In the Montessori classroom, we approach music as another language, a form of communication. The language of music has an auditory form as well as a written form. When the child enters the Toddler or Primary Community, he is in the stage of the Sensitive Period for the Refinement of the Senses. During this time, he can develop an extremely sensitive musical ear. The Montessori music curriculum is integrated into the daily workings of the community and follows the same pattern for acquiring any language. Through the Montessori music materials, the child is introduced to rhythm, pitch, and timbre, as well as notation. As the child moves into the Elementary Community, he has opportunities to compose and record music. Each year students perform on stage in our annual children’s opera.
Songwriters’ Guild: The students in The Duluth Montessori Songwriters’ Guild have written and recorded six original songs to date. The children take pride in working together through all elements of songwriting from composition to lyric development. Once the song is ready they travel to a professional recording studio to lay down the track and learn what it takes to mix elements together to create the final version of their song.
Annual Opera Workshop: In the five-day Youth Opera workshops, three elements of theatre – singing, dancing and acting – come together in an original children’s opera. During the month preceding opera week, the children and support team of adults begin the preliminary work: learning the story, text and music; preparing sets, props and costumes; and engaging in cultural studies related to the theme/culture of the opera. (Youth Opera International provides the libretto, musical score, and guidelines for casting, costuming, set design and props, along with a sample videotape and audiotapes for rehearsal.)
During opera week, each day is dedicated to rehearsals. The day begins with physical and vocal warm-ups, singing the cast songs, and learning the language of the theatre. By mid-week, rehearsals move to the performance space and staging is begun. After the dress rehearsal on Friday morning the hard work of parents, staff and children all culminates in an amazing performance on Friday night. This beautiful event is truly a highlight of our school year.
The goal of art education in the Montessori classroom is to offer experiences that contribute to the growth of the personality. The preliminary exercises introduce the child to color theory, color mixing, color shading and introduce the color spectrum. Other activities provide a foundation of experience in composition, design and technique. Lessons in art appreciation are a daily part of the classroom.
Art in the Montessori classroom is integrated into all areas of academic discipline. The child has the opportunity to utilize a variety of mediums to enhance his understanding of mathematical concepts, geographical regions or differences in written communication, for example.
The study of cultural subjects is presented in the Montessori classroom as a part of the whole. We speak of a cosmic curriculum which goes far beyond presenting isolated and unrelated subjects. Montessori points out that we must give the child a view of life that is all encompassing, a view which shows the child the interrelationship of all knowledge. Cosmic education is the study of all sciences and how they relate to one another and the life of the child.
Nature study is, like all other cultural subjects, presented in the Montessori classroom as part of a whole. All aspects of life on earth are important parts of a vast web of life so our approach to these subjects is to show the interrelationship.
The study of botany opens the child to the science of plant study. Our campuses house beautiful vegetable and flower gardens that are tended by the children. Through their work in the gardens the students gain hands-on experience with the cycle of growth and practice theories of chemistry, geology, and ecology.
The game of chess utilizes a great deal of concentration, logical thinking and creativity. Chess theory is complicated and requires scientific and mathematical thinking giving students a fun way to practice a variety of concepts.
In chess club the students learn the basic rules of play, strategy, and technique. As the year progresses the children participate in tournament play where they enjoy honing their skills.