Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Early Childhood Montessori Program

Mrs. Kathryn Miller's EC Montessori Classroom
 The Innovative School

The Early Childhood program includes children 3 through 6 years of age. This is the age of development of one’s own independence, mastery of one’s own environment, as well as emerging awareness of social grace and courtesy.

Upon entering a Montessori three to six classroom environment, you immediately notice the small size of the furniture, the low elevation of the shelves, and the sense of accessibility of the child to their environment. This was the plan of Dr. Montessori–to prepare the environment to meet the physical needs of the child. To the unenlightened, the environment may appear home-like with glass pitchers, bowls, brooms, aprons, and the like. Upon closer inspection, one begins to observe a beauty in the environment with plants, art, animals and music. Then emerges a subtle awareness of geometric shapes, numerals, letters, beautiful maps, colorful beads, and books. What evolves in the observer is an awareness of a carefully prepared environment that engages the young child. It is inviting and appealing, creating a desire to explore and learn.

The outcome of such an environment, paired with the well-trained, educated and credentialed Montessori teacher, is a learning experience developed to meet the needs of the child. Current brain research shows us that real learning occurs when the hand is in use, when the learner is happy and feels safe, and when movement is involved. Children observed in a Montessori classroom are engaged in activities that best suit their own individual developmental needs.