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More on the Montessori Method



Language encompasses the Nido environment, as all areas prepare children for speaking, writing, and reading.  In the Montessori classroom language development starts from the concrete and progresses to the abstract.  Thus, a lot of real objects, replicas and miniatures comprise the language area.  Picture/Matching cards are also used to help bridge the gap between the real and representations of objects.  Picture cards and books are also available to enrich vocabulary.


The Practical Life area is particularly emphasized in the Nido environment as children are naturally interested in activities they have witnessed.  Children are given the chance to develop skills to care for themselves and their environment.  Activities are simple and can be accomplished by each child.  In the beginning, the toddlers need a lot of assistance but with repeated successes, self-esteem and confidence are developed.

Exercises include, putting on shoes, combing hair, washing hands, wiping their nose, feeding themselves, setting the table for snack, wiping and washing the table, cleaning windows, polishing the mirror, watering plants, flower arranging and food preparation.


Within the Montessori curriculum, teachers constantly use music to communicate with the children.  Songs are used to greet children, to encourage children to pack away, to pray before meals and to say goodbye.  A wide array of musical instruments is also available for the children to use.




Art materials are on hand for activities such as paper tearing, scribbling, writing, painting and sculpting.  Students also get to participate in thematic art projects (e.g. puppet making, card making) to reinforce learning.




Materials found in the manipulative area are specific Montessori materials which aim to aid the child in developing eye-hand coordination and refine hand movements.  Materials in this area are not too overwhelming for the toddler and concepts are isolated to their learning level.



In a Montessori classroom, the Practical Life activities are the first set of materials presented to the child. The materials provide an important link for him/her because they are tools also found in the home. The activities answer the child’s inner desire to do things adults do everyday.  It is in learning to do these tasks like cleaning, spooning, and dressing that the child develops coordination of movement, independence, and responsibility. Allowing the child to participate in the daily work is an act of great respect for, and confidence, in the child. It helps him to feel important to himself and the people around him.


The goal of the Montessori Sensorial area is to educate the child’s senses. The area contains Montessori–specific materials that help the child refine his/her experience of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. The materials themselves invite activity. There are bright arrays of geometric shapes, puzzles, colored tablets, and various rods and blocks. Each of these materials isolates one quality that each sense can absorb. In this way, the concept that the child discovers is isolated. For example, the pink tower is made up of ten pink cubes of varying sizes. The child constructs a tower with the largest cube at the bottom and the smallest at the top. The cubes are all the same color and texture; the only difference is size. Some other examples of materials that isolate concepts are: brown stair – width; sound cylinders –pitch; color tablets – hues; and geometry materials-form.

Moreover, the materials in a Montessori classroom are self-correcting. When a piece does not fit or is left over, the child easily perceives an error. There is no need for an adult to correct. The child is able to solve problems independently, build self-confidence, analytical thinking and a sense of accomplishment.


When the child enters the Montessori classroom at 2 ½ years, the environment builds on what the child already knows. The classroom responds to the child’s sensitivity for language not by teaching the technicalities of learning a language but the appreciation of it. The function of language in Montessori is to develop comprehension and to help the child establish and maintain relationships with others by using appropriate expressions. The child builds up his/her store of words through storytelling, conversations, songs and finger-plays.

The Montessori language curriculum is an integrated approach that combines phonics and whole language. The child is first introduced to the sounds of letters. After several sounds are mastered, the child can begin to encode (spell) and decode (read) words by linking these sounds together. Words that do not follow the patterns or rules are presented as sight words. Once the child has gained confidence with his/her language skills, s/he can start writing down the information and use it to enhance his/her studies in other areas of the classroom.


Math in a Montessori environment is addressed in a very concrete and tangible way. The environment helps the child become more successful with Math concepts by traveling from a real experience to an abstract understanding.  In Montessori, math lessons follow the rule of teaching the quantity or value first, then the numerical symbol and lastly the association of the two. After the child has had numerous activities perfecting the association, a verification process will be given to check the child’s knowledge.

Lessons in Math are divided into 6 groups:

  1. Quantity and Symbol from 0-10
  2. Decimal System
  3. Learning numerals from 11 to 100
  4. Four operations in math (focusing on the essential combinations from 1-10)
  5. Four operations in math (focusing on regrouping / carry-over / borrowing)
  6. Fractions