Areas of Activity
Maria Montessori outlined four primary areas that provide the foundation for learning and development in a Montessori classroom.
Practical life activities are designed to mirror real-life experiences that children will encounter in their daily lives. The activities, which range from preparing snacks to cleaning tables, are designed to facilitate children’s development of fine motor skills, concentration, and self-confidence. Each activity is goal-directed and involves clear steps, thus allowing children to practice and master the task at hand. Practical Life activities fall into four main categories: care of self, grace and courtesy, control of movement, and care of the environment.
The Sensorial area of the Montessori classroom is designed to develop children’s skills in perception and discrimination. Each hands-on activity focuses the child’s attention on one quality such as color, weight, shape, size, texture, sound, or smell. Children use their senses to perceive patterns and small details. As concentration and perception are nurtured, fine motor skills are also developed as children use their hands to explore materials.
The Language area of the Montessori classroom builds early literacy skills by providing varied opportunities for children to develop communication skills and phonetic awareness. Montessori Language activities include listening for common sounds, learning letter shapes and sounds, naming or matching words to objects and pictures, practicing word lists, writing, sentence construction, grammar, and reading silently.
The Math area of the Montessori classroom is characterized by concrete, hands-on materials that encourage children to recognize numbers and quantity. These materials help children translate abstract number symbols into tangible quantities. Math activities include counting and the decimal system, memory work, concrete abstraction, arithmetic tables, and geometry. Montessori math activities are designed for the child to practice and repeat until individually ready to move onto more complex concepts.