The objective of early childhood education should be to cultivate the child’s own natural desire to learn. We achieve this objective in the preschool classroom by allowing the excitement of learning by choice.
Montessori believed that children from birth to six years have a special kind of mind. They learn to talk, create coordinated movement, learn a language, come to understand and tack on the behaviours and customs of the group into which they are born whilst simultaneously creating an intelligence. She called this special kind of mind “The Absorbent Mind” which allows children to learn easily whilst the conscience will and memory are still developing.
The environment caters for the purpose for activity, growth and development of the child; this is relative to child’s size proportion. The chairs are light enough for the child to move and clean easily, the shelves are low, the tables small. There is water and glasses available for the children to pour their own drinks, and knife and cutting board allows them to prepare their own fruit.
All this allows the children independence in their movements and enables them to be masters of their own environment. This freedom to work and practice skills develops self-esteem and self-discipline. The room has a sense of order each piece of equipment has its own place. This set up is attractive and appealing, the child can make his own choice and the layout insists in ensuring the child has a desire to keep the room clean and tidy. An orderly surrounding which can be preserved through their own activity gives the child a real sense of satisfaction, calm and also a love of beauty.
The children are in mixed aged groups and therefore free to work at their own level and interest and can share their exciting discoveries and achievements without fear of competition.
Montessori materials in the classroom are divided into four main groups; Practical Life, Sensorial, language and mathematics. Cultural studies, science and history, geography and biology are offered as an extension of the language program.