Dedicated to developing the whole child, Little Scholars follows the Montessori Method of education. The Montessori approach is focused on promoting growth in all areas of a child’s development: academic, physical, social and emotional. A variety of daily activities ensures that children’s needs are met during critical learning periods, when they absorb lessons more easily and more quickly than they ever will again.
The Montessori Method is based on the primary research of Maria Montessori, MD, a 20th Century pioneer of modern education philosophy. Working with children who were considered to have “mental problems”, Dr. Montessori developed her own theory that the children simply were not taught what they needed to know when they needed to learn it. Her own experiments with her theory met with phenomenal success. In the process, she discovered that there is a critical learning, or sensitive, period for each level of development and it is crucial for the child to be encouraged rather than discouraged during these periods. The child’s environment is a key element of the Montessori Method. The organization of the classroom, including careful placement of learning materials, is designed to promote and nourish the periods of sensitivity.
Montessori curriculum includes Practical Life, Sensorial, Language arts, Mathematics & Sciences, Arts & Music, and physical activity. Additionally other areas of concentration that support the learning process are incorporated at Little Scholars. This includes field trips, electives, and community events throughout the year.
Practical Life Activities refer to presentations and activities that provide students with opportunities to develop motor skills, confidence in their abilities, develop independence, and learn to create positive peer relationships. An essential area, Practical Life Activities develop real-life skills from basic pouring, spooning, and folding to advanced skills such as food preparation, cooking, and cleaning spills. Lessons and modeling of grace and courtesy are an integral part of the daily routine. This area of education promotes a strong sense of self-esteem, self-control, and self-confidence while expanding concentration and encourages a respect for the environment.
Sensorial, a fundamental area, provides the means for students to explore the world through their senses. Nothing is part of our intellect that did not originate from our senses. The class environment, as a whole, is comprised of patterns, symmetry, and order. The Montessori sensory material aid in refining and verbally defining differences in color, texture, size, weight, shape, and smell. Activities such as grading a series or ten cubes into a Pink Tower, or discovering that two triangles combine to form a square, or learning dimension recognition through the Knobless are introduced through the year. Based on individual experience and age level, students are introduced to more advanced didactic materials of their own choices. Such Sensorial exercises aid in the refinement of the child’s senses, so that they will better serve his intellect and provide a necessary base for further study in math and science.
Young children develop language and vocabulary skills at a rate faster than any other time of their life. Language development begins with speaking, development of vocabulary, and expression of thoughts. Eventually students’ progress into discrimination of shapes, recognition of letters, and phonetic awareness. Lessons including the use of sandpaper letters, letter sounds, and classified pictures are utilized to construct these language skills. Building on this knowledge students become deeply immersed in the world of reading and writing. Lessons using blends and digraphs, long vowel patterns, and commercial books are used to advance a student’s knowledge base. Furthermore, student will understand the mechanics of writing through simple sentence analysis, literary elements, creative writing, and research skills. With every age group, students are encouraged to use their ever-expanding vocabulary and language in small group discussions, large group sharing, and interaction with peers.
Mathematics and Science
The Montessori math curriculum introduces this area of study in a concrete manner. As an introduction, students learn rote counting. Activities such as setting a table for lunch or placing one snack by each chair introduce students to the relationship of number and quantity. Progressively, students may use a sequence of concrete, didactic, materials which enable them to work towards mastery of numeration and quantity through Wooden Numerals, Fraction Skittles, and Bead material for place value. These materials allow all 4 math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) to be introduced in a concrete manner. Science materials allow students to experience a wide variety of study topics through self-discovery, hands-on manipulation, and experiments.