The classroom is divided into six areas:
Practical life: Pouring, carrying, hammering—these are everyday meaningful activities children love to imitate. These practical life activities serve as preparation for academic work in the Montessori classroom. Real materials such as glass entice children to engage such activities that develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, self-confidence and independence.
Sensorial: Discovery is encouraged in refining the senses through sorting, building, matching and classifying. Perceptions are heightened in regards to color, size, shape, weight, sound, smell and texture. Dr. Montessori believed that all learning was experienced first through the senses.
Language: Although every area of the classroom is rich in vocabulary, this area emphasizes beginning sounds and letter recognition. Pre-reading activities include matching, sorting, and story writing. Initially, emphasis is on learning the sounds rather than names of letters, which leads to building words. When children demonstrate an eagerness to read, they are given a series of consecutive lessons to engage at their own level. Writing begins with metal insets (tracing stencils shapes) and correct pencil holding grip is encouraged. Formation of letters is introduced only when a child’s interest is heightened. Writing letters leads to writing words, which in time leads to story writing and beyond.
Mathematics: Concrete manipulatives give opportunities for recognizing and understanding numbers and their functions. Pre-math skills are encouraged through patterning, counting and number identification. When children demonstrate understanding of “one to one correlation”, they are introduced to a sequential series of simple math manipulatives in order to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The decimal system is beautifully introduced in a series of concrete materials, providing a structure for life long mathematical comprehension. The 100 board is introduced and explored, and children gain an understanding of patterns that lead to preparation for multiplication and division and advanced mathematical understanding.
Geography/Science: Children engage their natural curiosity in the world around them through the study of animals, plants and people of all cultures. They are introduced to the world through puzzle continent maps, making maps, studying animals of each continent and land forms. Science is also introduced through puzzles of animals and plants, and the study of “parts of” an animal or plant. Caring for our own animals, and planting and harvesting our own classroom plants provide a rich understanding of nature and God’s creation.
Art: Artistic expression is an everyday experience at Farmhouse Montessori. Quality materials with a wide range of mediums including painting, chalk, collage, clay, sculpture and many techniques are introduced and available. The emphasis is process rather than product allowing children to explore their own interests. The study of famous artists as well as composers creates opportunities for children to make connections to the world around them through recognition and experience. Art expressions through music, movement, baking, music, map making and many forms of creation nurtures exploration and discovery.