The first three years of life are the most fundamental in the development of human beings and their potential. The infant’s physical development is phenomenal and apparent and inspires our care and attention. Yet a profound and less obvious development is taking place within the child. Montessori refers to the child at this period as the spiritual embryo. A second embryonic period occurs after birth during the first three years of life when the child’s intelligence is formed, when the child acquires the culture and language into which he or she is born. It is a period when the core of personality, social being and the essence of spiritual life are developed. An understanding of the child’s development and the development of the human mind allows environments to be prepared to meet the needs of the infant and foster independence, psychomotor development and language acquisition.
The Practical Life component of the Montessori approach is the link between the child’s home environment and the classroom. The child’s desire to seek order and independence finds expression through the use of a variety of materials and activities which support the development of fine motor as well as other learning skills needed to advance to the more complex Montessori equipment. The practical life materials involve the children in precise movements which challenge them to concentrate, to work at their own pace uninterrupted, and to complete a cycle of work which typically results in the feelings of satisfaction and confidence. Practical life encompasses four main areas: Control of Movement, Care of Person, Care of Environment , and Grace and Courtesy.
From an early age children are developing a sense of order and they actively seek to sort, arrange and classify their many experiences. The sensorial component provides a key to the world, a means for a growth in perception, and understanding that forms the basis for abstraction in thought. The sensorial materials give the child experience initially in perceiving distinctions between similar and different things. Later the child learns to grade a set of similar objects that differ in a regular and measurable way from most to least. Each piece of equipment is generally a set of objects which isolate a fundamental quality perceived through the senses such as color, form, dimension, texture, temperature, volume, pitch, weight and taste. Precise language such as loud/soft, long/short, rough/smooth, circle, square, cube and so on is then attached to these sensorial experiences to make the world even more meaningful to the child.
Maria Montessori did not believe that reading, writing, spelling and language should be taught as separate entities. Pre-primary children are immersed in the dynamics of their own language development and the Montessori approach provides a carefully thought-out program to facilitate this process. Oral language acquired since birth is further elaborated and refined through a variety of activities such as songs, games, poems, stories and classified language cards.
Indirect preparation for writing begins with the practical life exercises and sensorial training. Muscular movement and fine motor skills are developed along with the ability of the child to distinguish the sounds which make up language. With this spoken language background the directress begins to present the alphabet symbols to the child. Not only can children hear and see sounds but they can feel them by tracing the sandpaper letters. When a number of letters have been learned the movable alphabet is introduced. These cardboard or wooden letters enable the child to reproduce his or her own words, then phrases, sentences and finally stories. Creativity is encouraged and the child grows in appreciation of the mystery and power of language. Other materials follow which present the intricacies of non-phonetic spelling and grammar. Because children know what they have written, they soon discover they can read back their stories. Reading books both to themselves and others soon follows.
Mathematics is a way of looking at the world, a language for understanding and expressing measurable relationships inherent in our experience. A child is led to abstract ideas and relationships by dealing with the concrete. The child’s mind has already been awakened to mathematical ideas through the sensorial experiences. The child has seen the distinctions of distance, dimension, graduation, identity, similarity and sequence and will now be introduced to the functions and operations of numbers. Geometry, algebra and arithmetic are connected in the Montessori method as they are in life. For instance the golden bead material highlights the numerical, geometrical and dimensional relationships within the decimal system. Through concrete material the child learns to add, subtract, multiply and divide and gradually comes to understand many abstract mathematical concepts with ease and joy.
The academics and the teachers genuinely care for the students. I have attending parties outside of the school and the teachers were still attending to my child even though they were not on duty. Thanks for nurturing my child’s spirit and mind these past 5 years.
The school staff is some of the nicest people who you can tell genuinely care for your child. Their greatest strengths are their flexibility, friendliness, and can do attitude. and the way that teacher takes care of their students.
Ms. Kiki LaMadrid is one of your strongest assets. She is a wonderful teacher and she makes my child feel loved and comfortable. I can go to work everyday knowing that my child is with a great teacher and I am very appreciative of that.
Without a doubt, it is very evident that MSSL’s number one priority are the students. I’m always amazed each week when my daughter tells me in great detail something new she learned; things that I thought she wouldn’t learn until much later. The love of learning that MSSL has instilled in her makes helping with homework time a blast! There are always new efforts to either improve the quality of the school itself or continue to build upon existing student/parent engagement. The spirit nights have been great ways to encourage a family feel by allowing the students and parents to socialize in good clean fun.
Thanks for teaching our daughter independence.
The academics, well-rounded curriculum, calm, “at-home” loving atmosphere, the additional classes such as reading, music, physical fitness. I am also impressed with the positive manner in which the teachers communicate with the children vs raising their voices toward them. This creates a calmer atmosphere that is more conducive to learning and being comfortable in their surroundings. This is very important to me. I feel that all my childrens’ teachers are sincere and loving towards them and truly care for their well-being. I even like the fact that staff from other classrooms know my childrens’ names and communicate with them as well.