The curriculum at Koru Montessori is closely tied to the Montessori method of education and the Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whaariki ~ He Whariki Matauranga mo nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa. The environment is kept peaceful, calm and orderly. The materials engage the child and provide the keys to many different aspects of learning. The classroom is divided into areas of activity relating to practical life, sensorial development, language, mathematics, science, geography, history, music, nature, art, dance grace and courtesy, gross motor experiences and communication.

Children’s cultural heritage is acknowledged and the centre regards cultural diversity as a cause for celebration. Natural science, care for the environment and outdoor education are important elements of children’s experience including care of animals and the garden.

The Montessori classroom is designed to meet the size, pace and interests of the children. The materials are arranged on low shelves within easy reach of even the youngest children. The Montessori materials  are divided into:

Practical Life activities:
These activities assist the child to develop independence, confidence, coordination and concentration. They satisfy the child’s need for meaningful activity. These activities can include food preparation, using kitchen tools such as a spoon, tongs, chopsticks, jugs to transfer water or everyday ingredients.  For the young child there is something special about the tasks that an adult considers ordinary, for example washing dishes, polishing a silver plate or shoes, sweeping the floor. They are exciting for the child because they allow them to imitate the adult. These vital activities in the Montessori classroom prepare the child for more concentrated and intricate materials.

Sensorial Exercises:
A young child experiences the world around them through the constant use of all their senses. The sensorial exercises sharpen the child’s observation skills by helping them to become aware of details such as colour, weight, shape, texture, size, sound and smell. The materials emphasize one particular quality by eliminating or minimizing other differences. Dr  Montessori believed that this process of learning to discriminate and categorize is the beginning of conscious knowledge and prepares the child for further exploration and learning.

Language and Literacy:
To be able to write, a child needs to be able to remember the shape of the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sounds. They must also develop the muscular skill necessary for using a pencil. The Montessori language materials are designed to offer the child the opportunity to learn the shapes and sounds of each letter in a way that is completely independent from his perfection of the motor skill. The child also learns to write but performing a number of purposefully structured activities that prepare them both indirectly and directly for handwriting.

Mathematics:
The Montessori mathematics materials present the child with concrete, hands on materials during the years when they enjoy manipulating equipment.  Dr Montessori demonstrated that if a child has access to mathematical equipment in his early years, he can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. For example the child not only sees the symbols for 1, 10, 100, 1000 they can hold each of the corresponding quantities in their hand. Later they then combine this equipment, separate it, share it, count it and compare it which demonstrates the basic operations of arithmetic.

 

Cultural Curriculum:
This includes Geography, Botany, Biology, Arts and Music
A Montessori classroom offers many opportunities for children to expand their knowledge at a time when they are motivated by spontaneous interest. Large wooden puzzle maps of the world and its continents are used by the children initially as a puzzle but gradually they learn the names for the many countries. The materials provide opportunities for learning about flags, cultural, habitat and climatic differences and similarities.

The children are also introduced to history as a series of sequential events that occur using timelines. This includes their own timeline from birth to their present age.

Montessori classrooms have beautiful wooden puzzles and sets of nature cards that illustrate the parts of plants and animals. Through working with the materials the children become observant of the world around them and gain and understanding and vocabulary to describe their environment at an age when their natural curiosity leads them to discover rather than by being told.

Koru also takes these materials into the outdoor environment, where the children are actively engaged in caring for the animals (rabbit, cat, hens), the gardens and the environment. Koru Montessori uses environmentally sustainable practices including organic gardening sprays and cleaning products, recycling, composting and a worm farm.

Group singing, music appreciation, creative arts, crafts, poetry and games are all incorporated into the programme.