“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”
Mixing children of different ages is a core principle of a Montessori education. It is only that way that children learn from one another effectively. Young children learn by observing others as models; older children act as role models and (sometimes) teachers of younger children.
In our school, there are three classes with mixed age groups:
- one class for children aged three to six years
- one class for children aged six to nine years
- one class for children aged nine to twelve years
To ensure a sufficiently diverse class experience, each class will ideally have around 30 children. The capacity of the school is at the moment no more than 90 students.
Each class will be guided by teachers with Montessori qualifications and qualified teachers who are also native speakers of English.
Children’s House: Class for Children age three to six
A Montessori classroom is a prepared environment in which children are free to be themselves, and do what they want to do, when they want to do it. The materials for children from three to six years old are designed to meet the sensorial needs of the child to feel, smell, lift, and hear. The Montessori materials are materials of development, not teaching aids. They are designed so children develops themselves through their work.
Practical Life – exercises that help children learn to take care of themselves and their environment, and refine their physical movement; grace and courtesy exercises are also a part of this curriculum
Sensorial – exercises designed to help sharpen a student’s senses
Mathematics – using manipulatives, the child internalizes concepts of number, symbol, sequence and operations
Language Arts – basic skills in writing and reading are developed using sandpaper letters, phonetic sounds, moveable alphabet and various presentations
Cultural Activities – introduces children to basics in geography, history, science, music and art, and cultures different than their own
Primary: six to nine years old and nine to 12 years old
A child nearing six or seven years old is passing beyond the stage when movement and exploration through the senses is a basic need in all learning. The child moves to a more cerebral exploration: he or she wants to explore society and the world, to learn what is right and wrong, to think about meaningful role in society. The child wants to know how everything came to be, the history of the universe, the world, humans and why people behave the way they do. The child asks the big questions and wants answers.
That is why from the ages of six to 12, the main academic work can be done. At the primary level, the overarching Montessori curriculum and the use of each material is tightly structured. It includes:
Geography – the beginning, the nature of elements, sun and earth, air, water, economic geography, nomenclature
Biology/Life Sciences – botany, zoology, ecology
Mathematics – basic math, concepts, properties, numeration, operations, fractions, decimal fractions, negative numbers, power of numbers, word problems, algebra
Geometry – polygons, angles, lines, equivalence, circles, area, solid geometry
Languages – history of language, grammar and syntax, composition of written language, spoken language, literature, style, interpretive reading, research
History – natural history, linear measurement of time, pre-history, written history
The Arts – artistic expression, music
Montessori children pursue their own projects. They get lessons across the curriculum. Books become more important as tools for learning. At that stage, a Montessori school seems more like a miniature and eclectic university research laboratory than a factory.