Our Curriculum
We are excited you want to learn more about our school and its curriculum. At Habitat, we follow the Montessori teaching philosophy developed by Italian Physician Dr. Maria Montessori. The Montessori Method consists of many elements working in collaboration, such as the following:

  • A child-initiated approach to learning. Children are free to engage in specially prepared activities in an environment that encourages exploration. You will see this in the way the Habitat classrooms are set up, the design of the materials used, and the role the teachers play in guiding the children’s learning.
  • Multi-age grouping of children in a collaborative, non-competitive environment enables students to learn from one another, gain autonomy, and develop positive self-esteem. In addition, the classroom provides a community-like setting where learning can take place naturally. Younger children learn from older children, while the more experienced children reinforce what they have learned by assisting others. At Habitat, both our toddler and 3-to-6 classrooms embrace an age range that allows this learning to take place.
  • Environment that encourages learning through active manipulation of materials – the way young children learn best. Through this hands-on exploration, children are given the opportunity to reach their full physical, emotional, social, and intellectual potential. At Habitat, the materials are all child-sized and, where possible, self-correcting to foster independence.
  • Each child moves at his or her own pace. Teachers make observations about each child’s interests and abilities, allowing the teachers to introduce new materials when a child shows readiness. At Habitat, our teachers ensure there is a “prepared environment” that enables children to pursue their sensitive periods for learning various concepts.

The Habitat curriculum is designed to inspire children to develop a life-long love of learning. Please take a few minutes to further explore our curriculum.

Practical Life – For young children, there is something special about tasks which an adult considers ordinary – washing dishes, paring vegetables, polishing shoes. They allow children to imitate the independence of adults, one of the strongest urges during children’s early years. In the practical life areas at Habitat, children perfect their coordination and become absorbed in activity. They gradually lengthen their span of concentration. Children also learn to pay attention to details as they follow a regular sequence of actions. Finally, they learn good working habits as they finish each task and put away all the materials before beginning another activity.

Sensorial Exercises – The Sensorial Materials are designed to educate the senses. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, they assist the child’s concentration and ability to perceive and make judgments. In the Habitat classroom, Sensorial Materials help children to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what they already know. Some of these materials form the basis for mathematics.

Mathematics – After Dr. Montessori observed that children who became interested in counting liked to touch or move the items as they enumerate them, she designed concrete materials to represent all types of quantities. By combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, counting it, and comparing it, children can demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of mathematics. Children at Habitat never sit down to memorize addition and subtraction facts; they never simply memorize multiplication tables. Rather, they learn these facts by actually performing the operations with concrete materials.

Language In a Montessori classroom, children learn the phonetic sounds of the letters before they learn the alphabetical names in a sequence. The phonetic sounds are given first because these are the sounds they hear in words. At Habitat, children are introduced to language through progressive activities designed to build a strong foundation for reading. They begin by learning key sounds with materials such as the phonetic boxes, and then move to encoding words with the Moveable Alphabet. From there, they begin to decode words – a key skill for reading.

Writing Montessori offers children a natural opportunity to prepare their hands for holding a pencil and aids children in the progression to writing. Practical Life and Sensorial Materials at the earliest stages provide small motor and sensory experiences to strengthen and promote successful hand-eye coordination. Materials such as push pinning, tracing, and metal insets are just a few of the exercises that lead the child into writing. Sandpaper Letters and the Moveable Alphabet are the foundation of phonetic exercises which will light the flame and ignite the fire into the joy of writing. Further, at Habitat, we utilize the writing program Handwriting Without Tears to reinforce these skills. 

Outdoor Education and Play – The children use the outdoors as an extension of the classroom. Daily, the children explore and play outdoors. In the spring, they help cultivate the Habitat Garden. It is wonderful to see the excitement in children’s eyes when they see a tomato grow from a seed to a plant to a fruit, and ultimately to an edible delight! Then, families are invited to participate in the harvest by visiting the Habitat garden over the summer and early fall to enjoy its produce in their homes.

Science and Nature  Discovery projects and experiments help foster a child’s natural curiosity. The plant and animal kingdoms are studied in an orderly fashion to nurture a love and appreciation for all living things. For example, at Habitat the children study leaves and trees, as well as fruits and vegetables. Live animals in the classrooms — whether a rabbit, guinea pig, or gecko — allow the children to learn to care for living creatures.

Geography – The globe and flat maps are a central part of the Montessori classroom for learning many different concepts. When beginning to learn about geography, children use the maps simply as puzzles. Gradually, they learn the names of many of the countries, as well as information about climate and products. Specific continents and countries of the world are introduced throughout the year. Children also learn the common land formations such as islands and peninsulas by shaping them. At Habitat, geography is further reinforced with cultural activities which bring different areas of the world to life.

Cultural Awareness – The children gain an awareness of the world around them by exploring other countries, their customs, food, music, climate, language and animals. This helps to raise their consciousness of other people, to gain an understanding and tolerance and, therefore, compassion for all the people in the world. At Habitat, students study different cultures and parts of the world throughout sessions in the classroom, as well as during special programs such as International Peace Day, Native American Pow Wow, India Diwali, Earth Day, and others.

Music – At Habitat, music finds its way into all aspects of the classroom – as subtle background during work time, or songs during Spanish time, as an integral part of the cultural curriculum, and as a form of celebration and fun. All types of music are integrated to cultivate music appreciation.

Art – Art is also explored in formal and informal settings at Habitat. Throughout the year, the students will learn about specific artists and their styles. They also get to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art and explore the differences in focus and mediums of many artists. Children can become little artists themselves as many of the jobs in the classroom integrate an aspect of art.

Extras – Spanish is taught in the 3-to-6 Classrooms on a weekly basis. Further, field trips supplement what the children learn across various aspects of the curriculum whether it be exploring musical instruments at the local music center, attending a Native American Pow Wow, or participating in dance at one of the dance academies.

The Elementary Program focuses on developing the whole child through interaction with an inter-disciplinary curriculum. Our program specifically meets the needs of each child and is aligned with Indiana State Standards. Children are in a mixed age grouping to foster leadership, peer teaching and spontaneous group interaction. Each student learns to be successful and excel in a way that is meaningful and natural to them. The teacher has the dual role of acting as a catalyst through teacher-initiated actives and as a nurturer of the child's self-discovery.

The Montessori curriculum is interdisciplinary; subjects are studied together, not in isolation. The integrated curriculum offers the child learning opportunities which result in a strong foundation in the core subjects are: Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Math. The classroom is set up so that children have a number of goals to reach within a three year cycle.

Language - includes reading, writing, spelling and grammar with: phonogram study, comprehension skills, penmanship, poetry, vocabulary, dictionary usage and creative writing.

Math - includes the four operation taught from the concrete level to abstraction. Other areas of mathematics included are geometry, fractions, time, money and measurement.

History - includes detailed study of time, the time-line of life, the fundamental needs of people and how they are met in various cultures.

Geography - includes detailed study of the continents and oceans, earth science and the study of counties, their landforms and landmarks.

Botany - includes the five kingdoms of classification for living organism. Plant identification, anatomy and gardening.

Zoology - includes an overview of the animal kingdom, exploring animal functions and their role in the earth’s biomes.

Chemistry - includes an introduction to basic atomic and molecular theory, elements,, compounds and mixtures and states of matter presented in an easy to understand matter.

Practical Life - lessons are made available including grace and courtesy as life skills that foster independence and self-reliance.

Art and Music - are also included with an outlined curriculum to include exploration opportunities as well as structured studies of artists and composers.

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