"The child has a different relation to his environment from ours... the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear." - Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Through exercises of practical life that include care of the person, one another, and the environment, the children expand motor skills, refine coordination, extend concentration, and express their love and respect for their community and classroom. Arranging flowers, pouring juice, and tying shoes are the everyday activities that empower children. Through lessons in grace and courtesy, the guide invites the children to practice thoughtful behavior and good manners. These lively presentations focus the children’s attention on their culture’s conventions of graciousness and civility.
The Montessori guide presents activities with materials isolating a particular sensorial property. The children match, grade, order, or explore by tasting, smelling, touching, listening, or seeing. Through repeating these exercises at will, the children clarify their impressions and refine their senses. Individual parts of materials are related to the classroom at large and discreet sensorial elements are identified in the environment through games. The foundation for cultural subjects is laid with sensorial activities.
Every aspect of the Montessori classroom draws forth language development, and specific materials and exercises refine and extend vocabulary, exhibit grammatical principles and properties, enrich vocabulary, and tune the ear to the beauty, rhythm, and song of the language.
Extensive concrete mathematics materials allow the children to explore concepts and operations to uncover for themselves the underlying principles of basic mathematics. The children’s repeated manipulation of these aesthetically and carefully designed materials builds a firm foundation of concrete experience on which later abstractions can rest.
The introduction to cultural subjects is made as extensions of the sensorial materials and language activities. Art, music, geography, history, botany, zoology, and science are integrated into a holistic approach to living and learning in our human family, on our planetary home across cultures and throughout history. Through nature, story, music, art, and food the guide fosters in the children a reverence and love for all of creation.