The Montessori classroom and environment is prepared to facilitate the independent learning process. The class is a mixed age group of 3 to 6 years of age for social interaction. The materials, designed by Dr. Maria Montessori, satisfy the natural tendency for children to be self-learners. The Montessori materials are arranged on open shelves, so children can choose the materials they would like to use and work as long as they have the interest. After they have finished working, they return the materials to the shelf where they came from. The lessons are given by a trained Montessori teacher using the materials. Children are then free to explore and observe. An emphasis is placed on the process rather than the product of learning. The goal in a Montessori education at this stage is to develop a love of work and a joy of learning. Self-discipline, self-esteem, concentration, responsibility, creativity and social skills are developed through a process called 'Normalization'.
There are 5 key activities in Montessori curriculum as follows.
Practical Life: These activities help children develop control and movement, sequencing and concentration through inviting and purposeful work.
Sensorial Skill: Sensorial activities help the child classify things in his environment using his sense. The refinement of the sense attained from the activities is the first steps toward the child intelligence.
Language: The activities prepare the child for English communication, including alphabet recognition, reading, writing, speaking and grammar.
Math: By using manipulative materials, children learn to the concept of numbers, symbols, sequences, operations and memorization of basic facts.
Culture: This includes Science, Geography, Second Language, Arts & Craft, Music and Yoga.
Cosmic education is the fundamental of the elementary curriculum. The heart of cosmic education is the Five Great Lessons which unify the elementary curriculum. The Five Great Lessons are a series of exciting stories told and presented to children between 6 to 9 years of age to awaken their imagination and curiosity. The stories provide children with the framework of knowledge, starting with the biggest framework of the Universe. The goal of cosmic education is to make children aware of interdependency and connectivity of everything, and their roles in the Universe.
The Five Great Lessons are
The Story of the Universe
Life Comes to Earth
The Coming of Humans
The Story of Writing (or Language)
The Story of Numbers (Mathematics)
Montessori Elementary Education
President Wilson's daughter was trained as a Montessori teacher. During his Presidency, there was a Montessori classroom in the basement of the White House.