A Montessori classroom is a refection of the community who uses it: children, families and staff. There are core materials present in most Montessori settings worldwide plus those activities culturally relevant so no two are exactly the same. A Montessori classroom is a “living room” for children, filled with an abundance of activities, meeting the diverse needs of the children, socially, emotionally and intellectually. Unlike other preschool programs, Montessori based programs have a multi-age grouping so children are encouraged to support, guide and learn from one another. The youngest child is offered calm understanding, patient and gentle hands of help and kindness from peers and teachers. The oldest child is able to offer gracious support and help from a place of wisdom and experience to peers without question. Each child is a unique individual with skills, interests and talents, which are celebrated and honoured.
The primary goal of a Montessori program is to support and nurture each child to grow, develop and learn at their own pace. Our holistic curriculum and practiced teachers allow children to experience the joy of learning, the time to enjoy the process and ensure the development of self-confidence.
In a Montessori classroom, children either play on mats on the floor or at tables. This permits a child to designate their “spot” to play uninterrupted. Children are encouraged to ask to join another child at play rather than just jumping in. Children at BIMS demonstrate respect for each other’s space and activity.
At the beginning of each session, children are greeted and welcomed into the classroom in a kind and respectful manner by friends and teachers alike. Once each child has said good-bye to mom or dad, they move into the room and begin the day’s adventure, making choices, connections and discoveries freely and with gentle guidance from teachers and peers. Daily, there is a period of uninterrupted playtime, so children can focus, concentrate and be fully engaged. Children learn to discern for themselves when they are finished, then pack up and put away.
This area of the classroom provides a child with real life activities, which in turn give each child a feeling of dignity, accomplishment and self-confidence. These are fundamental for a child’s development by giving children a chance to care for themselves and their surrounding environment. Practical life activities are simple, can be successfully accomplished by any aged child and include daily living tasks such as pouring, spooning, sorting and sweeping. To a child, theses are meaningful activities, which encourage increased concentration; more focused attention and improved eye-hand coordination.
Numeracy and Mathematics
Numeracy from 1 to 1000 and mathematical operations are offered through the manipulation of concrete materials and allow a child to internalize the concepts of quantity, numeral, sequence, operations and memorization of basic facts. Specific materials and activities such as the spindle boxes permit a child to see what “nothing” or zero looks like and the bead bars can show a child how to add or multiply then to count the beads to find the answer.
Language activities and materials increase vocabulary and conversational skills; develop writing and reading skills plus an understanding of simple grammar. These language activities include objects and pictures to be named, matched and classified to aid in vocabulary enrichment. Textured letters permit a child to feel and see the alphabet. Phonics and the moveable alphabet lead a child towards spelling and reading.
The sensorial activities allow a child to use their senses to learn about the world by isolating defining elements: colour, size, shape, sound or texture. These activities help to develop and refine a child’s visual, auditory and tactile senses.
A child is offered an introduction to physical and cultural geography through the use of wooden puzzles/maps of the Earth and its 7 continents. Through the focus upon specific continents or countries, a child will be presented with culturally significant objects and snacks from each particular area, international and cultural celebrations will also be recognized and honoured as we cover the world map.
Painting, scissor cutting, collage, play dough and colouring with various media are always available activities. Colour mixing, printmaking and finger painting are just some of the art-based activities incorporated to present new skills and media, to encourage creativity and just to have fun. Art appreciation activities may also be introduced based upon the study of a particular artist.Some art experiences are open ended; developing imagination, exploring textures and media, while others are product structured; to show a beginning and an end to a particular project.
Science is all around us so these activities are nature related. This area is broad so a child may be introduced to the study of plants and animals, their parts and specific characteristics. An observation table is often present for the children to explore.
A Typical Day at BIMS
Circle time and story time are important components of our daily routine. These group activities help at times of transition such as at snack time but also encourage skills including turn-taking, respectful listening, incorporating music and movement, felt board stories and finger plays and rhymes. The days of the week, the weather and name songs, which help us to connect, are usual themes of circle time.
After snack time, the children go outside to play where running, climbing, and peddling and group games aid in their gross-motor development. We often venture beyond the garden gate in order to explore our community of Artisan Square.
Before heading home, there is a closing circle so children can collect their artwork, sing a song or two, listen to a short story before saying good-bye.