Montessori is a philosophy of education that was developed by an Italian doctor, Maria Montessori, in the early 1900s.
Montessori classrooms are mixed-age classrooms containing students ages 3 – 6. Dr. Montessori believed that children experience different stages of readiness that create windows of opportunity for learning. She called these stages sensitive periods of learning. Our certified Montessori teachers are specially trained to recognize these periods of learning and respond to them. They utilize uniquely designed Montessori materials that are geared to the size, interest, and sensitive period of each child. They empower children to develop a lifelong love of learning by responding to the child driven interests of the student while facilitating a social community within the classroom.
Each Montessori classroom is divided into five distinct areas. Those areas are: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, and Culture. The individuality of the child is highly prized in Montessori, and children all work at their own pace in each area.
Practical Life lessons are designed to develop independence; they also build concentration and coordination. Many Practical Life lessons are pre-writing and pre-reading lessons as well, developing the pincer grasp and the habit of working from left to right. At Central Florida Preparatory School, the Practical Life lessons in each class reflect the monthly theme. This frequent changing of lessons keeps student interest high.
Sensorial lessons teach children the subtle and not so subtle differences in size, color, shape, texture, sound, smell, and taste. These activities refine the use of the senses and serve as pre-reading and pre-math lessons as students learn the differences between sizes, colors, shapes, and sounds, knowledge that makes learning the differences between quantities and letters (written and heard) more fluent.
Math lessons reinforce the lessons of size introduced in the Sensorial lessons; they also introduce children to the pairing of a quantity with a numeral, which prepares them for the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Children explore place value and arithmetic through the use of specially designed Montessori materials. These materials help children move from the concrete use of materials to the abstract understanding of concepts.
Language lessons take full advantage of the absorbent mind of the child and the sensitive period for reading. In a Montessori classroom, teachers encourage the development of language through the use of precise words for each object, reading aloud, and classroom conversations. In addition, children are introduced to the letter shape and accompanying phonetic sound using specially designed Montessori materials. As children work at their own individual pace, they learn to encode words and read sentences. They also graduate from simple three letter phonetic words to more complex phonograms. Children who experience Montessori for a full three years often emerge as fluent readers who can identify the various parts of speech.
Culture lessons allow children to explore their world. The emphasis of these lessons is on science and social studies. Children use specially designed Montessori materials to learn about land forms, continent names, animals, cultures, life cycles of plants and animals, weather, and the solar system. At Central Florida Preparatory School, the Culture lessons also reflect the monthly themes.
Our Montessori students also have formal instruction each week in the areas of music, computer, art, Spanish, and physical education.
In addition to using the Montessori materials, we vertically team with our elementary teachers and incorporate traditional materials in our kindergarten curriculum. Our Montessori teachers have a “kindergarten break-out” each day. During this time they utilize Weekly Reader magazines, Handwriting Without Tears, Thinking Maps, and Write From The Beginning curriculum to allow the Montessori student a seamless transition into elementary school.