The Montessori curriculum is divided into five main areas of study.
If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate them into those kinds of activities, which they can perform themselves. We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of an education for independence.
– Dr Maria Montessori
Practical Life exercises aid the child’s natural interest in real life activities. They help develop physical coordination, care of self and care of environment. They are instrumental in the normalization of the child. The activities include, scooping, pouring, buttoning etc.
The senses are gateways to intelligence. There is nothing in the intellect, which was not first in the senses.
Using the five basic senses i.e. visual, tactile, auditory, gustatory(taste) and olfactory(smell) senses and additional senses like baric (sense of weight), thermic (sense of temperature) and stereognostic (sense of shape and size of an object by holding it with hands) the child explores all the dimensions of an object. These materials allow for individual work and repetition and help children classify their sensorial impressions in an organized, orderly and scientific manner. The sensorial material lays the foundation for future language and mathematic work.
There is nothing more mysterious than the underlying reality that to do anything, men must come together in agreement and to that they must use language, this most abstract instrument.
– Dr Maria Montessori
The Montessori language curriculum is based on phonics and is introduced with the belief that writing comes before reading.
The sandpaper letters are used to teach the sounds of alphabets rather than the names and a unique scheme of phonetic to phonogram sequence is followed to teach literacy.
That the mathematical mind is active from the first, becomes apparent not only from the attraction that exactitude exerts on every action the child performs, but we see it also in the fact that the little child’s need for order is one of the most powerful incentives to dominate his early life.
– Dr Maria Montessori
The maths material is very exhaustive and goes from concrete to abstract very slowly and deliberately. The decimal system is introduced using the ‘Golden Bead’ material which is completely concrete. Once children are comfortable making concrete calculations, they proceed to abstract mental calculation in their minds.
As a child, young Aleck Bell displayed a natural curiosity about his world, resulting in gathering botanical specimens as well as experimenting even at an early age. His best friend was Ben Herdman, a neighbor whose family operated a flour mill, the scene of many forays. When their typical child’s play had caused a racket one day, John Herdman admonished the two boys, “Why don’t you do something useful?” Young Aleck asked what needed to be done at the mill. He was told wheat had to be dehusked through a laborious process and at the age of 12, Bell built a homemade device that combined rotating paddles with sets of nail brushes, creating a simple dehusking machine that was put into operation and used steadily for a number of years. In return, John Herdman gave both boys the run of a small workshop within which to “invent”.
– Source Wikipedia
Children are inherently curious and the Cultural area provides them with immense opportunity to satisfy their profound curiosity. They learn Science, Biology, Geography and the History of life. In science children learn about experiments. In Zoology and Botany they learn about the animal kingdom and plant kingdom respectively. They learn about gardening and how to protect their environment. In geography they learn about land, air and water, the seven continents and the oceans. They learn about their geographic location in the world, the different countries, and cultures of our world. In history they understand the beginnings of life on earth and the eras that followed.