The City Garden Montessori Primary Program

The Montessori preschool classroom is a “living room” for children. Children choose their work from among self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves and they work in specific work areas. Over a period of time, the children develop into a “normalized community”, working with high concentration and few interruptions. Normalization is the process whereby a child moves from being undisciplined to self-disciplined, from disorderd to ordered, from distracted to focused, through work in the environment. The process occurs through repeated work with materials that captivate the child’s attention. For some children this inner change may take place quite suddenly, leading to deep concentration. The individualized approach of Montessori is so conducive to learning because it capitalizes on each child’s interests and optimizes motivation. In the Montessori preschool, academic competency is a means to an end and the manipulatives are viewed as “materials for development.”

In the Montessori preschool, five distinct areas constitute the prepared environment:

  • Practical life enhances the development of hand-eye coordination, gross motor, control and cognitive order through care of self, care of the environment, development of social relations and coordination of physical movement.
  • The sensorial area enables the child to order, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass, color, etc.
  • Mathematics makes use of the manipulative materials to enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations and memorizations of basic facts.
  • Language arts include oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics and children’s literature. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet cutouts and various presentations, allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.
  • Cultural activities expose the child to basics in geography, history, life sciences, and earth sciences. Music, art, and movement education are part of the integrated cultural curriculum.