The Montessori materials are scientifically designed to isolate a single concept that the child discovers through working with them. Length, color, shape, size, weight, texture, smell, and sound are all qualities that can be discerned by the pre-school child’s patient work with the varied materials.
Metal Insets, sandpaper letters, movable alphabet, and word building and reading are all keys to language development. After years of scientific observation and analysis, Dr. Montessori came to the conclusion that the time for acquiring the skills of writing and reading was around the 4 to 5 year old period. While not ends in themselves, the acquisition of language opens the doors of learning. And so, the Montessori child does learn to write and read when he is young, and with these tools, the world is at his fingertips through the written word. Foreign language is also explored at a young age.
Working with the number rods, symbol cards, spindle boxes, cards counters, and the famous Montessori Golden Bead materials, the Nursery/Kindergarten child sees and feels quantities and numbers and their relationships. The child’s “hands-on” work with the didactic manipulative materials brings the “abstraction” of mathematics to the “concrete” laying a firm foundation of real learning. Children gain a life long love of advanced work in arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.
Making clay land forms using sensorial maps of continents and physical characteristics as guides allows the Montessori child to explore the geography of his own country and other parts of the world. Flags of many nations are learned with accompanying anthems and stories of those lands. This creates a sense of appreciation for other peoples of the world.
Animal study, including range of habitat, adaptations to the environment, classification of herbivores and carnivores and endangerment of species, are all favorites with Willistown Montessori students.
With his classmates, the three- to six-year-old child experiments with seeds, growing them in and out of light, with and without water. He learns the parts of plants. He has a garden. He takes proper care of classroom plants and learns about various groups of plants. He finds order and the exciting organized evolutionary story of the plant kingdom, just as he does in the study of the animal world.
Youngsters learn songs, not only in their own language, but in that of other countries and cultures. They learn rhythms through games and exercises, pitch through the bells, and gain listening experience and the joy of music through the instruments played and songs sung with classmates.
Recognizing shapes within a picture and using them as a basis for drawing skills, the Montessori child learns to try his hand at creating works of art through the use of various media. Broad strokes in tempera, watercolor and three dimensional representations of master artist are refined and explored. The child models clay, uses things from nature to create designs, and learns how to mix colors visualizing shades and hues of color. As his young muscles develop so does his confidence and interest heightening his appreciation of art. He begins to attempt more intricate moves of the brush or crayon as his eye becomes trained on detail and style of a particular master artist. Some of our favorite prints that decorate the walls range from local artists such Horace Pippin (of West Chester, PA) to those of the classics: Monet, Seurat, and Van Gogh.