2 ½ – 6 years
Children of this age possess what Dr. Montessori called the absorbent mind. This type of mind has the unique and temporary ability to absorb all aspects of the environment without effort or fatigue. As an aid to the child’s self-construction, individual work is encouraged. The following areas of activity cultivate the children’s ability to express themselves and think with clarity.
Practical Life exercise instills care for self, for others, and for the environment. Activities include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily routine in their home, such as washing and ironing, doing the dishes, arranging flowers, etc. Elements of human conviviality are introduced with the exercises of grace and courtesy. Through these and other activities, children develop muscular coordination, enabling movement and the exploration of their surroundings. They learn to work at a task from beginning to end, and develop their powers of control and concentration.
Sensorial materials serve as tools for development. Children build cognitive efficacy, and learn to order and classify impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical properties of their environment.
Language development is vital to human existence. The Montessori environment provides rich spoken language, through conversations, stories and poetry; Sandpaper letters help children link sound and symbol effortlessly, allowing the children to become fully literate. To further the development of reading, children are given opportunities to explore the function of words and the structure of sentences.
Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art and Music are presented as extensions of the senorial and language activities Children learn about other cultures. This allows their innate respect and admiration to flourish and engenders a sense of solidarity with the global human family. Experiences with nature in conjunction with the materials in the environment inspire a reverence for all life The comprehensive art and music programmes give children every opportunity to enjoy a variety of creative activities, as well as to gain knowledge of the great masters.
Mathematics materials help children learn and understand mathematical concepts by manipulating concrete materials. This work gives the children a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles, prepares them for abstract reasoning, and helps to develop problem-solving capabilities.