3 to 6 years
“The hands are the instrument of man’s intelligence.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Between the ages of three and six years, the child is in the period referred to as the Absorbent Mind. During this time, he literally absorbs everything in his environment through sensorial exploration. By sensorially absorbing the surroundings, a child forms his personality and himself. He constructs his mind: his memory, power to understand, and ability to think through impressions gained from the environment.
In addition to sensorially absorbing his surroundings the primary-aged child is more responsive to certain learning experiences at particular times. Montessori calls these times Sensitive Periods, after which the opportunity for maximizing development is lost. Montessori identified Sensitive Periods for language acquisition, order, detail, sensorial exploration, writing, words, numbers, manners & courtesy and precise movement. The Primary classroom is designed to accommodate the child in each of these areas as he is ready.
By the time a child has reached preschool age, his actions have become purposeful and wilful, and his focus turns to his peers. Exploration of the environment is of the child’s own volition. He explores the people, relationships, and new society of which he has become a member – his school. The child must be allowed to construct his mind in this way, for these are the pillars on which future learning is built.
At FWS, the classroom is designed to appeal to the child. Everything is custom-sized to facilitate the child’s independence and development. Our Montessori teachers link the child to the materials and guide the child toward constructive activity, so that he may gleam from it all that he needs.
The Casa Core Curriculum
The core of the Montessori Pre-Primary Curriculum is made up of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Science, Geography and Art. We also provide Spanish or Arabic language classes as optional programs for our children.
- Daily living tasks, such as pouring juice, polishing shoes, sweeping, and buttoning a shirt are practiced.
- To the child, these are meaningful activities that involve caring for himself, other people, and the environment.
- Activities are designed to help the child concentrate, expand his attention span, and improve hand-eye coordination.
- Materials help isolate a defining quality, such as color, size, sound, texture, or shape.
- They help to develop the child’s visual, auditory, and tactile senses.
- Some materials, such as the binomial cubes, are concrete representations of mathematical concepts that appear in later schooling.
- Materials include objects and pictures to be named, matched, labeled, and classified to aid vocabulary development.
- Textured letters allow the child to feel and see the alphabet.
- The moveable alphabet leads the child towards reading.
- Once the child begins to blend sounds to make words, a variety of materials are available, ranging from simple three-letter, short-vowel words to read, to materials designed to teach long-vowel sounds, phonograms, and parts of speech.
- A wide variety of reading materials are used to gain proficiency and a love of reading.
- Math is a concrete experience in the Montessori classroom.
- The children are constantly manipulating objects in their efforts to understand number concepts.
- The early materials are designed to teach the very basics, such as the quantity and symbols of the numbers one to ten.
- Spindle boxes allow the child to see what “nothing” or zero looks like.
- Moving toward the more advanced materials, bead bars teach concepts ranging from units, tens, hundreds, and thousands, to addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.
- These traditional materials are supplemented with teacher-made games and materials for learning a variety of simple concepts, such as time, money, and fractions.
- Science activities are nature-based.
- Activities include the study of vertebrate and invertebrate animals, a variety of plant types, and environments around the world that support this wide range of flora and fauna.
- Love and respect for all life forms are emphasized.
- Introduction to physical and cultural geography through the use of wooden puzzle maps, activities with objects from other countries, and international celebrations and snacks throughout the year.
- Songs, stories and games are incorporated into daily routines as we “travel” the globe visiting a different continent each month.
- Painting, color mixing, collage, and printmaking are just some of the activities provided to show the care and use of art materials, to encourage creativity, and just to have fun!
- Children participate in a music class once a week.
- The weekly lessons provide an opportunity for singing, movement, listening, exploring musical instruments, and exploring musical concepts.
- Each lesson concludes with a demonstration on a musical instrument.
FWS also implements the “Living Values Education Program” – an internationally renowned curriculum that focuses on teaching children about core values that build character and personality. See our “Enrichment activities” section for more information.