Our classroom offers space for movement, for individual play and for large group activities. There are quiet places to play and large tables where children can chat and share. Children are offered opportunities to learn about Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Geography through multi-sensory, sequential Montessori materials to facilitate this type of learning as well as other typical aspects of Early Learning including puzzles, blocks and other toy-like activities. Montessori materials are designed to intrigue children and encourage them to explore, discover and learn. Tasks/activities are designed so that each new step is built upon what a child has already mastered; a carefully planned series of successes builds and nurtures inner/self confidence.
The mixed ages and widely varied achievement levels of the children greatly minimize comparisons and competition. Our goal is not to ensure that a child will develop at a predetermined rate but to ensure that whatever they do, they do well and with pride and confidence. One key concept at BIMS is a child’s interest and readiness rather than age; most children will absorb a tremendous amount of information, understanding and skills at their ideal time through practice and experience instead of by rote and memorization.
Our classroom is a hub of activity and children are encouraged to move, making their own choices, following their distinctive interests. It is divided into centers or areas including Blocks and Puzzles, Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Geography, Practical Life and Sensorial development.
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.