A Montessori Classroom is divided into several sections, with four main areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, and Language. Each area provides materials specifically targeted to skill development within that domain.
The Practical Life Area, also known as Everyday Living, focuses on the development of social skills, independence, responsibility, motor skills and control, and self-discipline. Students receive demonstrations and engage in a variety of activities in six areas:
- Preliminary activities that involve maintenance of the environment, such as putting away a chair, pouring water, and rolling out a mat for work.
- Care of Self activities that involve hygiene and dressing activities, such as zipping, tying, buttoning, and washing hands.
- Care of the Environment activities that involve folding towels, wiping up a spill, using a dustpan and broom, washing tables, and watering plants.
- Grace and Courtesy lessons such as saying please and thank you, getting someone’s attention politely, greeting someone, and proper table manners.
- Fine Motor activities such as transferring items using tongs and tweezers, cutting, lacing and threading, and opening and closing containers.
- Life Skills activities such as setting a table, wrapping a present, cutting a banana, sharpening pencils, and hammering a nail.
The Sensorial Area focuses on learning through the senses, and is a precursor to many math concepts. Students use materials that differ by size, shape, color, temperature, weight, texture, taste, and smell.
The Mathematics Area engages children on a concrete level so that they are later able to move to the abstract. They begin to understand concepts such as number, addition, subtraction, fractions, square and cube, and time.
The Language Area addresses the complex process involved in developing spoken language, writing, and reading. Children practice the development of sound discrimination, visual discrimination, fine motor skills for handwriting, letter recognition, print knowledge, sequencing, vocabulary, comprehension, and many other skills needed to write and read.