The Best Start In life For Your Children
“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.” - Maria Montessori
Dr Maria Montessori was the first person to recognise the importance of the early years. She came to realise that children were capable of extraordinary independence and developmental growth if they were allowed to work freely and without constant adult interference. Her intense scientific observation of the child from birth to maturity allowed her to discover a number of unique developmental principles. These, together with a vast range of self-teaching materials, came to be known as the Montessori Method of Education.
Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm according to their individual capabilities.
“Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.” - Maria Montessori
The Montessori Practical Life materials allow the child to develop key life skills, improve concentration and gain independence. In the Montessori classroom, there are four groups of practical life exercises:
Practical Life Exercises
Care of Person (Washing Hands, Buttoning, Zipping, Blowing Noses, Etc.)
Care of Environment (Cleaning, Sweeping, Gardening, Polishing Etc)
Exercises in Grace and Courtesy (Greeting, Apologizing, Thanking Etc.)
Elementary Movement (Balancing, Carrying Objects, Walking Quietly, Etc.)
“Imagination can have only a sensorial basis. The sensory education which prepares for accurate perception of all different details in the qualities of things is the foundation of all observation. This helps us to collect from the external world the material for the imagination.” - Maria Montessori
Children live in a world of senses. Through sight, touch, sound, taste and smell, the sensorial Montessori materials enable them to clarify, classify and comprehend their world.
The concepts of long and short are perceived in the red rods. Rough and smooth are experienced by touching rough and smooth sandpaper. The Montessori sensorial exercises include a wealth of sorting and grading activities, using all to the senses and including extensive work with shape and colour.
Preschool-aged children have naturally mathematical minds. Montessori mathematical materials allow children to begin their mathematical journey from the concrete to the abstract through manipulation, experimentation and invention.
Rods, spindles, cards, beads, cubes, and counters are some of the concrete tools used to symbolize mathematical abstraction. The child does not merely learn to count; she understands the concept of ‘how many’ because she holds the amount in her hands. Likewise, she is able to perform the operations of addition and subtraction using concrete materials.
The Montessori classroom emphasizes spoken language as the foundation for all linguistic expression. Throughout the environment, the child hears and uses precise vocabulary for all the activities, learning the names of textures, geometric shapes, plants, mathematical operations and so on. In addition, the child is exposed to a wealth of storytelling, rhymes, music, poetry, listening, and speaking opportunities.
Reading and writing are learned through a systematic phonic approach, starting with the twenty-six sounds of the alphabet and moving on to word building, blending sound together to form words, and learning high-frequency sight words.
The children are introduced to French through a variety of games, songs and stories. We cover such topics as greetings, numbers, colours, animals and families.
Topic work introduces the child to explorations in nature study, botany, science, history, geography, and conservation. The children work in the garden, sweeping, composting, planting, and harvesting vegetables. They are introduced to science through experiments and exploration. Globes, maps, flags and models of land and water formations allow the children to explore the world’s continents, oceans, people and customs. A variety of topics are investigated, following the interests of the children and using a wide range of equipment and resources.
A school that sings is a happy school! Opportunities for singing, dancing, beating time, playing musical instruments, including some unusual ones from a variety of cultures and moving to rhythms are part of our daily life.
We are very lucky to have the amazing Mrs Herbert, our specialist music teacher, who comes in to work with the children on a Monday and Thursday. We also hold a Christmas, summer and Harvest Concerts.
Opportunities for the children to create and express themselves through art and craft are integrated into the environment as part of the day-to-day activities. A wealth of materials are provided and different techniques explored, including woodwork, modelling, painting and collage work. We also have a specialist art teacher who comes into work with the children on a Wednesday.
Self-expression and creativity are encouraged through role-play, movement, dance and drama. The children have numerous opportunities to participate in structured, unstructured and spontaneous activities. As part of our structured activities we have a specialist drama teacher who comes in to work with the children on a Friday.
The Montessori environment works on the continual development of the child’s physical body, as there is freedom of movement to participate all the time in both fine and gross motor activities. We have wonderful facilities, both inside and outside for the children to enjoy and maximize their physical development as well as a specialist yoga teacher who comes in on a Tuesday.
We believe that spirituality in the child is nurtured through a sense of awe and wonder in the natural world in which we live and a respect for life. We celebrate Christian Festivals and also nurture an awareness of different creeds and denominations, as appropriate.