The Montessori classroom is equipped with specialist educational apparatus which is of simple, yet exact nature and provokes in the young child a profound reaction of interest and attention. The apparatus is presented to the child in accordance to his needs, or what is termed in Montessori as the “sensitive learning periods” during which the child has the special capability of “picking up” on his own from the environment particular skills and concepts.
The Montessori classroom is roughly divided into six areas:
• Practical life area, (involving the physical care of the person and environment)
• Sensorial area
• Language and literacy area
• Math area
• Culture area (geography, botany)
• Art area
The exercises in practical life are simple, precise tasks, which the young child has already observed adults perform in his home environment and loves to imitate. The Montessori teacher must create and arrange the exercises, using the Montessori principles of beauty, simplicity, isolation of difficulty, and proceeding from simple to complex.
Examples are: pouring transferring, sponging, threading, cutting, to name a few. All these activities help the child to develop concentration, refine the hand eye coordination and above all help the child to become independent.
‘Care of self‘ activities involve fastening buttons, bows, laces, using a zipper or velcro. Children love to repeat these simple tasks, as doing them gives them an inner satisfaction.
Each exercise has a beginning, middle and end, thus completing the cycle of activity, aids the child to organize his thoughts and actions and gives him a sense of order. Putting things back in their place, tidying up and maintaining the environment, teaches the child to respect his environment and others around him.
The Sensorial Materials are introduced to the child after inner discipline, confidence and a conception of a full cycle of activity are initiated through the experience of daily living.
The aim of these materials is the education and refinement of the senses: visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, thermic, baric, sterognostic and chromatic.