"Work" at a Montessori School
After the conclusion of Group, the children set off to work. You may see a child handling beads, pouring rice or building a tower and think of it as just play. At NPCH, it’s actually something quite more purposeful. The beads, rice and tower are all examples of materials to complete work that the child had chosen.
Work, at NPCH, is any academic endeavor your child undertakes. It fulfills physical and cognitive developmental needs. From “Pouring Rice” to building a “Cube of Nine,” each piece of work allows your child to accomplish something of meaning, importance and value.
Examples of "Work"
Montessori methods and materials engage the child’s senses because Dr. Montessori observed that all learning from within the child comes through her senses. At NPCH, every bucket, utensil and map is the size, composition and color specified by Dr. Montessori. In fact, all apparatus in the classroom and the way they are displayed for use -- from brooms, to brushes and beads -- are among the most unique and important elements at any Montessori school. These materials foster the process through which your child develops the love for learning, thereby fulfilling our educational promise for your child.
All work is organized by the following curriculum areas:
Practical Life • Language • Mathematics • Science • Geography • History • Sensorial • Art & Music
A Practical Life Example:
This area of work requires the child to utilize self-control, the conscious will and an illuminated intellect. Practical Life work thereby intrigues the child to achieve and ultimately develops these abilities through sheer practice. Pouring Rice is a terrific example of a Practical Life piece of work. The child chooses two pouring vessels. He carefully picks up the one to the left and pours the rice into the vessel next to it. This exercise helps him master hand/eye coordination, develops small hand muscles, fine motor skills and independence.
This is the student’s first exposure to letters and sounds. The letters are first presented in wooden boxes with each letter imprinted in it. The child then uses his finger to trace the letter in the sand and hears the letter name and sound it makes. These letters and sounds are then captured into the child’s individual “Sound Book” for ongoing practice in sounding out each letter, thereby beginning to build the foundation for reading. When the child’s memory allows him to recall the letters and sounds, he then begins to blend and read simple words.
A Mathematics Example:
With the Spindle Box, the child will be challenged to identify the numbers, starting with the concept of Zero. There are no spindles for Zero. So the child will place nothing in its corresponding Zero slot. This offers her a concrete example of what Zero means. She then will move on to the next compartment: One. She will gently place 1 spindle in its corresponding One slot. And so she continues on to Nine. As she completes this work she feels an increase of weight as the numbers go up. She begins to develop a one-to-one correspondence between the abstract numbers and the actual number of Spindles to which that number applies.
A Science Example:
Plant & Animal Nomenclature Cards
Using a set of fourteen cards, the child organizes each card into the category of plant or animal. If the child is able, she then writes a list of these categories to take home. This teaches her to identify a variety of plants and animals, how to organize them into groups, their appropriate names and how to write them.
A Geography Example:
The teacher presents a world globe with the oceans and continents differentiated by smooth and rough surfaces. The child uses a “two-finger touch,” to feel the different surfaces and discusses the concepts and names of the earth’s four great oceans and the seven vast continents.
A History Example:
Lesson by "Mister"
All students attend History Lessons led by Al Pettit, whose passion for history and extensive background knowledge combine to offer the children a truly special perspective on North American history. The lessons cover North America from early Indigenous People through George Washington's presidency and the creation of the Constitution. Their timeline format for the lessons offers an easy way to include political, social, cultural and occupational discussions as well as highlight significant dates and events. Each lesson concludes with open discussion and the opportunity for the children to handle artifacts, see special exhibits or to color pictures related to the lesson. It's a school favorite.
A Sensory Example:
The Knobbed Cylinder
The Knobbed Cylinder Blocks are great examples of early Sensorial work. Using the pincer grip, the child slowly removes the cylinders and randomly places each in front of the block. Then he picks up each, determines its corresponding hole and attempts to insert it. If he is correct, the cylinder will go through the hole. If not, he will try again with another cylinder. This requires concentration and develops in a sense of order, fine motor skill, eye/hand coordination, and the ability to visually discriminate size.
An Art Example:
A popular piece of work among all ages is Collage Work. The child chooses paper, glue and various shapes, pieces of other materials, and creates a design, picture or collage. We refresh these materials frequently, offering the child an outlet for creative expression and design. It teaches independence and good clean-up practice.