The basis of our approach is the simple observation that children learn most effectively through direct experience and the process of investigation and discovery. In her studies of children’s learning, Dr. Maria Montessori noted that most children do not learn by memorizing what they hear from their teachers or read in a text, but rather from concrete experience and direct interaction with the environment. Asking children to sit back and watch us perform a process or experiment is like asking a one-year-old not to put everything in his mouth. Children need to manipulate and explore everything that catches their interest.
This led Dr. Montessori to emphasize the overriding importance of concrete learning apparatus and to the development of materials for mathematics, sensory development, language, science, history and geography.
The learning materials are not the method itself, but rather tools that we use to stimulate the child into logical thought and discovery. They are provocative and simple, each carefully designed to appeal to children at a given level of development.
Each material isolates and teaches one thing or is used to present one skill at a time, as the child is ready. Dr. Montessori carefully analyzed the skills and concepts involved in each subject and noted the sequence in which children most easily master them.
To facilitate the prepared order of the environment, the teacher arranges the materials on the shelf following their sequence in the curriculum flow chart. The materials are displayed on low open shelves that are easily accessible to even the youngest children. They are arranged to provide maximum appeal without clutter. Each has a specific place on the shelves, arranged from the upper-left-hand corner in sequence to the lower right. Materials are always arranged in sequence, from the most simple to the most complex, and from the most concrete to those that are the most abstract.