In Montessori primary classrooms one will find these areas:
PRACTICAL LIFE exercises involve dressing and undressing, care of self and the environment, promoting coordinated movement. They are designed to foster independence, self control, coordination of the hand and eye and order.
SENSORIAL exercises allow the child to manipulate and classify objects in the environment. All five senses are utilized as the child learns to make finer distinctions in quality and gradation. Blindfolding or closing the eyes help to form mental images on concrete objects, paving the way to abstract thinking. The sensorial materials assist the child in learning to differentiate between sizes, colors, weights, forms, textures, musical sounds, odors and tastes. They help the child organize and give language to sensory experiences they have received since birth.
LANGUAGE instruction begins at age 2 1/2 with vocabulary enrichment. A phonetic approach to reading is incorporated with a sight, sound and touch presentation of the alphabet. Basic reading and writing skills are emphasized at this level. Foreign language is introduced in labeling and book making as well as in cultural studies. Spanish is offered daily as part of our bilingual education. A Spanish speaking assistant is in every classroom speaking only Spanish. Group Spanish is also offered as part of our gathering. Spanish includes group games, vocabulary enrichment, songs, books and finger plays. Sign language is also introduced daily as part of group celebration.
MATHEMATICS is a continuation of the earlier sensorial material integration. The child works from the concrete towards abstraction through repeated sensorial impressions of geometry, relationships of quantity, and the process of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. These muscular impressions are continued in the abstract form at Kindergarten level.
GEOGRAPHY, HISTORY, BOTANY, and SCIENCE lessons provide the children with a store of factual information and impressions of various cultures, land formations, eco-systems and interrelationship of all parts of the earth. Environmental education forms part of the learning experiences both indoors and out. Children have a garden area to take care of in our outdoor courtyard. The children enjoy labeling plants, working in our beautiful garden and visiting the chickens.
ART/MUSIC are introduced as well as movement and art mediums. Art appreciation as well as creative expression and exploration are part of our daily curriculum. Children perform Improv theatre skits on our beautiful outdoor stage. We offer music daily as each of our guides bring a balance of music presentation and skills to the community. A balance of songs from the Montessori curriculum, Musikgarten and multi-cultural songs are incorporated into the program. Musikgarten is a musical journey that teaches children music, movement, duple rhythm sound and solfege.
SPORTS/EXERCISE Classes in sporting activities are encouraged in non-competitive skill building exercises throughout the school year. Theme weeks offer the opportunity to try new sporting activities. We have an authentic sport court where we offer sport camps throughout the summer as well as throughout the school year as part of our after school program. Yoga is also a part of our daily routine.
SNACK TABLE Snacks are a part of practical life and grace and courtesy. Montessori of Alameda serves only healthy snacks made of whole wheat ingredients, organic fruits or vegetables, nothing high in salt, sugar, processed or refined and NUT FREE. Due to the wide range of family preferences we do not serve animal products. Children set and clear the table; practice grace and courtesy, wash and dry the dishes and participate in daily community life. Montessori philosophy sets a pattern for life and love of being and contributing to a family or society. This process helps to build a good citizen by active participation and responsibility starting from birth.