Dr. Maria Montessori observed that young children have a unique ability to absorb their environment and she called this ability ‘the absorbent mind’. This is why we offer the children a carefully prepared environment, which will nurture their development and inspire to make choices.
five areas of knowledge
Casa classroom environment hosts a multitude of materials divided into five areas of knowledge. The materials range from less to more advanced and are presented to children in individual presentations based on the child’s level, and not on their age. When a child joins a casa for the first time they usually start working with the Practical Life activities, which allow the child to become more confident. Sensorial, Math, Language, and Cultural presentations follow the child’s natural learning path. The prepared casa environment supports development of the child’s will by inviting the child to make independent choices out of a certain amount of activities.
Casas the world over are made up of children of mixed ages in a three year span, usually ages 3 through 6. Mixed age in a Montessori environment allows for natural social interactions, which allow the children to learn from each other. An older child will present what she already knows to a younger child, and by doing so we hope that she will begin to develop leadership qualities and consolidate her knowledge of the presented subject. A younger child will observe an older child working and by doing so he will be inspired to challenge himself.
Children are not born with the knowledge of social skills, but instead they learn them in a favorable social environment. The teacher may present to a group of children a social ability in a lesson called ‘grace & courtesy’ and then a constructive discussion will follow.