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The Curriculum

Dr. Montessori believed that education should fit the child's stage of development. Young children from three to six have particular sensitivities to specific areas of learning at definite times. Children from six to twelve have particular characteristics which lead them to learn about different areas. The Montessori curriculum follows a definite plan that takes into account these sensitivities and characteristics.

Each Montessori classroom includes specially designed materials and equipment that enable children to work independently. Children learn responsibility by the real life practice of properly using and returning the materials to the shelves ready for the next person.

student drawingFor young children, ages 3 - 6, the main areas of work include: practical life, sensorial, language and math as well as work in the areas of geography, biology, art and music. Examples of practical life exercises are zipping, tying, pouring, sweeping, flower arranging and table scrubbing. These exercises are designed not only to teach the children to care for themselves, but also to help them learn how to sequence an activity, to keep order in their work, and to put it away ready for the next child to use. The sensorial exercises help children to refine their senses and to give names to their experiences, such as tallest, bitter, sphere and maroon. The sensorial materials include the bells, which help the children learn musical tones. In the language area children learn to hear individual sounds in words, along with seeing and feeling these sounds by using letters cut from sandpaper and mounted on boards. They learn these sounds can be put together to form words. The foundation of the math work is the "golden bead" material. The children count these beads and learn how they group into units, tens, hundreds and even thousands.

Children from six to twelve undergo a very definite change. They become more social and peer oriented. They want to find out how and why. These children now are given many lessons in the form of stories. These stories are based on fact but told with a sense of wonder to fire the imaginations of the children. Some stories set the whole stage, such as the one about the formation of the universe. Others tell about natural laws such as how wind is created. After listening to these stories, the children are guided to do their own research and find out more about the subject. They often work in groups, stimulating each other by sharing information.

Language work continues, but now the children explore grammar and sentence structure. Spelling rules are given in the light of the history of the English language. The math work branches out so that the children are using concrete materials to explore fractions, algebra, squaring, geometry and more. The teacher gives lessons to keep the children interested in learning, observes the children so their needs can be met and guides the children in their choices. The Montessori program at Tobin is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and the requirements of Cambridge Public Schools.

The children at Tobin Montessori School are assessed in Math and Literacy by Cambridge Public Schools assessments, observations of the teachers and the administration of MCAS beginning in the 3rd grade.