Quality of outcomes in all educational settings are dependent upon the learning resources (teachers and curriculum) together with the environment.
In our Montessori setting, quality outcomes are further enhanced through the thoughtful preparation of the classroom environment, specially designed and selected learning materials and trained Montessori Teachers (known as guides), forming a learning triangle between the child, the environment and their guide.
The outcomes are evidently clear: children that are confident, independent, happy and fulfilled, with a love of learning, an inner desire to succeed and a sense of curiosity that stays with them their whole lives.
The hallmarks that distinguish Montessori from other schooling methods are:
- Mixed age groups (communities)
- Focused ‘work time’, typically morning through to lunch
- Freely chosen work activities
- Montessori guides
- Specially designed, self-correcting Montessori learning materials
- Open plan, carefully prepared environment encouraging independent thought, a sense of order, freedom and responsibility of choice
- Close relationships between the school and the child’s family
The Learning Materials
Montessori learning materials cover 5 key areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language and Culture.
- Practical Life Materials provide a foundation for all other activities and help develop independence, coordination, concentration, self-control, self-awareness and confidence. Activities are those that all children use in their daily lives (pouring water, sweeping, sewing, gardening, zipping up one’s coat etc) but where the size and form of the materials are specifically adapted to your child’s hand. Your child gains confidence quickly as a result, mastering their own environment. Soon, your child will be confident demonstrating their activities in the class (pouring juice for a friend, preparing snack for the group etc) thus making them feel part of the community.
- The Sensorial Materials allow your child to acquire a clear understanding of the world around them using their senses. Through consciously selected activities, they will experience colour, size, texture, smell, taste, sound, shape, temperature and will be able to identify and name their qualities as being red/blue, big/small, rough/smooth, sweet/sour etc. They will then make classifications enabling them to develop their understanding through association, comparison and graduation. The exercises performed with this material organises your child’s thoughts, thus preparing them for the future. Maria Montessori called the child the “Sensorial explorer”. Activities will be undertaken alone, with a friend or in a group, playing and learning at the same time.
- The Language Material runs through the curriculum, initially enabling your child to start developing their vocabulary through songs, stories, words and phonetic sound games. The Montessori environment provides a foundation for the enrichment of your child’s vocabulary because all activities are associated with given words such as long/short, rough/smooth, vertebrate/invertebrate etc. This enrichment of vocabulary is essential for your child’s ability to understand and enjoy what they will be reading later. Your child will then be introduced to sandpaper letters, the moveable alphabet where they will build upon their phonetic knowledge, reading and writing their first words.
- The Mathematical Material will familiarize your child with counting, the decimal system and the four basic mathematical calculations. All work performed with Practical Life and Sensorial Materials is an indirect preparation for your child’s mathematical mind. Your child will experience mathematics with hands-on materials such as number rods, sandpaper numbers, number boards, number tiles, the spindle box, beads and games which, in time, will lead them to abstraction.
- The Cultural Materials allow your child to explore the natural world around them. The materials relate to a variety of different subjects including Geography (continents, countries, landforms, earth layers, solar system etc), Zoology (animals, classification of species etc), Botany (ecology, classification of plants etc), History (time lines, using a calendar etc), and Science (experiments such as sink/float, magnets, wind, day/night etc).
Your child will develop an understanding of where they live: on a planet that is made of land, water and air, on a continent, in a country, in a town, appreciating that every continent and country offers a different climate, animals, plants, languages, cultures and foods.
Dr Maria Montessori designed all learning resources such that, whilst working with the material, your child receives instant feedback on their progress. The control of error / tolerances specifically built into the materials enables your child to take control of their learning and not rely on adult judgment. This boosts your child’s self-esteem and motivation.
Your child feels free to take risks knowing there is a control in place, rather than being reluctant to try something new or make mistakes. In addition to developing independence, working with self-correcting materials helps your child learn to recognize, understand, correct and learn from any mistakes that they make. A valuable skill indeed.
Extra-curricular activities provided by our team include French, Yoga, Makaton (more commonly known via the BBCs Something Special children’s TV programme), in addition to daily outings to the beach, local parks, gardens and nature reserves.