Morningside Montessori School

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The MMS Montessori Preschool Environment - Casa

30 Months up to 6 Years old

Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be.... Maria Montessori.


The Preschool Montessori Environment ideally consists of a community of children from ages 2.5 to 6 years. A child usually enters the preschool classroom at the age of three, and continues until age six. When a child remains in the Casa program for the entire three years they have the best opportunity to fully build a strong foundation to become an independent, confident, problem solving leader who understands and, ultimately, gains a love of learning. Within the classroom, a three year age mix of children supports the dynamic of the Montessori environment by allowing the children to assist, learn and be intrigued by one another. Peer teaching and peer learning is an intricate part of the Montesssori Method. The veteran students are diligent to the cause of an organized and well respected classroom. Older children gain great confidence as the leaders in the classroom and younger children aspire to do the same.

This is one of the best kept secrets of a Montessori classroom. As children work together in a Montessori environment, a community of respect, love, and great friendship is born. The Montessori classroom is student centered. The teacher guides and supports as well as assures the environment is setting children up for success. All of this and more unfolds early in a child's Montessori journey.

The children are able to move freely in the space making independent choices. Most of the lessons in the preschool classroom are done individually.There are several group lessons conducted as well.Once a child has been introduced to an activity they are encouraged to repeat, repeat and repeat the activity as often as they wish.This helps each child gain the ability to master their skills, which fosters independence, confidence as well as building a strong foundation for their love of learning.

The Casa (preschool) classroom is set up in a very purposeful way.Thought, logic and meticulous detail goes into every aspect of the preschool environment.The Directress/Director of the classroom works diligently to ensure the space is organized in such a way, that the children should have much opportunity to be as self- sufficient as possible.For example, if a child spills water on the floor, instead of the child going to the adult in the space to clean it up for them, there is a cleaning up a spill activity that shows the child how to clean up the spill if it happens again.As mentioned above, most of the lessons given in the classroom are done on an individual basis.This one on one interaction with the Directress/Director provides an uninterrupted opportunity to focus on the task at hand to observe and gain unlimited knowledge.The classroom is built on supporting respect for self, others and the environment.As a community, the children are encouraged to assist one another and problem solve together. Grace and Courtesy is an integral part of each classroom.

There are five areas of the Casa-preschool classroom.

Each area in the classroom is treated as equal. The children are unaware of the segments of the classroom and each area should remain unbiased. The Directress/Director avoids labelling activities or areas as "hard" or "easy", as is often deters a child from trying or engaging in the activity.
  • 1. Practical Life:

This area is most often colourful, inviting, beautiful and enticing. It focuses on strengthening fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, logical thought, order, sequencing, gross-motor skills, independence, grace and courtesy and confidence.The children learn how to care for themselves and their environment. The activities in this area may be seen inside or outside of the home. For example: Spooning, pouring water, polishing, washing linen, dusting, using a screwdriver, sewing, setting a table, offering snack, caring for plants, raking, sweeping, snapping, zipping, offering, greeting and interrupting politely along with many more.

  • 2. Sensorial:

This area is meant to 'educate' the senses, it allows children to organize and classify information. All of the Sensorial materials were designed with these ideas in mind:
1. The materials isolate one quality at a time, allowing the child to focus on one quality at a time.
2. All materials have a 'control of error' built into them, meaning the child can make corrections themselves.
3. All the materials are esthetically pleasing.
4. All the materials must be complete so the child who is working with them can finish through the entire process without being interrupted to find a missing piece.
5. These materials could be called 'materialized abstractions' which means that through these Sensorial materials, abstract concepts are made.
6. The Sensorial Area is seen as preparation for the Math area-concepts learned in this area help support and encourage growth in the Math area.

  • 3. Language:

The development of language in early-childhood classrooms is an umbrella for the entire Montessori curriculum. Often, it is considered that activities on the shelves of the Language area are the heart of actual language learning. Certainly these activities provide powerful opportunities, but language learning occurs most profoundly in the moment-to-moment life of interactions within the classroom. Children learn to listen, speak, and later to write and read through the multitude of materials and activities within the language area of a Montessori classroom. These activities provide opportunities for young children to expand vocabulary, listen carefully to common sounds, and look carefully to find likenesses and differences among objects and pictures. Matching sets of objects, learning the names of household items, unusual animals and insects and geometric shapes are just some of the activities which build language and early literacy skills and will be found in a Montessori classroom.

  • 4. Mathematics:

Children use a variety of hands-on learning materials that make abstract concepts clear and help each child to develop a sound foundation in mathematics and geometry. By using concrete materials during the early years, the child can learn the basic concepts of mathematics and the relationship between numbers and quantities. This area focuses on the introduction to numbers, the decimal system, the teens, tens, counting, arithmetic tables and the passage to abstraction and memorization of tables.

  • 5. Culture:

In the culture area, children have the opportunity to work with nomenclature, proper terminologies, definitions and scientific knowledge. These activities are coupled with the reading and writing curriculum to support language and literacy. Some of the cultural activities include botany, zoology, science, music, and geography.

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