Overview 3-6 year

Practical Life

Practical life forms the core of the child’s work.  This area aids the child’s development in: care of the person, care of the environment, control of movement and social relations.  This area is the foundation for subsequent academic learning because it provides:

  1. A sense of order; a task’s beginning, middle, and end
  2. A sense of independence- “I can do it by myself.”
  3. A sense of coordination- the child brings his/her muscles under his/her own control.
  4. Most important of all, an ability to concentrate, because learning can only occur when concentration is present.

Tasks are broken down into simple steps so that the children learn to button, tie, zip, buckle, pour, wash tables and chairs, polish silvers, brass and wood, wash and hang clothes, sweep the floor, prepare and serve food for themselves and others, all with grace and courtesy.  As soon as the child has the basis for integrity; given by the experiences of practical life, she/he moves to sensorial.

Major Components of Practical Life

  1. Transitional Materials
  2. Puzzles
  3. Bead Stringing
  4. Peg Boards
  5. Nesting Barrels
  6. Stacking Towers
  7. Pop-it Beads
  8. Care of Person
  9. Personal Care and Habits
  10. Dressing Frames
  11. Grooming

III.  Care of the Environment

  1. Bathroom Structure and Procedures
  2. Carrying (rugs, trays, boxes, chairs, tables, etc.)
  3. Cleaning
  4. Polishing
  5. Care of Plants/Classroom Animals
  6. Food Preparation
  7. Outdoor Environment
  8. Fine Muscle Development
  9. Pouring (dry and liquid)
  10. Squeezing (grasping, clamping, sorting, bubbles, tongs, droppers, scissors, pasting, etc.)
  11. Twisting (spooning, screw drivers, lids and containers, suds whipping, hammering, etc.)
  12. Gross Muscle Development
  13. Indoor/Outdoor Play and Games
  14. Social Development
  15. Snack Time
  16. Grace and Courtesy

VII.  Control of Movement

  1. Walking on a line
  2. Silence
  3. Line Activities

Sensorial Area

Between birth and six years, the child has a special sensitivity to sensorial impressions.  Therefore, Dr. Montessori designed sensorial materials to help the child develop his/her senses and powers of observation.  This development of children’s physical sense enhances their readiness for greater intellectual work. The child works with Montessori sensorial materials designed to develop and train his/her sense of:

  1. Taste: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, etc.
  2. Hearing: pitch, tone, loud and soft, etc.
  3. Sight: many series of blocks for long and short, broad and narrow, small large, and puzzles with geometric shapes
  4. Touch: smooth and rough, hot and cold, heavy and light, etc.
  5. Smell: spices, herbs, flower scents, etc.

There are also activities for the development of the senses of balance, and concepts such as shortest to longest, smallest to biggest, smooth to rough, and color tints.

Through the use of these materials, children begin to sharpen their awareness and increase their perception of the world around them.

Major Components of Sensorial

  1. Visual Sense
  2. Sizes
  3. Colors
  4. Forms
  5. Muscular-Tactile Sense (Touch)
  6. Finger Sensitizing
  7. Surfaces
  8. Textures
  9. Stereognosis (Tactile Discrimination)
  10. Temperature Discrimination
  11. Pressure/Weight Discrimination

III.  Auditory Sense

  1. Sounds
  2. Tones
  3. Olfactory
  4. Smell Discrimination
  5. Gustatory
  6. Taste Discrimination


Concepts of Montessori math are always first presented in concrete, manipulative terms, and only later when the child has understood the meaning and use of symbols by using Montessori materials are more abstract forms introduced.  The materials are designed to help the child understand basic mathematical concepts, beginning with 1-10 (sandpaper numbers), associating quantity and numerals (spindle boxes) and extending to the concepts of the decimal system and place value.  As the child progresses, materials such as the bead stair are used for working with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Children in a Montessori class never sit down to memorize addition and subtraction facts; they don’t simply memorize multiplication tables.  Rather, they learn these facts by actually performing the operation with physical materials.

Major Components of Mathematics

  1. History of Mathematics
  2. Number Sense
  3. Numbers to Ten
  4. Number Rods
  5. Sandpaper Numbers
  6. Number Rods & Number Cards
  7. Zero Activity
  8. Spindle Boxes
  9. Memory Game of Numbers
  10. Numbers & Counters
  11. Math Step Board
  12. Short Bead Stair
  13. Teens & Tens
  14. Formation of Quantities 11 to 19 with Bead Material
  15. Formation of Numerals 11 to 1 with Teen Boards
  16. Teen Frame
  17. Formation of Quantities 10 to 90 with Bead Material
  18. Introducing the Numerals 10 to 90 with Ten Boards
  19. Formation of Quantities 11 to 99 with Bead Material
  20. Formation of Numerals 11 to 99 with Ten Boards
  21. Hundred Board

III.  Decimal System

  1. Introducing the Decimal System
  2. Bead Material
  3. Presentation with the Large Number Cards
  4. Counting the Decimal System Material
  5. Counting the Large Number Cards
  6. Combining the Decimal System
  7. Bead Material & Number Cards
  8. Change (Bank) Game
  9. The Four Operations:
  10. Stamp Game:
  11. Dot Game
  12. Short Chains
  13. Long Chains
  14. Addition (short bead stair, small number rods, snake game, strip board)
  15.   Subtraction (short bead stair, small number rods, negative snake game, strip board)
  16. Multiplication (multiplication board)
  17. Division (division board)

Language Area

Although language is one the four basic learning areas in a Montessori class, it spans every other area.  Language consists of verbal skills, visual perception, and small muscle coordination. Therefore, language education begins with listening games, training the hand with the metal insets and puzzles, and familiarizing the child with the symbols of the alphabet using the sandpaper letters.  The period for writing generally occurs between ages 3-1/2 and 4-1/2, and development in this area leads directly into the period for reading between 4 and 5.


A complete reading system is available to the students.  Through the use of these materials, students gain an understanding that separate sounds can be blended together to make words.  Even the learning of reading incorporates movement, from the tracing of the sandpaper letters to manipulating the letters of the movable alphabet to form words.

Major Components of Language

  1. History of the Written Language
  2. Phonetics
  3. Phonetic Objects
  4. Phonetic Pictures
  5. Phonetic Picture Cards
  6. Phonetic Booklets
  7. Phonetic Word Lists
  8. “I Spy” With Sound Pouches
  9. Combining Sandpaper Letters & Objects from the Sound Pouches
  10. Pink, Blue, Yellow Material (consonant-vowel-consonant, double consonant blends, etc.)

III.  Writing

  1. Metal Insets
  2. Sandpaper Letters
  3. Phonetic Alphabet Scrapbook
  4. Placing Letters on Lines
  5. Printing and Sound Booklets
  6. Large Movable Alphabet
  7. Creative Writing
  8. Language
  9. Language Mystery Bag
  10. Parts of Speech
  11. Introducing the Noun
  12. Naming the Farm/House with Nouns
  13. Introducing the Article
  14. Naming the Farm/House with Nouns & Articles
  15. Introducing the Adjective
  16. Naming the Farm/House with Nouns, Articles & Adjectives
  17. Introducing the Verb
  18. Naming the Farm/House with Nouns, Articles, Adjectives & Verbs
  19. Word Bank Activity
  20. Literature/Reading
  21. Reciting Poetry and Songs
  22. Children’s Storybooks
  23. Non-fiction Text
  24. High-Frequency Sight Words (HFSW)
  25. Sight Word Bingo

Geography /Cultural Studies/Science and Nature

The children are introduced to the three basic elements: land, air, and water.  At first, the students use large wooden continent puzzle maps simply as puzzles.  Gradually they learn the names of the continents, and then move on to country maps, studying climate, people and products.  Culture units then cover food, dress and music from different countries, while typical geography units include world flags, land formations, the globe, beginning mapping (exploration of the neighborhood) and even the solar system.  Hands-on projects reinforce geographic concepts, such as actually making island and peninsula land formations out of clay.


Students learn science and nature through simple experiments with familiar materials, such as sink/float and magnetic/non-magnetic as well as hands-on experiences of gardening, seeds and flowers.  The students will also classify living/non-living, plant/animal and vertebrate/invertebrate.  Classroom science units cover such topics as minerals, the official cycle of a butterfly, bones and skeletons, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds.  In addition, the calendar, seasons and telling time will be covered.

Major Components of Culture/Science

  1. Introduction to Geography
  2. Land, Water & Air
  3. The Globe
  4. The Continents
  5. Geography Pictures
  6. The Continent Puzzle Maps
  7. Land and Water Forms
  8. Flags of the World
  9. Introduction to History
  10. The Calendar
  11. Seasons
  12. Sequence of Day
  13. Family Tree
  14. “Walk Around the Sun” Birthday Celebrations
  15. Time Line of Child’s Life
  16. Stories of Famous People

III.  Introduction to Botany

  1. Introducing the Plant
  2. Parts of the Plant
  3. Parts of the Root
  4. The Function of the Root
  5. Parts of the Stem
  6. The Function of the Stem
  7. Parts of the Leaf
  8. Parts of the Flower
  9. Parts of the Fruit
  10. Parts of the Seed
  11. Growing Plants
  12. Introduction to Zoology
  13. Vertebrates and Invertebrates
  14. Classes of Animal Folders
  15. Animals of the World
  16. The Fish
  17. The Frog
  18. The Turtle
  19. The Bird
  20. The Horse
  21. Introduction to Science
  22. Magic Mixture
  23. Vanishing Sugars
  24. Disappearing Water
  25. How Hard is Ice?
  26. Sink or Float
  27. Volcanoes
  28. Sickly Plants
  29. Colored Carnations
  30. Magnetic Attraction
  31. Copper Cleaning