Areas of the Classroom
In our classrooms children work with materials in all the academic social areas including Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language, Science, History, Geography, Music, Art, and Bible. Grace and Courtesy are also a regular part of the day and children learn to work together in a mutually benefitting community.
The Montessori method is more and understanding of how children learn than a curriculum, although we certainly have an extensive curriculum. Dr. Montessori's medical career focused mostly on pediatrics and psychology, and she was a practicing physician, not a teacher, at the University of Rome. Because she was a scientist she placed a great emphasis on observing children and approached education with no pre-conceived ideas. Still, she was considered a leader in the field of early childhood education and mentored various other experts in child psychology and education including Anna Freud, Jean Paget, and Erik Erikson.
Dr. Montessori believed that children have a natural inclination to learn, and through her research she found that when children were put in a setting with their peers where learning opportunities were available, they learned everything from reading and writing to botany without official lessons.
Children are grouped in classes with other children in three year groups, based on the Planes of Development Dr. Montessori observed. In our school we have a Primary class for children just under three years through kindergarten and children in first through 3rd grade are in our Elementary class. No child is the same age developmentally in each academic or emotional area, so the mixed age grouping allows each child to progress at his or her own rate.