The program is designed to help the child to develop concentration, coordination, inner discipline, and good working habits. As the child grows to self-discipline, he/she is allowed greater and greater freedom to move about the environment and work with whatever materials he/she chooses, provided they are appropriate to the child’s developmental level and that they are used in a constructive way.
The children in our classroom learn by doing; they pursue their tasks independently either in a group or alone. Our teaching staff acts as a guide and a stimulus to their never-ending curiosity. Montessori materials are designed to be self- correcting, which encourages independent problem solving and eliminates the correctional, disciplinary role of the traditional teacher. Our teaching staff and students are fast friends with a healthy respect for one another.
The Ray Jacobs Montessori environment is a highly social one in which the children are continually interacting with and caring for each other. They are proud of their environment because they are directly involved with caring for it and contributing to it. There is a deal of material available to them concerning plants and animals throughout the world. Artists and musicians are represented through reproductions and recordings of their works, and children enter the world of the arts through participation in arts and crafts and musical activities.
The materials in our classroom are divided into five main areas. Activity with these materials involves physical and mental action, linking body and mind.
1. Practical life exercises: such as pouring, grating, polishing, sorting washing, buttoning etc. Help the child learn to function in his own environment and preliminary to more advanced learning. The child develops an attention to details, a lengthened span of concentration through the successful completion of these basic exercises.
2. Sensorial activities: are designed to isolate and sharpen each of the five senses. Grading and comparing sounds, sizes, colors, textures and shapes help organize the impressions a child receives.
3. Language Materials: are presented individually to take advantage of the greatest interest on the part of the child. Children are taught the sound and formation of the letters. Kinesthetically through the use of sand-paper letters and similar materials. Word building activities of increasing difficulty are done over a long period of time.
4. Mathematical concepts: are presented through extensive use of concrete materials. The child’s sensorial training enables him/her to identify and differentiate the idea of quantity that is built into the Montessori materials. The child gains the conception of numbers and their application on arithmetical operations.
5. Geography, social study, botany, zoology, science, music and grammar are introduced through the use of concrete materials.
The primary goals of the Montessori Method are:
1. To promote to the growth of a positive self-image in each child and satisfaction about him/herself, which is the key to the development of a person’s full potential.
2. To promote feelings of enthusiasm and responsibility about one’s world.
3. To create an awareness of one’s own feelings and sensitivity to the feelings of others.
4. To encourage the natural desire, ability, self-discipline, and independence inherent in learning.
5. To ensure mastery of the basic skills required to pursue knowledge.
6. To teach physical coordination and control.
7. To develop the ability to concentrate and to attend to details.
8. To develop a sense of order.
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