OUR CHILDREN’S HOUSE MONTESSORI PROGRAM
Our Montessori program in Queensville includes a mixed age prepared environment serves children from 2.5/3 to 6 years of age. During this time of development, children readily absorb all aspects of their environment in a quest to become part of their culture. Children want to learn, they want to be independent and have an effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings.
The classroom environment is specially prepared with Montessori materials that are designed for the presentation and exploration of practical life, refinement of the senses, mathematics, language, and culture. The beauty and order of the materials help remind the child to return them to their place neatly and carefully. They are designed to meet the specific needs of each stage of development and are inviting but not over-stimulating.
The children have the freedom to make choices from a variety of sequentially-designed materials, which aids in their development of responsibility and self-mastery. This environment provides a setting rich in factual and beautiful materials, where the children construct their own intelligence with meaningful and purposeful work.
We provide a child-centered and enriching environment where the children gain independence and self-discipline and learn appropriate skills.
Self-discipline happens when a child is absorbed in their work, especially when that work is purposeful and the child can see the direct relevance to their environment.
The Importance of Movement“The hand is the instruments of man’s intelligence.” - Maria Montessori Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that there are periods of great capacity for optimum development of specific skills. She discovered the senses are attuned to the specific aspects of the environment needed to satisfy the needs of the brain. Movement is an innate need of children. Providing children with opportunities of purposeful movement, repetition and practice will help them develop their gross and fine motor skills, competence, self-esteem, independence and concentration. Movement enhances learning and is a critically important factor in brain development. It also helps with communication, relationships, emotional well-being, development of balance, motor control, eye functioning, hand-eye coordination and perceptual skills. Through movement, children learn how their bodies work and get information from the environment. Movement connects the child with sensorial experiences – and through the senses is how children learn. “Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement, we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.” - Maria Montessori
The Importance of OrderOur goal is to support each child’s intellectual, physical, emotional and social development through active exploration, choice and independent learning. We recognize that by creating beautiful and orderly Montessori prepared environments (classrooms) we support the need of each child to have external order in order to help them create their own internal order. Order is soothing and predictability is calming for a child. Children naturally seek order. They not only find comfort in it, but they also seek it out and even create it themselves. We see this in children’s work in our classrooms — lining up cubes or prisms before they begin, gathering same-color puzzle pieces, matching pairs, and aligning their mat, their material and their tray just-so. When we create and encourage external order in our classrooms, the children can do the more important work — creating their own inner order. This leads to the development of logic, seeing patterns and problem solving. It leads to a calm, cooperative and receptive-to-learning demeanor in the child.
The Importance of LanguageWithin our Montessori environments, language takes an important role in aiding the development of each child’s powers of communication and self-expression. A classroom that is rich in opportunities to develop language skills not only promotes vocabulary development and English language skills. Oral language and listening skills promote the social development of each child through modelling clear and respectful language to others through Montessori’s Grace and Courtesy lessons. The Montessori Language curriculum offers robust opportunities for imaginative exploration of all aspects of literacy – listening, reading, writing and oral expression. Language in the Montessori-prepared environment leads to confident and creative learners with strong self-expression skills and refined sensory perception.
The Importance of Social-Emotional IntelligenceOur Montessori classroom environments are small communities. They contain opportunities for children to learn and play in several different ways: by themselves, in pairs, in small groups, in large groups, inside, outside, at tables and on mats on the floor. The three-year mixed-age grouping allows for the younger students to observe and learn from the older students. In turn, the older students become leaders in the classroom community, guiding the younger students and taking on increased responsibilities such as showing another child how to clean up a spill, or assisting in the preparation of snack. Care and concern for others, responsibility, leadership and other character traits are nurtured and encouraged. This learning approach encourages the development of independence in the child. All objects in the environment are scaled to the child’s size, including furniture, shelves, utensils, dishware, cleaning implements and the Montessori materials themselves. The Directress (teacher) is not the focus of the child’s attention, nor are they the purveyors of knowledge. They are the child’s guide by their side, observing carefully, and providing self-directed learning opportunities, for each child, based on their unique interests and developmental needs. Lessons in Grace and Courtesy are introduced to help each child develop social skills. Learning how to greet one another, how to wait for their turn, how to express their needs and wants effectively, are practiced through role-playing activities and appropriate modeling. Conflict resolution skills are taught and modelled, giving the child the ability to act confidently and pro-socially when conflict arises. The result is a courteous, respectful, self-regulating classroom, in which natural social tensions are resolved mostly by the children themselves.
The Montessori Program
Physically, the Montessori classroom is divided into five curriculum areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Gardening Program and Culture. It is through moving through the classroom and working with materials from these curriculum areas, that a sense of community, cooperation, concentration, independence and character develops in each child – ultimately developing a genuine love towards learning and strong sense self-esteem, confidence and problem-solving skills.
Self-esteem, responsibility and intrinsic love towards learning are not measured on academic or IQ tests and yet they are critical in laying a strong foundation upon which your child’s academic skills will develop. They are the most important outcomes of your child’s early years in education.
Queensville Montessori Academy provides a nurturing learning environment for your child to develop these positive attributes and critical skills.
The Practical Life area is the foundation for all of the areas of the classroom. Practical Life activities such as tying, buttoning, polishing, sweeping, folding, pouring, ironing, washing, caring for plants, etc. will only help the child awaken an intense interest, awareness and individual knowledge about their environment. It will also provide opportunities to develop independence, self-confidence, self-esteem, responsibility, concentration and control and coordination of movement.
Montessori designed specific sensorial materials to support the child`s transition from concrete to abstract thinking to reasoning. These materials represent abstractions and will help the child discriminate sequential variations in size, height, depth, width, shape, colour, while strengthening the muscles used for writing. Through these activities, the child also learns the corresponding language and has the freedom to manipulate and learn from the materials as they are self-correcting.
Language development is vital to human development. The Montessori environment is rich in oral language opportunities, allowing the child to experience conversations, stories and poetry. The sandpaper letters help children link sound and symbol effortlessly, encouraging the development of written expression and reading skills. To further reading development, children are exposed to the study of grammar.
The children have a variety of scientifically designed, developmentally appropriate educational materials designed by Maria Montessori. These hands-on materials enable each child to become familiar with the numbers of the decimal system and the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Children learn solid mathematical concepts and the materials lead them to the abstract so that their understanding has a firm foundation.
Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art and Music are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities. Children learn about people and cultures in other countries with an attitude of respect and admiration. Through familiarity, children come to feel connected to the global human family. Lessons and experiences with nature inspire a reverence for all life. Our comprehensive art and music programs give children every opportunity to enjoy a variety of creative activities, as well as gain knowledge of the great masters.
All children are born naturalists. They are innately connected to and interested in the natural environment that surrounds them. Gardening activities serve several important purposes in the development of the child:
Gardening encourages respect for all living things.
Planning, planting and tending a garden teach the important lessons of nurturing, patience, responsibility and ownership.
Gardening teaches an understanding of the natural cycles of life on our planet and what living things need to survive and thrive.
Gardening helps the child to understand the inter-relatedness of humans with each other and their natural environment. In turn, the children develop an ecological awareness that is important for the continued health of our planet.
Gardening is a purposeful activity that calms and enriches the spirit. By engaging children in gardening activities at a young age, you are helping them become more mindful of what they can do to calm themselves and connect themselves to their spirit. Gardening is mindfulness in action. The garden is where a child can go to find peace. This is extremely important to learn in our fast-paced, ever-changing, and technology-dependent world.
Maria Montessori believed each child needed intimacy with the natural world. Otherwise, she reasoned, how would the senses or the soul or the mind grow? But wonder in itself is not enough; it has to be nurtured by a competent understanding of how nature works.
The Gardening Program at Queensville Montessori Academy nurtures each child’s appreciation and understanding of the natural world and builds ecologically responsible citizens by involving them in the seasonal cycles of planting, harvesting, and sharing the food grown in our organic gardens.