Primary an overview
The primary curriculum at Sharanalaya is divided into five categories as follows:
- Exercises of Practical Life
- Sensorial Activities
- Exercises of Practical Life:
These are simple activities performed daily which man carries out in his environment in order to maintain & restore proper conditions. His purpose is utilitarian. The child from the moment he/she is born and enters the man-made environment has observed these activities and is familiar with them sweeping, cutting, greeting others, etc. The child shows great interest in these activities and tries to take part in them. In the child’s case, these activities have a more personal function. They are not merely preservative and restorative, but truly constructive.
Construction of the child himself:
For the child: – These are developmental & creative activities. These activities play a developmental and creative role because they are simple clear, have a purpose, and easily understandable procedure from start to finish. There is prominence of physical movements. Therein lies their developmental function. These activities help the child in his effort to strengthen and develop the foundation of his personality i.e., unity between THOUGHT, WILL, and ACTION.
The 4 groups of activities under Exercise of Practical Life that we present to the child in the House of Children are: To recognize, establish, maintain, and restore conditions:-
With regard to inanimate & animate environment E.g.: – Dusting, polishing, taking care of plants & animals.
With one’s own self E.g.:- Dressing, Combing, etc.
Social relations: – E.g.:-greeting, offering.
Elementary movements (carrying chowkis, putting down things, walking, etc.)
Care is taken to see that the materials are:
- Physically proportionate i.e., child size.
- Adapted to local culture
- Perfectly maintained.
- Sensorial Activities
These activities are offered to the child in a Montessori House of Children, as these are scientific materials, which are precise. They make the child aware of the physical properties of matter such as size, color, shape, and dimension. The tools are prepared to draw the attention of the child to the physical property only. Working with these materials the child becomes conscious of the three linear dimensions and other dimensional possibilities. These also help the child to acquire prehensile co-ordination of the 3 writing fingers to help him hold the pencil for writing. Memory and grading exercises are presented for some of the materials to further sustain interest and continue to work with material without getting bored. Name lessons are offered with precise names of objects to enrich the child’s vocabulary.
Arithmetic forms the basis of all the other branches of mathematics. We offer arithmetic at the age of three and half years. At this age, the child needs to know precise quantities; this is the awakening of the mathematical mind. The child in the House of Children will be called upon to do 3 things, which are most important in the field of Arithmetic.
- The child is first called upon to make proper association of names with quantities.
- Then he is given the association of the name with the symbols
- adapted to local culture
- Finally he is called upon to make a link between the quantity and the symbol via the names.
The child definitely needs some kind of proper assistance to do the above said things. The method of finding how many units are there in a quantity is what we call counting. The adult offers counting the units through the Number rods. This is the first material offered to the child in the House of Children. There are 10 rods; the child sees the quantities in succession and this is offered through name lessons from 1 to 10. We offer the child Decimal System through concrete material (Decimal system: Static and Dynamic part). We help the child understand that there are only 9 units in each hierarchy and the next unit will be the next level of hierarchy. After the child gets enough experience, he is introduced to the four arithmetic operations of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division. Gradually the child is offered a series of materials to understand abstract concepts. The child is given help to do these abstract concepts mentally.
In a Montessori classroom, vocabulary is enriched from the very beginning. Children are given the freedom to communicate in their own language though the adult speaks in a single medium. Activities like story time, song time, etc. add to the child’s inherent vocabulary. Language is a continuous and natural process in the Montessori House of Children.
In a HOUSE OF CHILDREN, under the activities in CULTURE, the child gets an introduction to topics covered under History, Geography, Science, etc.(E.g.: Globe & World Map for Geography, Simple Experiments for Science, Pictures on Historical Figures e.g.: Nehru for History). Gardening and Games are also organized as Group Activities every week. Gardening is done as part of our ongoing effort to expose children to nature, enjoy and appreciate the World around them. We have Organized Games, once a week, not so much for the competitive nature, but just to show the way to play in a group and follow simple instructions. Some simple Experiments are shown to the children, where not so much explanations are given, but the children are allowed to observe, reflect, and arrive at their own conclusions. Some of these experiments are left in the shelves, for children to work with e.g.: Magnetism, Solubility, etc.