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Our Curriculum

Our Montessori curriculum covers all six areas, namely: Practical Life, Sensorial Awareness, Mathematics, Language and Literacy, Cultural Studies (Geography, History and Science) and Creative Subjects (Art & Craft, Music & Movement, and Drama).


Practical Life

Maria Montessori saw that very young children are frequently frustrated in their attempts to do things for themselves and that what they need is to have specific exercises, as closely linked to real life as possible, that allow them to master the tasks that they see going on around them in everyday life. She also saw that, unlike the adults in their lives, the children are not interested in achieving end results as quickly as possible, but are far more interested in the learning processes. As a result they will happily repeat exercises again and again until they feel satisfied. Practical life activities are therefore an important part of the CMN environment. The young child is attracted to activities that they see going on around them, and that gives the child independence and control of their own lives. Therefore in the CMN classroom, materials and exercises are introduced that allow children the maximum possible opportunity to learn how to both look after themselves and their environment. In the practical life area you will see things such as special frames to help children learn to do up and undo clothes, lots of spooning and pouring exercises, stirring, whisking and grating trays, cutting and threading activities and many other common household activities. Practical life also includes helping children do other important tasks such as opening and closing doors, carrying trays and chairs, washing and drying hands, caring for books and blowing noses!


The Sensorial Materials

The need for order, exactness, self-correction and quiet reflection all are qualities that Maria Montessori saw are needed in order for children to develop as they should. When she saw that children are particularly drawn to certain activities she then concentrated on developing materials that would extend that interest. She carefully took each of the senses and thought how best she could help the children to clarify and expand their existing experiences. By isolating specific qualities in the materials and by grading each set in ever-refined series, she was able to give the children the ability to increasingly refine each of their senses. At CMN many of the exercises in this area are also indirect preparations for later mathematics and language work as they enable the child to order, classify, and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass and colour.



Maria Montessori believed that children have mathematical minds and she revolutionised the way in which mathematics is taught. She developed a wonderful set of materials, many of which have now been copied by educators throughout the world. Within CMN classrooms, the mathematical concept is presented firstly in a very concrete form followed by the abstract version. The materials for mathematics introduce the concept of quantity using the numbers 1 through to 10. By using a variety of beads and symbol cards, the child becomes familiar with the numbers as a decimal system. Concrete experiences include the operation of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This not only teaches the child to calculate, but also provides a deeper understanding of how numbers function.



Maria Montessori was a great believer in indirect preparation. By this we mean that she found clever ways in which children can learn how to do things without even realising that is what they are doing. For example, she created sets of metal insets that children use for drawing but that actually help form the fine motor skills for subsequent writing. Many of the practical life and sensorial exercises were designed with this in mind. When the child is ready, we begin to teach the phonetic sounds of the letters; then we move on to word building and recognition, and then book reading. She found that writing comes as part of the child’s natural desire to express his or her new knowledge and nearly always precedes reading. One of the most wonderful times for children and teachers is when the children share the excitement of finding that they can put their thoughts down on paper and there is a subsequent explosion into emergent writing.


Cultural Studies

Maria Montessori saw that young children were full of curiosity and loved exploring new things for themselves. She also saw that they wanted to explore things in increasingly complex ways. When she experimented with what they might be interested in, she was astonished just how much they wanted to know and how much they were able to remember. She therefore tried to find ways to help them understand the world beyond their own environments. She developed a wide range of beautiful materials that allowed the children to gain an appreciation of biology, geography, simple science and history. Each of these areas then allowed the children to explore and experiment with concepts such as metamorphosis, life cycles, land formations, the planets and time lines. At CMN we let the children lead in their interests and you will be surprised to find that they, very easily, learn not only the simple, but also the technical names of the new things that they are introduced to. In fact, CMN children frequently astonish adults with their in-depth knowledge of the subjects they are studying.


Art and Creativity

We at CMN feel that it is very important for children to be allowed to express themselves freely. We are aware, however, that they are sometimes frustrated by the fine motor skills they need for such things as cutting and gluing. Therefore, the CMN classroom offers many indirect activities that help children develop the necessary abilities. Our Montessori environment is full of opportunities to experiment with different and exciting materials. Whether involved in painting, singing, playing instruments or dancing, children are allowed to be individuals, free to express their feelings and emotions and free to enjoy the rich worlds of movement, sound, colour and sensation.



Montessori schools tend to offer the children activities that are based upon real activities in the real world. Montessori felt that very young children need experiences rooted in the real world. In a Montessori school, therefore, you are much more likely to see children doing real washing, cleaning and cooking rather than pretending to do such activities.



Being outdoors is very important. Our outdoor learning environment offers opportunities for children to develop gross motor skills as they climb, jump and swing, and also social skills as they take turns on equipment, or play hide and seek. We believe strongly that children should be in touch with the substance of their world, therefore encouraging work with clay, gardening and growing activities and even building little houses. Contrary to the belief that a sandpit has no place in a Montessori nursery, it has been suggested that Maria Montessori invented the idea.


Social Skills

Children aren't born with an innate knowledge of why we shake hands, or kiss, or rub noses depending on our culture. At the CMN classroom children learn appropriate greetings. As they become aware of other cultures they are encouraged to celebrate differences and value them equally. During circle time, children are shown how to move quietly and carefully around the classroom, push in chairs, wait patiently before politely gaining someone’s attention and are reminded of the importance of allowing others to work undisturbed. These ground rules in the classroom give every child total security. Children also learn to notice if somebody needs help, also learning that nobody is too small to be useful.


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