many fascinating connections and inter-dependencies, not only among various cultures but also between people and their impact on the changing physical environment. Lessons begin with theories on the origin of the Universe, where principles of physical science are revealed and then proceed to examine the forces that have acted over the ages to shape the world we inhabit. The relationship of earth, sun, seasons, climate zones are also studied, in conjunction with the economic and political landscape.
Music / Art
Art and music give the children an opportunity for creative and joyful self-expression, as well as experiences with great music and works of art. Research indicates that music stimulates brain development and helps form powerful life-long patterns.
The classical music, animal sounds and childhood melodies that float throughout VERNON HILLS MONTESSORI ACADEMY are a major part of our total child approach.
In Vernon Hills Montessori Academy, children have a great opportunity to learn songs in foreign languages, perform musical plays, and participate in piano and solo singing recitals. We have music lessons every day: music theory(rhythmic games and notes singing) group singing, music and movement, music theater, and private piano and voice lessons.
The Art area includes sequencing activities for drawing, painting, print-making, collage, sketching, and sculpture. Other curriculum areas in the early childhood program include cultural studies, science, history, geography, music, physical movement, and language enrichment.