Our toddler is now reaching preschool age. This means it is time for a more formal educational approach. While we have taught her her colors and how to count 11-10, etc. we have not really approached these concepts in a formal way. It has taken me some time to decide what would fit her best. The final decision came when our Sunday school classes started up this fall and she moved from the toddler room to the Atrium. Let me explain what the Atrium is. We started the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd a few years ago. It is a Montessori based curriculum for churches. The atrium is a Montessori learning area in which the children are guided in their understanding that Jesus Christ is their good shepherd. He knows them and loves them. It is a place where children develop their personal communication with God. While this is just a nutshell view of the COGS, it is wonderful. The works in the room are based on the Montessori method of learning. I have seen how our little one loves this room and loves learning the new works each Sunday since I am one of the facilitators of the Atrium. Montessori is a good fit for her. Montessori is broken into 4 parts for the primary level of age 3-6. Practical life are what we would think of as homeskills, they are things that we do in everyday life such as folding clothes, baking, cooking, preparing vegetables, cleaning etc. She already does much of this around the house and loves it. Sensorial engages learning through the senses. This is something that our children do from the day they are born. The learn comfort from their mother's voice, language from those talking around them, familiarity in faces from seeing them, they smell and hear their surroundings all from day one. Montessori education takes this natural instinct to facilitate cognitive learning about spatial concepts. Then there are language and math. Montessori approaches these a little differently. Each work in the child's area builds upon skills. Montessori is a progressive step by step ladder of education with each activity building the skills needed for full "preparation for success". We have incorporated a few Montessori activites before now, but since this is the way we have decided to go with her we are transforming the playroom. Montessori stresses order, which means that everything has a place and that place is easily accessible to the child. It is a child guided education in which they choose which of the works available to them. Before the work is made available then the child is presented the work and taught how to use the work. They pick up on this a lot faster than one would think. Montessori is a self correcting type of education in which there is no need for the facilitator to correct wrong answers because the child understands that their work is not right and corrects it themselves. The main concepts of Montessori are to promote the joy of learning, self-reliance and independance. It also is something that engages the whole body in activity as the child moves from work to work, removing it from the shelf and replacing it when finished and moving on. Montessori works are tailored to the child and allow the child to move at their own pace, building skills and knowledge as they are ready. Montessori materials tend to be very expensive since they are geared toward Montessori schools. However, you can make your own or substitute less expensive things to gain the same concepts. We will be making our own and substituting quite a bit. As time goes by, I will be doing posts to show the things that I make and will be adding our materials in the sidebar on the left under our homeschool curriculum. If you are interested in learning more about Montessori here are some great websites to learn more.
Montessori at Home
Montessori Primary Guide
Of course, if you google Montessori education you will find tons of stuff to keep you busy for hours. Hope this helps those of you looking for a different way to educate your children. Blessings from the farm, Kat