The education program for the Early Childhood level at Montessori East is distinguished by a core curriculum where each child acquires and applies a breadth of skills during a three- year learning cycle. Well-planned lessons are presented in a carefully prepared educational environment filled with specifically designed, age-appropriate materials. The trained, skilled teacher creates opportunities for individual children in a mixed-age community. The children learn and achieve at a rate which meets their particular needs and allows their talents to emerge.
The Practical Life area responds to the child’s great interest in becoming independent. The activities in this area may include tasks such as cleaning, and food preparation that the children see as part of daily routine in their home as well as lessons in social graces and courtesy. The materials challenge them to work at their own uninterrupted pace, to concentrate and to complete a cycle of work which gives them a feeling of satisfaction and confidence. Practical life encompasses four main areas: Control of Movement, Care of Person, Care of the Environment and Grace & Courtesy.
Sensorial exercises promote the development of the senses and the building of skills in discrimination. Children develop cognitive skills by learning to order and classify their impressions through activities in touch, sight, taste, smell, listening and exploring the physical properties of their environment. The Sensorial Materials are archetypal Montessori materials; colourful, textured and exciting to the children’s senses. They include the pink tower, red rods, bells and coloured tablets. They are tools for intellectual development, as children use the sensorial materials to explore the physical properties of their environment. These exercises become the basis for reading and writing and the study of mathematics, science, language, music and art. The activities and materials allow for repetition and correction, Dr Montessori observed that children who learn in this way, develop an emotional and social maturity not normally expected of young children.
The Montessori language materials (such as sandpaper letters, moveable alphabet, metal insets) lead children effortlessly to writing and reading. The Montessori activities build skills in sound discrimination, prepare the hand for writing, encourage the development of written expression and lay a foundation of phonetic skills that prepare the child for reading.
Montessori mathematical materials introduce children to mathematical concepts in a concrete form. Working with precise materials such as number rods, golden beads, and the chain cabinet, the children learn the decimal system, quantity and value, building a secure foundation for future abstract concepts and problem solving in mathematics.
Children are introduced to a range of cultural subjects through especially prepared extensions to the sensorial and language materials. The use of storytelling and visual material such as maps, flags, timelines and materials depicting the animal world and the natural environment, extends the children’s experience into cultural areas including geography, biology, history, art and science. Through these studies children learn to respect and appreciate their culture, country and natural environment, and those of others, instilling qualities such as empathy and tolerance.