Practical Life

Practical life exercises are the basis of the Montessori environment. Not only do they promote concentration, but they help children grow in independence and develop a spirit of friendliness and helpfulness.

Life Exercises include many familiar objects – buttons, brushes, dishes, pitchers, water, and a variety of other things that the child recognizes from his home environment. Although these activities may seem simple and commonplace, they actually form an integral part of the Montessori program. Each task helps students to perfect coordination, enabling him to incorporate more intricate academic materials as he progresses.

  1. Manipulative Skills: pouring, carrying, and sorting containers/books
  2. Self-Development Skills: social graces, courtesy, and personal care
  3. Caring for the Environment: sweeping, washing, dusting, and polishing


Sensorial Materials teach children to recognize what they see. Equipment is designed to refine the senses, helping children learn to compare, contrast, and distinguish between objects.

Each of the sensorial materials isolates a defining quality, such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, smell, etc.


At Alpine Montessori in Sparta and Oak Ridge, we use the Open Court phonics system along with the Montessori Method.  We use the Lippincott Shapebook and Letterbook series.  The reading skills that children acquire will make future days in school a rich, productive, and enjoyable experience.

To be able to write, a child must develop a two-fold skill.  They must commit to memory the shape of the letters and their corresponding sounds, and develop the muscular skills necessary for using a pencil with control.  In our classrooms, we also use sandpaper letters and a movable alphabet to assist in learning letters and sounds.  Metal Insets are also used in the classroom to develop pencil control.  These two skills are combined together to aid in learning to write. A child must commit to memory the shape of the letters and their corresponding sounds and develop the muscular skill necessary for using a pencil with control.

Word-building exercises are used; e.g., matching words and pictures.

As part of our daily program, we include activities that introduce students to several foreign languages, such as Spanish, Italian, Japanese and American Sign Language.

Oak Ridge: Spanish, Italian

Sparta: Spanish, Japanese, ASL


Children build up their concept of numbers and their ability to concentrate through the manipulation of concrete materials. Dr. Montessori designed these concrete materials to represent all types of quantities after she observed that children who becomes interested in counting likes to touch or move the items as they enumerate them. In a Montessori environment, children not only sees the symbol for 1, 1000 or ½, they can also hold each of the corresponding quantities in their hands.

Later, by combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, counting it, and comparing it, they can demonstrate the basic operations of math.


Puzzle maps help children to visualize their world. Children are encouraged to become aware of their own culture, as well as to be accepting of others. Through these maps, children learn geographical skills such as the names of countries and information about them.


From botany and zoology puzzles to card games and booklets, our wide range of science activities will broaden children’s awareness of the world around them.  Students will carry out various science experiments in the classroom, helping each child to become more observant of environmental concerns and characteristics.


An art easel is provided in the classroom and available each day for children’s individual use.  Numerous art projects are incorporated into our program throughout the year.

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