Imagine a bright room filled with children, some are composing music with a xylophone while their friends chime in with tone bells, one child is peeling banana slices for snack while across the room her friends are sorting geometric shapes. The teacher walks through the classroom and guides the students’ minds. This classroom is buzzing. It’s lively. It’s interactive. Learning is natural and self-directed, not forced.
Welcome to a day at Bright Horizons Montessori School in Orillia.
We welcome you to browse through our core program described below. Please note that in order to feed hungry minds, additional subjects include music, movement, art, nutrition, and French.
These activities are focused on tasks normally done in the home, such as folding laundry and pouring liquids. The purpose of these tasks is to help bridge the gap between home and school. They are the foundation of the program, as they settle the child into the school and assist in the development of important human qualities. In this area, children improve their co-ordination and lengthen their concentration span. They learn to pay attention to detail - as they follow a regular sequence of actions - and develop a sense of order. Finishing each task and putting away all the materials before starting another activity, establishes a sense of responsibility and good work habits. Finally, these exercises prepare the child for sensorial materials and materials which require fine motor control.
Children entering the program already have sensorial experiences from the environment. Sensorial exercises help them to organize their impressions by developing an awareness, understanding and refinement of their five senses. The material is designed to give knowledge along with the vocabulary to go with each sensation. When they apply their intelligence to the impressions given by their senses, the students learn to observe, co-ordinate, control, distinguish, categorize and relate new information to what they already know. These materials create a foundation which makes all future learning easier.
This area includes oral language development, written expression, grammar and reading. We have a French class every day. Students are introduced to the language area with the letters of the alphabet made from sandpaper. They learn the phonetic sounds by touching the letters and repeating the sound of each one, the students then learn the alphabetical names in sequence. Through exercises, games and activities, students progress from learning to read three letter phonetic words, to four or more letter phonetic words and later non-phonetic words. Dr. Montessori considered reading one of the most important keys to future learning. Subsequent research indicates that phonetics is the best way to teach reading, and that it is best taught before Grade 2. While many students leave the public school system without learning to read well, the graduates of a Montessori preschool enter public school Kindergarten reading at an advanced level.
We hope our students will become good "global citizens", and we try to foster an understanding and compassion for all forms of life throughout the world. Globes, cards and maps help to form concepts of land, water, continents, oceans and land forms, as well as specific places in the world and the planetary system. Various aspects of different cultures are taught to raise the children's awareness of the world at large. The basic tenets of environmentalism are also practiced.
Children learn best by combining the thought process with manipulation of equipment. Montessori students learn the concepts of quantity, symbol, sequence, operations and memorization of basic facts by using concrete mathematics materials that engage their hands and mind together. There are many materials designed for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, all featuring the decimal system.
The Montessori method aims to foster a love and appreciation for all living things. Children study the names, parts and life cycles of animals and plants. Our unique setting gives the students countless opportunities to relate classroom lessons with the real life scientific occurrences.
We start with an overall view and then focus on specific parts. The children are introduced to the concept of time first, then night and day, yesterday, today and tomorrow, the names of the days, months and seasons and young and old. Egg timers, time lines, pictures and golden bead material, are all used in this area.