Our Montessori programme is designed to fully prepare children for their next stage of schooling and is intertwined with the Early Years Foundation stage (EYFS) that aims to lead children to achieve a number of Early Learning Goals. These are grouped under six broad areas of learning: Personal, social and emotional development, Communication, language and literacy, Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy, Knowledge and understanding of the world, creative development and physical development.
Our Montessori classrooms are characterised by an emphasis on order, cleanliness and harmony. Classrooms are arranged to facilitate movement from one activity area to the other. Our trained Montessori teachers encourage children in different activities, making sure that only material which supports the learning development of the child is included. So no cluttered classrooms or walls at Elm Park! Our Montessori classroom materials include activities for engaging in practical skills - such as pouring and spooning; materials for the development of the senses, mathematical materials, language materials, music and art materials.
At the turn of the 20th century Maria Montessori opened her first school in San Lorenzo Italy based on her earlier work with what she termed her “special “children. So encouraged with her observations and results of what these children could do, she began to share her discoveries with others, by publishing books and giving lectures. Thus the Montessori Method of Education was born.
Dr Maria Montessori’s philosophy, still in use today, is centred on the principles that all children have an innate desire to learn; they pass through sensitive periods in which they are able to acquire skills more readily; are autonomous self-learners; and should have the freedom to choose in order to learn spontaneously.
She also believed that the teacher should “follow the child” within a prepared and well seeded environment, that allows each child to work independently and support the enjoyment of self-discovery.
The teacher presents didactic materials of which the children are free to choose as many times as they wish, allowing the development of concentration, discovery, and finally mastering new concepts and skills independently for themselves through repetition, exploration and self-correction.
A typical, or indeed our own, Montessori classroom has apparatus which is organised under the following headings: “Practical Life”, “Sensorial”, “Language”, “Mathematics” and “Cultural Subjects”.
The” Practical Life” section includes many items the child is used to seeing at home. It is also the starting point in a Montessori environment. The resources here are cross curricular in nature and aid the child in his or her whole development.
By using jugs, tongs , cups and everyday objects children practice their pencil grip, build up their concentration and refine their hand to eye coordination. They also learn to tie bows and fasten buttons etc. enabling them to become more independent in dressing themselves.
This area also further aids the child’s development in caring for people and the environment, controlling his or movements and forming social relationships.
Thus the main group of resources and exercises in this area aids the development of motor skills, the care of self, the care of the environment and the development of grace and courtesy.
The Sensorial area as the title suggests includes many cross curricular didactic materials which aids the development of the five senses, namely the colour tablets, sound boxes, touch tablets, knobbed and knobless cylinders.
As well as developing and training the five senses these materials also lay the foundation for later language and mathematical work.
Reading and writing skills are taught and developed through sharing books, hearing stories and rhymes and the use of the phonetic method.
Once children are confident of their letter sounds they are encouraged to build words for themselves and later break them down in order to read them. This approach also provides the children with the knowledge and understanding that separate sounds can be blended together to form words.
Learning to read and write also incorporates movement such as tracing of sand paper letters, and forming words with the moveable alphabet. Children are, initially, individually supported in learning letter sounds and directions, usually starting with the letters in their own name.
Maria Montessori was ahead of her time in that she recognised the now widely accepted principle that synthetic phonics is the best method for the development of early literacy.
Basic mathematical skills and language can be said to be introduced as early the practical life area of the Montessori curriculum.
Further concepts and skills are indirectly introduced via the range of sensorial apparatus such as the cylinders, baric tablets and red rods. The child is then able at his or her own pace to begin using the various materials designed to teach number names, quantities and the four rules of number.
The Cultural section of the curriculum includes the various branches of science, nature, history, geography, music, art/craft or indeed any subject which is enriching to the development of the child. Initially this area of the curriculum is dealt with by relating it to the child’s immediate environment, in an integrated and cross curricular way. An interesting nature table is an important feature of this area also.
The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say,
’The children are now working as if I did not exist.’
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.
One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.
To see more images about our Montessori programme please visit our gallery by following the link below:-