Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that children could grasp abstract ideas better when physical objects represent them, so she designed materials that allow the child to proceed in graduated steps toward abstract thinking. Eventually the child will recognize that the mind is faster than the hand and his dependency on the material no longer becomes necessary. This preparatory work with manipulative objects leaves the child with life-long pictorials of abstract processes, which deepens the conceptual understanding. Indeed, current findings in the field of neuroscience substantiate the work that Dr. Montessori pioneered over one hundred years ago.
The Elementary Curriculum covers all the basics in math, language and the sciences. Montessori separated math and language, but grouped other disciplines under a “cultural” banner. While the following descriptions are presented as isolated curricula, in reality they are presented to the young student in a fully integrated, homogenized package. The teacher demonstrates the interrelated nature of information and encourages children to recognize the mathematical, biological and cultural aspects within every presentation, activity or project. Studies in cognitive neuroscience tell us that when information is presented in this manner students learn at a deeper, more enduring level.
Download "A Guide to the Montessori Educational System" (PDF)
Learn about Cottonwood School's Montessori-based curriculum