The Children’s House environment consists of five different concept areas; practical life, sensorial, math, language, and cultural studies. Children explore the prepared materials with a natural sequence to build independence and organization throughout the three-year period. The younger children look up to and learn from their older peers. The oldest children in the Children’s House are leaders, mentors, role models and helpers for the younger children. The children develop a sense of community and encourage one another in their growth.
When a child joins the Children’s House class, their first experiences will be with the practical life activities. These lessons inspire the child with real-world, purposeful tasks and tools, helping them to see themselves, correctly, as capable and competent.
These activities are complex, with many steps that must be performed sequentially in order to achieve the result, helping your child strengthen key executive functioning skills. They give a child the opportunity to take on meaningful work that he can complete independently, while developing concentration. The practical life activities also prepare a child for writing by strengthening her hand and reinforcing motions and muscles important for producing the written word. Most importantly, they allow a child to absorb the basic, methodical problem-solving approach that is the foundation for all thought or creative expression, including such diverse areas as math, science, engineering, programming, writing, artistic expression, entrepreneurism, and athletics.
One of the most important and continual developmental keystones in the Montessori classroom relates to social/emotional growth. Because children in the Children’s House move freely, choosing their own work, snack time, and places to sit, each child will have plenty of opportunities to practice social interaction. Montessori guides share lessons that each child can practice in varying ways. These lessons are as simple as asking to sit with someone, to blowing one’s own nose, or saying “excuse me” give a child the tools they need to interact successfully in the world.
In a Montessori environment children are encouraged to learn by touching, feeling and doing. In traditional learning environments, children sit at desks and listen to a teacher. In contrast, Montessori children are encouraged to move around the classroom and engage with the wide variety of activities available. They choose the activity they would like to work on, bring it to a table or mat, explore the materials and make discoveries for themselves. Staff spends a great deal of time observing each child as they choose materials and make discoveries to prepare further lesson choices and to help children to expand upon gained knowledge, this leading to the mastery of skills.