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The Curriculum and Materials

The Montessori materials are unique to Montessori schools and centres. They have been specifically designed to aid development with practical life skills, fine motor development, eye-hand coordination, development of all the senses, writing, reading, numeracy, geography, history, biology, science, art and music.  Through combining all these areas, we give each child a strong foundation for later learning.

The Montessori materials (often referred to as didactic materials) are devised so that each has a “control of error” inherent in the activity. This allows the child to correct him/herself and make discoveries on her own.  The children engage with the materials when they are ready.  The Montessori materials fall into five major categories: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Cultural.

Practical Life is an area that includes activities that allow children to learn to care for themselves and their environment using materials familiar to them.  It covers:

  • care of the environment,
  • care of plants and animals,
  • care of the person,
  • preparing food,
  • grace and courtesy.

These activities also help children develop their small and large muscle coordination, concentration, independence, logic, self-discipline and aesthetic sense. In these exercises, the “action” is more important than the end result. Some examples include sweeping, washing up, cooking, putting on shoes, planting seedlings and greeting each other. Uniquely, real implements and equipment are used rather than ‘pretend’ ones eg.child‑sized dust-pan and brush.

Sensorial materials refine the senses and help children clarify and categorize the vast number of sensory impressions they have already received from the environment. The sensorial materials are designed to help the children become more perceptive, they are essentially puzzles that represent meaningful challenges that tend to fascinate the child. These materials are unique in that they have built-in control of errors which allow the child to be the ‘master’ of their own work and learn through manipulation and discovery. The materials also isolate a single concept. These materials also build vocabulary as each of the new concepts are engaged with.
An example of a sensorial material is the red rods. The red rods are ten rods that differ only in length; they range from ten centimeters to one hundred centimeters. Here the child concretely experiences the notion of length because the length is the only quality that varies. In Montessori’s words, she has “isolated the difficulty.”
A child’s development of language is an important step for him/her on the road to independence.  In the Montessori classroom this is a simple progression.  The language materials provide for vocabulary enrichment and training and the development of reading and writing.  Language allows the child to express him/herself, communicate with others and bring previously unconscious experiences to the conscious level. Basic skills are taught phonetically through touch and manipulation, not just listening.  Language development is stimulated in all the areas of the classroom.

Children learn a lot more readily when they use concrete materials. The Math materials begin with very concrete examples of number symbols and quantity.  As the child progresses the lessons and concepts increase in difficulty and become more abstract.  Starting from the meaning of numbers from one to 10, through to the introduction of the decimal system, simple operations, fractions and geometry, all new concepts involve all hands on learning. 


By allowing the children to freely experience their environment we are aiding their natural ability to absorb knowledge and culture without effort.  The cultural materials give the children a strong sense of who they are and their place in the world.  By allowing the children to freely experience their environment we are aiding their natural ability to absorb knowledge and culture without effort.
Through interacting with the materials children will build a global perspective, tolerance and understanding of other cultures and a respect for our world.  Dr Montessori firmly believed this was the best way to ensure peace in the world.  The cultural area includes elements of history, geography, art, craft, music, botany, zoology, science, drama, language, movement, social studies, health and well-being.


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