Practical Life, which provides the foundation for all other activities in the Montessori classroom, cover two main areas of development: care of self, and care of the environment. Through purposeful activity, such as the daily living tasks as pouring, cleaning, food preparation, buttoning, zipping develop motor control and coordination, self-esteem, independence, concentration, and a sense of responsibility. You will hear proud, “I did it’s!” throughout the classroom.
Children use real materials. They wash real dishes with real water, soap bubbles and can even make a real mess! They chop carrots and core apples and practice grace and courtesy by offering a serving to their classmates. A child may paint a picture at the easel or create the weekly art project at the art station.
“The senses, being the explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge.” ~ Maria Montessori
Young children learn by exploring their world through their senses. Sensorial materials provide experiences with textures, colors, sizes and shapes, refining discrimination and order skills. Children can play with blocks that teach biggest to smallest or longest to shortest. They can sort sound cylinders or make geometrical shapes with the triangle boxes to name only a few. Sensorial work helps children become more logical, perceptive, and aware.
A Montessori classroom includes many sensory materials that allow young children to learn their letters by sight, feel, and texture. A child as young as age 4 might use the “Moveable Alphabet” to begin sounding out and spelling simple words. Our Pre-K and older children begin more formal instruction in reading during the reading group period.
Here lessons are taught, stories are read, and handwriting is practiced. We use all the Montessori materials combined with a highly regarded reading program unique to Apple Montessori. We have found, over many years, that most Apple Montessori students can read by age 4. By the Kindergarten year, they are reading short books and loving reading!
The success of this approach has been validated by standardized test results. For more than 25 years 90% of our students have scored above the 90 percentile rank!
There is no classroom on earth as well-endowed with math materials as an Apple Montessori classroom! Golden Beads, Fraction Insets, the Stamp Game, the Dot Game, Cubing Materials, Long and Short Chains, Measurement of Area materials, and the Racks and Tubes for long division are just a few of the many, many materials that facilitate a strong understanding of numerical concepts and operations. The materials are presented sequentially, when an individual child is ready to understand the concepts, and allow each child to move through the curriculum at his or her own pace.
Gradually, because of the firm foundation that the hands-on materials provide, each child moves closer and closer to the time when they can leave the materials behind and perform mathematical functions abstractly.
Our science curriculum begins in the preschool years with simple activities involving plants, animals, the solar system, and the weather. In zoology, for example, the children study the classification of living organisms. It may begin with a living fish swimming in a tank.
After watching the animal for several days the children are presented with a lesson on the parts of a fish. Later the process is duplicated with tadpoles or a guinea pig. Each new group serves as an example of how living organisms moved out of the primordial sea to live on the land and then adapted to the environmental changes that have occurred over the ages.
History and Geography
In the preschool years the children work with small globes and then puzzle maps to become familiar with the names and locations of the world’s continents, oceans, and countries. Stories from other lands are read. Songs from around the world are sung. Major holidays such as Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Presidents’ Day are celebrated.
Our Kindergarten children work on special group projects to learn about the world and the people who inhabit it. They participate in International Week which is loved by both children and parents.
We enrich the lives of our students each day by exposing them to the fundamentals of art. We use an array of tools, techniques and mediums to develop creativity while instilling lifelong skills which promote overall personal success.
The daily art curriculum cultivates the children’s imaginations and creativity as they paint at the easel and construct the weeks art project. In addition to these daily activities we have integrated an Art Enrichment program into our monthly curriculum. Look for our Art Enrichment displays when you come to visit our school! They are incredible!
Music and Drama
Nurturing an appreciation for music and the arts is an integral part of our daily curriculum. We introduce the children to an array of songs, finger plays and nursery rhymes. Our formal Music Enrichment classes include lessons in voice, rhythm, musical notes and moving to music. The children enjoy the many opportunities they have to present live performances to their parents including musical plays and skits.
Apple’s first grade Spanish Enrichment curriculum has been modified and is now being introduced into the pre-school and Kindergarten classes. The children are introduced to the experience of learning a second language while developing their vocabulary through hands on activities, games and songs! “Aprendiendo un Segundo idioma es facil para una mente joven” (learning a second language is easy for the young mind).
Character and Ethics Development
Our program at Apple is designed to educate the whole child. Having a strong character along with a quality education is the key to success in the lives of our children. Our pre-school and Kindergarten students are encouraged to develop their character while cultivating ethical and responsible behavior. We accomplish this each day in our classrooms as we introduce children to a set of shared values and ideals. Some of these values include grace and courtesy as well as respect and kindness for others.
Along with daily instruction our students are introduced to our innovative Character Development Program. Using puppets, games and theme based lesson plans; we give your child the knowledge necessary to develop principled social skills. Your child will learn about cooperation in our “join in and play’” class or flexibility and perseverance in our “Try and Stick with it Class.” These and many other lessons are presented with in our Character Enrichment Program.
Every classroom is equipped with at least one, and sometimes two, computers. It is our belief that the computer should be treated as an integral tool for learning.
In the preschool years each computer has educational games and children are encouraged to learn computer techniques by using the computers regularly. We teach computer skills in context. The children use the educational software that is provided but also use the computers to research information and to publish finished projects.
Apple also offers a technology based program called FasTracKids. This unique cutting-edge program allows children to work on a Smart Board as they develop basic knowledge, critical thinking skills and public speaking skills! See programs for more information and visit a location to see it in action!
During the preschool years, the children have several periods a day of outdoor play in our well-equipped playgrounds and sport courts. When the weather is poor we provide time for movement activities indoors in our spacious classrooms and in our gymnasiums (see individual facilities).
Here the children develop large and fine motor skills, participate in fitness and movement activities, and practice specific skills such as throwing or dribbling a ball. The emphasis is on movement education, spatial awareness, and balance through cooperative games, rhythm, gymnastics, and physical fitness.
Throughout the Montessori curriculum, movement is paramount. Much time is spent teaching the children to move gracefully, to develop and use large and fine motor skills, and to learn to control their own movements so as not to disrupt or disturb other students.
Children move around the classroom all day long. On a larger scale this fundamental principle of Montessori education teaches the child to respect other people and to self-monitor how his or her own actions impact others who share the classroom. We believe that through freedom of movement a child acquires true discipline.