Educational Services at Emunah Montessori Academy, A Summary

The Montessori Classroom:

At Emunah Montessori Academy, the guide or teacher often gives a one-on-one lesson to a younger child. In elementary, the teachers provide lessons in small groups. Dr. Montessori recognized that the social needs of the child change at this stage of life. In elementary, much of the work is collaborative.

It may be hard to spot the guide because, unlike in a traditional classroom, she is not standing up at the head of the class; She is sitting with her group at a table or on the ground. Once the children understand the concept and have reached a level of self-sufficiency, the guide will often leave and move on to another lesson while the children continue working independently.

Our Current Program:

Stage I

Our Montessori methodology services students from two and a half to age six, including kindergarten. This classroom is known as the primary class. The curriculum is based on the AMI teaching of each work or material located in the sensorial, mathematics, language, geography, zoology, and practical life shelves.

Reading and Writing

At Emunah Academy, we want the child to experience reading and writing as exciting and fun, not a mechanically learned chore. 
At times, reading and writing are taken for granted by adults. However, from a child's perspective, they are skills of Herculean difficulty. The Montessori approach uses a distinct set of practices that nurture a positive, natural learning experience to teach reading and writing. The curriculum teaches children the many elements of reading and writing in an accessible and enjoyable way.

Literacy is a complicated process involving the association of symbols with sounds, sounds with words, and words with ideas. Students must learn to encode ideas into symbols and decode symbols into ideas. Writing with a pen or pencil involves fine motor skills.

Children in a Montessori environment learn to write first before they learn to read. This approach is organic, as children can put the letters for the sounds they know together in a word before they are ready to interpret and string together the sound of a word on a page.

The first stage of learning language in the primary classroom is through Phonetic Objects and Vocabulary Picture cards. We invite the children to a work mat, & we introduce various miniature objects. We exaggerate the initial sound of each object. For example, in “This is a C-Cat,” The teacher plays an I-Spy game to determine if the students can connect the sound to the object. Once constancy is observed over time, we introduce the child to the next stage, which is connecting the concrete understanding of a sound to its abstract counterpart, the sandpaper letter.

Sandpaper letters incorporate the sense of touch to reinforce learning the phonetic sound. The student will build up to decoding &“writing” words via the movable alphabet. The moving alphabet is a compartmentalized box filled with wooden letters. The students will use these letters to build words & eventually, sentences. While the child learns the letter sound, he or she will trace it with their fingers on a textured sandpaper letter. Then the student will move on to learning strokes to write with chalk and later paper.

Once a child has learned how to use the letter sounds to construct words, he or she progresses to d joining words together into sentences. From there, the student explodes with enthusiasm and enjoys practicing writing. Naturally, reading comes as the next step.

The child discovers how to see the printed words on a piece of paper and decode their meaning. In the process of self-paced discovery, children exhibit a new, heightened interest in the written word.


Math is all around us; for a young child, words like “more, less, not enough, and share” are part of daily life. Math is inherently abstract and a language of precision that takes years to master. However, at its core are the basic foundations all children need to learn, counting, numeral identification, and basic mathematical operations.

In Montessori math, materials create a tactile experience for the child. Manipulatives allow the child to use their sense of touch to grasp mathematical concepts of quantity. Materials are made of wood and are painted pleasing colors when necessary. They weigh them, which helps small hands and muscles understand that one is less than 10 and 1000 is more than 100. Smooth wooden rods and heavy cubes help the child develop a concrete understanding of quantity.

Over their three years in the Montessori classroom, we introduce a child to the four mathematical operations in numerous ways and with multiple materials. Because the Montessori math curriculum moves from concrete to abstract, understanding of math operations develops over time. Children physically add, subtract, multiply, and divide with manipulatives before memorizing math facts.

Practical Life

Another foundation of the Montessori classroom is practical life. Practical life falls into four main categories: care of self, grace and courtesy, control of movement, and care of the environment. Through these exercises, the children develop eye-hand coordination and an ability to concentrate for long periods, which are vital tools for language and math.


The sensorial area in a Montessori classroom focuses on lessons and activities that help develop the five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. These lessons and activities help children clarify, classify, and comprehend abstract concepts. Our sensorial materials are designed with built-in feedback to highlight mistakes in real-time. Through immediate feedback, children will quickly correct their errors. When they do this, they feel accomplished and independent. Independence develops their self-confidence. When children are confident, they naturally want to practice and improve!

From a teaching perspective, we divide the sensorial area into six categories: size, form, color, tactile, gustatory, olfactory, and auditory. However, in practice in the classroom, we refer to the five senses, as explained above.


One of the many gifts of a Montessori education is a life-long enthusiasm for geography. Geography helps children place themselves on earth, and the Montessori approach to learning geography ignites innate care for the rivers, forests, oceans, and peoples. 
We divide geography into two areas: Physical Geography and Political Geography. Physical geography focuses on the earth's environment; political geography focuses on human adaptations, such as settlement and creating communities.
Geography is the most all-encompassing subject in the Montessori "cultural curriculum." This approach creates an understanding of the oneness of the human family while appreciating different cultures.

Botany and Zoology

In the Montessori world, most areas of study start with the big, overarching picture and gradually narrow down to specifics. This gives children a firm understanding and context which they can place the details Biology is the Montessori student’s gateway to sciences; Botany is a part of biology. With the Montessori approach, the study of botany embraces many subjects, such as:

  • Language
  • Practical life lessons
  • Mathematics
  • Art

The word ‘botany’ refers to nature. In Montessori, we teach children about having love and respect for nature. We also train our children how to differentiate between living and non-living things. This makes the child understand that plants and animals all have life, and all humans must respect that life and value the importance of all living things.

What better way to teach about our planet than, to begin with, a look at the five kingdoms? Montessori children learn about Monera, Protista, fungi, plants, and animals. These early lessons are simple; they describe the major defining characteristics of each kingdom and give a few examples of each (with pictures, of course). One neat feature of this work is that the lesson can be given to younger children as they first begin to learn about zoology but can be given again at a later age when children are ready to expand upon this knowledge. Science material that can be appreciated at different levels of learning is helpful in a multi-age classroom.

Our Future Classroom!

Stage II

Today, most parents work in or out of the home and seek care for their infants and toddlers. The Montessori Program begins at birth. In addition to establishing the elementary programs, our goal is to expand backward by adding a Nido (birth-third) class to prepare them for the primary program. Based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s years of observation and research, she strongly deemed the first six years as the most crucial phase known as the Absorbent Mind. Children develop cognitively, socially, and physically during these first few years. Thus, building a solid foundation for all future learning endeavors must start early!

Contrary to popular belief, Montessori isn't just a teaching style for pre-school and kindergarten. It is a versatile teaching method for children up to and, in rare instances, through their teenage years. While the foundational principles of Montessori teaching are the same for all Montessori classrooms, the techniques and skills used to teach different ages of children vary substantially.

Once a child moves up, they attend the Lower elementary classroom for students from age six and a half to nine years old, or First, Second and Third grade. The Lower Elementary program develops skills for their entire academic and professional life. The elementary program is a mixed-age classroom for children aged six to nine.

Children entering Lower Elementary are beginning their second plane of development. At this stage, children are endlessly curious and passionate about hands-on exploratory research. During their second plane of development, children start developing their reasoning.

Theoretical Foundation

The elementary curriculum is designed to develop critical thinking, foster self-management, and cultivate independence. The Montessori elementary curriculum teaches children that all living things are interdependent and only exist in the presence of each other. Within the context of Cosmic Education, the children begin to conceptualize an appreciation and awareness for the inter-relatedness of all living things.

Detailed Program

The program emphasizes self-directed inquiry. Students are immersed in a prepared environment to foster learning, using self-correcting materials that introduce concrete concepts.

A Typical Day at Emunah Academy

Each day students create their schedules, including:

  • Daily math, reading, language arts, sensorial, practical life activities, sciences, and cultural studies.
  • A three-hour concentrated work period allows students to manage and complete work at their own pace.
  • Children learn to initiate, choose, and complete work independently.

This personal independence and confidence are the foundation for academic excellence throughout the student's lifetime.

The Unique & Nurturing Relationship Between Emunah Teachers & Students

Through actively listening and a gentle approach, we assist in creating personal work plans. The Montessori method is non-intrusive but instead fosters self-discovery. Children progress from a variety of concrete experiences to an abstract awareness that encourages independence and confidence.

In an elementary classroom, our teachers guide students rather than dictate knowledge.

  • We partner with each student by closely observing each student's progress.
  • We offer the flexibility to teach individual and group lessons to accommodate the needs of each child.

Emunah Academy's Innovative Commitment to Teaching Hebrew & Jewish Studies

The Montessori method of teaching a second language follows the general Montessori principles of starting early, trusting your child, and pursuing their interests. The focus is on providing a stimulating environment in the second language activities that interest them, allowing them to experiment independently and not pushing them to activities they do not want to do.

Theoretical Foundation

At Emunah Academy, we follow the Montessori methods for teaching phonics, sandpaper letters & the movable alphabet by utilizing all our Hebrew materials as well as conversational with our Hebrew teachers. Once our students have a basic knowledge of Hebrew, they will have the skills to delve deeper into the Parsha and Midrash stories we learned in the Primary classroom.

Teaching Methods

  • The Montessori system of phonics creates a strong foundation in Alef Beis.
    • Sounds and names
    • Nekudos (vowels)
    • Reading words with accuracy and fluency.
  • The movable alphabet, a proven Montessori teaching method, is our foundation for teaching Hebrew. Our students will use the movable alphabet to create words & sentences.
    • The first step is to use the movable alphabet to create Shorashim (root words.) 
    • The second step is to master the basics of Hebrew grammar, including: 
      • Determining if a word is masculine or feminine 
      • How to turn the words from singular to Plural
      • Sounds & names
      • Nekudos (vowels)
      • Reading words with accuracy & fluency
      • Prefixes & suffixes
  • These skills will be the foundation for in-depth Torah study
    • Most Frequent Chumash
    • Videos Klaliyos (general Jewish knowledge)
    • Learning inside the Chumash
    • Rashi
    • Navi
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