The Curriculum. Greenwood Montessori School's curriculum guides children through hands-on activities that develop a life-long love of learning. Independence, concentration, coordination, respect, a sense of order and problem-solving skills form the foundation. Math, reading, science, art, music and movement, communication, social, emotional and physical development excel once this foundation has been laid. The three-strand curriculum of (1) practical life skills (motor and social development), (2) sensory skills (refinement of the five senses) and (3) academic skills (math, read, writing, science, geography, etc.) provide for a unique educational balance and allow each child endless opportunities for self-education. To view our year-long thematic Curriculum Outline, click here.
Practical Life. The Practical Life area is the hub of the classroom. The activities within are designed to develop a child’s coordination and independence, build the dexterity of the wrist and enhance the pencil grip...all leading up to writing! Through repeated use of activities such as spooning, pouring, twisting, squeezing and sewing, a child works toward mastery of these skills. Materials also focus on care of the person, care of the environment and grace and courtesy. A sense of order and concentration is promoted through the use of materials in this area.
Sensorial. The goal of the Sensorial curriculum is for the child to become an acute observer and to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world around him. This is done by offering the child beautifully designed materials that isolate concepts of size, color, form, touch, taste, weight, temperature, etc. Each of the human senses is called upon in isolation, thus helping to refine the child’s acuity. The materials begin with simple activities such as matching colors that are the same, building towers of cubes by using the ability to visually discriminate the various sizes of the cubes, and learning the names of geometric figures. The Sensorial curriculum is rich in discovery, manipulation and language enrichment.
Language. Dr. Montessori saw the road to reading as a dual path that involved the education of the hand and the education of the mind. Building upon language skills such as listening, understanding and basic speech patterns which s/he has previously acquired, the child moves on to hear and analyze both the sounds and the meaning of language. By using language in the classroom through listening, storytelling, reading and dramatic play, a child develops a love of literature, good communication skills and a strong self-esteem. Materials throughout the classroom offer the child many opportunities to develop the refinement of the hand by calling for careful attention to detail and the use of small muscles. Fine motor coordination is also enhanced through manipulating writing instruments, cutting, drawing, writing and opportunities for creative, artistic expression.
Mathematics. In the Montessori Mathematics area, the child is introduced to math concepts and experiences using concrete materials in the environment. Different from traditional mathematics instruction, the abstractions are introduced through sensorial, manipulative experiences that call for the child to order, discriminate, distinguish, make judgments and problem solve. Dr. Montessori designed beautiful, yet simple materials for her Math curriculum. Each material was designed to isolate one concept. The isolated concepts build on one another throughout the curriculum to develop and expand the child’s mathematical understanding and experience.
Science & Geography. The Science & Geography Areas of the classroom are rich in culture and information. Subjects such as Air, Land & Water; the Human Body, the Solar System, Dinosaurs and Lifecycles of a Seed, Bird, Frog and Butterfly are just some of the fascinating topics introduced. Through the use of the materials in the Geography Area, the children are given a view of the world around them by being introduced to the different continents and their various countries...offering them a glimpse at the customs, cultures and languages of other children all around the world.
Art & Music. Art is everywhere in the Montessori classroom. Children can explore with outlines and colors when the Metal Insets in the Language area. Images of famous artwork hang along the classroom walls, and books that highlight the lives and works of famous artists are plentiful. Self-expression and creativity are encouraged in the Montessori Art area, with a focus more on the process than the finished piece. Art activities not only nurture children's creativity but also help to increase their dexterity, concentration, fine motor skills, hand and finger strength and coordination. Filled with appropriate, open-ended materials, the Art area presents children with endless opportunities to use their imaginations and create and learn something new every day! Music is an integral part of our classroom life. It is incorporated daily through song, dance, sound exploration and activities that introduce children to musical instruments and famous composers. The Montessori music curriculum increases children's understanding and enjoyment of music and nurtures their ability to express themselves through music.
The Teacher. The real teacher in the Montessori classroom is the child himself/herself. It is the child who leads the way, revealing what s/he most needs to work on. With this in mind, the Montessori teacher operates much differently than the traditional teacher. Rather than setting goals and timed schedules for the children, and using rewards and punishments to influence them to conform, she instead familiarizes herself with the needs of the children through observation. She then becomes aware of the direction in which the child wants to go - seeking ways to help - but never infringing upon the child's freedom to make his/her own discoveries.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.' "