What Curriculum Does Montessori Use (5 Key Areas of Study)

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Montessori or not, schools use a scholastic curriculum to follow for the whole school year. The curriculum Montessori schools use is distinctly different from traditional schools.

What Curriculum Does Montessori Use

What Curriculum does Montessori use? Montessori uses the Montessori curriculum which is a course of study developed by the child development expert, Dr. Maria Montessori. The Montessori curriculum is tailored-fit to each student’s needs and skill set. Age is not a factor. The Montessori curriculum views learning as a process determined by the rate and speed a child learns and acquires one skill before moving on to another.

5 Key Areas of Study in the Montessori Curriculum

The Montessori curriculum focuses on 5 key areas of study. Each area is designed to inspire learning and aid the student not just in school but in life in general.

  1. Practical Life. Key lessons in this area are designed to promote independence, develop social skills, and teach care for the environment. Example activities are food preparation, hygiene, grooming, manners, gardening, proper care of pets, social interaction, and many others.
  2. Sensorial. The key lessons and activities in this area of study focus on refining and improving the seven senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, sense of balance, and body awareness. Example activities and materials used are hand painting, music, binomial cube, pink tower, etc
  3. Mathematics. Montessori math is done in a hands-on setting. It prepares the child to understand numbers and concrete and abstract problems. Instead of textbooks, Montessori math uses arithmetic boards, spindle boxes, number rods, beads, games, etc.
  4. Language. Montessori language is designed to increase the child’s listening skills, comprehension, and vocabulary.
  5. Cultural. This area teaches students about the world around them. This includes art, music, history, science, geography, botany, zoology, etc.

The Core Components of the Montessori Curriculum

According to Dr. Maria Montessori;

“My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding on that certification… but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher one, by utilizing own activity, through their own effort of will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual.” – Introduction, From Childhood to Adolescence

The core components of the Montessori curriculum support this vision. The core components are:

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    • Child-led activities
    • Teacher-curated environments
    • Multi-age classrooms
    • Hands-on learning

    The Basic Concepts of Montessori Education

    Montessori education aims to let each child flourish in school and the real world.it looks at the child as a whole not just as a student. Here are the basic concepts of Montessori education.

    Child-Centered

    Lessons are designed based on the student’s strengths and weaknesses, academic level, and skill sets. In the classroom, children are provided with enough materials that are vital to their progress. They are free to choose which materials to use, how long they spend time on it, and who they do it with.

    Individualized Learning

    This is based on the belief that children learn differently and at different paces. Montessori education gives students enough time to master a key lesson according to their speed. They are guided by well-planned programs and highly-trained teachers to support each step.

    Integrated Curriculum

    The Montessori curriculum is ever-changing. It uses interrelated topics. Students must master one key lesson before another one is added.

    Hands-On Learning

    Instead of textbooks and spoon-feeding of information, Montessori schools allow students hands-on experience and practical application. It is believed that children learn faster and retain information better when they experience things personally, not theoretically.

    Multi-Age Classrooms

    In Montessori classrooms, children are grouped according to their capabilities, not age. A two-year-old toddler may be in the same class as a four-year-old. This is a good way to promote collaboration and cooperation where one child learns from the other. Montessori champions collaboration, not competition.

    Three-Year Cycle

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    Montessori education adapts the three-year cycle which allows enough time for teachers and students to know each other. This gives students a sense of community and belongingness. It also eliminates the stress children experience when they have to face a new environment and new people.

    How is the Montessori Curriculum Planned

    The Montessori curriculum is planned by evaluating each child at the beginning of the school year. As the student progresses in class, key lessons are added and additional programs are added. This involves creating a well-though lesson plan for each student.

    The teacher takes into consideration Montessori educational standards and the abilities of the child when writing the lesson plan.

    The key elements of an effective lesson plan are lesson name/type, identifying prerequisites, setting objectives, listing materials, language to use, anticipating questions, and naming future lessons and activities.

    FAQs

    Why don’t Montessori schools give grades? Montessori schools do not give grades because Montessori education believes that tests and grades do not reflect or correctly measure a student’s development and progress. In traditional schools, errors or mistakes are demerits but in Montessori, they are considered part of the learning process. Students are taught to learn not taught in preparation for taking tests.

    Is there homework in Montessori? Yes. Montessori schools give their students occasional homework. There is no daily homework though. The occasional homework given serves as an extension of their school activities. This usually involves household chores like sock pairing, cutting a cake into equal pieces, etc.

    Do Montessori Use Textbooks? No, Montessori does not use textbooks. Art books, picture books, and story books are used but not textbooks. Grades and textbooks are not part of a Montessori program. Games, physical activities, and Montessori materials are used instead.

    Do Montessori schools conduct examinations? Montessori students do tasks and master them at their speed. They do not take exams and are not graded like traditional students are.

    Summary

    Montessori schools use a tailored-fit Montessori curriculum. The course of study is carefully selected based on the student’s needs and capabilities. It views learning as a process determined by the rate and speed a child learns and acquires one skill before moving on to another.

    The Montessori approach to education may sound unconventional and modern. Contrary to popular belief, the Montessori method of teaching has been used since 1929. The good thing about it is that the core concepts remain relevant in modern times. In fact, it is more suited today more than ever.

    Meta description

    What curriculum does Montessori use? The five key areas of study, core concepts, and basic components. Find out how the curriculum is planned and more.