The practical life area is often a child’s first introduction into a Montessori classroom. The exercises in this area instill care for oneself, other people and the environment. It is a holistic concept that prepares children indirectly for all other areas of the curriculum with order, concentration, control, fine and gross motor skills, as well as consideration and independence.
Exercises in this area are daily routines children have already observed at home: sorting, pouring, food preparation, sweeping, washing dishes, tying and buttoning. Children also learn forms of grace and courtesy such as pushing in chairs quietly, not interrupting others and returning materials to the shelves for the next child to use.
The sensorial area is designed to develop all the senses of the children. Children are encouraged to work with height, weight, depth, color, size, sound, smell, taste, touch and the physical properties of the environment. Sensorial materials help children relate, classify, pair, observe and compare. Early geometry is introduced to the child through their senses as well through geometric solids.
The language area encourages a phonetic approach to learning how to read and write. Children learn that words are made of sounds, every sound has a symbol and every symbol has a unique shape. Children link the sound and symbol while tracing sandpaper letters with their fingers and saying the sound out loud. They then eventually progress to using the movable alphabet to build words and sentences. Exercises in the language area help children build a solid foundation for confidence and independence in reading and writing.
The mathematics area aids children in a hands-on approach to learning the abstract concepts of basic math principles. All materials are concrete and utilize all the senses to further prepare children for later abstractive reasoning. Montessori mathematics focuses on numeration and the decimal system.
The early materials teach the very basics of quantity and symbols. Children learn naturally what 1 to 10 looks and feels like. They can hold and touch the differing quantities and is able to differentiate how one hundred is less than one thousand.
The later materials introduce the decimal system utilizing the bead bar units of tens, hundreds and thousands. Addition and subtraction are introduced as the child progresses and matures in this area.
Culture and Geography
The culture and geography area teaches children concepts of land and water forms through specially designed globes. Children are introduced to continents and specific countries, the people, the cultures and the animals that belong there. They experience their music and art and learn to appreciate and respect for differences. They cook food from that country through nutrition projects and learn what it is like to live in another culture.
The science area gives the children a focus on botany and zoology. Concepts of living and non-living, vertebrae and invertebrate and parts of plants and animals are introduced and investigated through hands-on activities. Children are introduced to metamorphosis of tadpoles and silk worms through actual classroom experiences and observations. Nature walks, collecting leaves, measuring rain and observing the seasonal and weather changes help children understand our environment and the greatness of Mother Nature.