There are five primary areas of the preschool classroom for children ages 3 to 6 year olds.
In addition to the above core curriculum, preschool children also become excited about geography, zoology, physical science, cultural studies, history, foreign language, art, yoga, dance and music. Peace is another important aspect to the preschool Montessori classroom. Children are taught early on about what it feels like to be peaceful with themselves and their friends. Conflict/resolution is also done in a very peaceful way. There is also time for daily outside play and gross motor activities inside during bad weather.
Preschool children are allowed to choose activities based on their interests and abilities. A child who acquires the basic skills of reading and arithmetic in this natural way has the advantage of beginning his education without boredom or discouragement. By being allowed to pursue his/her individual interests in a Montessori classroom, the preschool child gains an early enthusiasm for learning, which is the key to becoming an educated person. While independence is the main focus, preschool children are also part of the community and through their daily interactions with others they learn what is required to be part of a group.
The success of a preschool child in school is dependent on a number of factors, including the child himself. The relationship between the parents, school and the child is of prime importance. Parents are the child's primary role models and teachers provide support to the family. Confusion for the child is minimized when the school and family work together.
Dr. Montessori believed that competition in education should only be introduced after the child has gained confidence in their use of basic skills. Since each preschool child works individually with the materials he/she relies on his own previous work and his progress is not compared to the achievements of others.
It has been well documented that young children mature at very different rates and the period of readiness of academic subjects varies a great deal. Because interest is stimulated and materials are readily available whenever a child is ready, some children begin to read and calculate at an unusually early age. However, very young learning is not the norm nor was it ever Dr. Montessori's goal. Her ideal was only that the learning experience should occur naturally and joyfully at the proper moment for each individual child. Dr. Montessori once wrote; "It is true, we cannot make a genius. We can only give each individual the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities to become an independent, secure and balanced human being".
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