About the Montessori Philosophy
Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Ancona, Italy. To understand her unique method of education it is important to know something of her background. The child of a progressive and ambitious family, she chose to study engineering and mathematics at a time when higher education for girls was considered unnecessary. Even more remarkably, she went on to qualify as the first woman Doctor in Italy’s history. It is hardly surprising therefore that from such a remarkable woman came remarkable views.
In 1907 she opened her first school, in a slum area of San Lorenzo. So encouraged was she by her results here that she began to share her discoveries with others by publishing books and giving lectures; thus the Montessori method of education was born.
In 1946 she helped found St. Nicholas in London and after her death in 1952 her innovative system was also carried on by centres in Holland, the United States, Ireland and many other parts of the world. Dr. Maria Montessori left behind a wonderful legacy – a philosophy of life, a unique method of education; materials with which to educate and a system of training capable of producing teachers who give the children the best possible foundation for life.
The Montessori philosophy: Our aims & curriculum
We recognise the parent as the primary educator of a child and we pride ourselves on working closely in partnership. Respect is shown to family traditions and childcare practices. Every effort is made to comply with parent wishes for their children where appropriate to the ethos of our school.
It will be our initial aim to introduce the children to the philosophy of the Montessori method of education. We have fully equipped both of our school with a complete range of genuine Montessori materials. Not all schools that say they are Montessori schools buy this equipment. Montessori materials are very expensive. They are unique, beautiful, mainly wooden and carefully crafted by experts.
Each child who joins our nurseries is allocated a Key Person (teacher) to work with them on an individual basis. This key person observes the child closely and makes a special learning plan to ensure that (s)he receives the right kind of learning experiences to help them grow and develop to their fullest potential.
We provide the children with carefully planned sequences of activities in a specially prepared environment. We aim to make a child aware of others and be both considerate and polite to each other while forging good friendships. We aim to build up their self-esteem, independence and confidence.
We aim to introduce children to practical life skills by using a wide range of materials especially designed to develop children dexterity and muscle control. This prepares the children not only for writing at a later stage, but answers his plea of ‘help me to do it by myself’, and this encourages further independence and confidence.
We aim to help the children with their gross and fine motor skills via the Montessori sensorial apparatus, which helps in deepening their concentration. We follow a child’s own development stages, carefully monitoring progress through observation and one to one interaction which is recorded to ensure they are continually stimulated. We introduce new exercises when a child is ready and when it is appropriate to do so. We aim to provide a safe and stimulating environment in which a child can experiment with, and learn through, a variety of art & craft materials and experience manipulative play with clay, play dough and messy play mixes. A painting area is freely available throughout the course of the day as you never know when a budding Monet or Picasso might appear!
We aim for the children to be able to participate in small and large group discussions and to be able to express themselves clearly using a wide and ambitious vocabulary. We introduce the children initially to numbers and letters indirectly through everyday activities such as song, stories, rhymes, music etc. This builds their confidence and develops their social skills as well.
The letters of the alphabet are taught phonetically using a wide range of specially designed Montessori materials, as are numbers and early mathematics as and when a child becomes ready.
We follow the guidelines laid down in the government’s Early Years Foundation Stage document for our younger children, and later, as the children begin to read and write, we combine this with our Montessori education up until they leave Reception year before they turn 5. Children can remain here with us right up until compulsory school age, being the term after their fifth birthday. By working in partnership with the Local Authority we aim to ensure that we have covered all the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Foundation Stage (end of Reception Year) and that some children will achieve well beyond that.
We aim to provide a range of multi-cultural activities to enhance the child’s perception of the world and all who live in it. We use real life pictures of people, places, homes and costume from around the world. We provide the children with many creative activities to help them gain an awareness of the cultures and beliefs of others.
We aim to introduce geography by providing globes, puzzle maps of the world and each continent; pictures showing real life & water forms such as “an island” and “a lake”. The children love using these materials and seeing real life pictures. We introduce activities relating to soil, air & water and an introduction to flags from around the world.
We aim to introduce biology by providing a range of materials such as puzzles containing different parts of animals, plants, trees & flowers; bird cages, water wildlife, dinosaurs, mini beasts, fruit & vegetable cards. Throughout the year we show the children real life experiences in this area such as having a butterfly house growing caterpillars into butterflies and then releasing them; tadpoles growing quickly into froglets and eventually into frogs, again being released into our local pond. From time to time we have wormeries and ant houses as well. During the course of the year, the children help us with planting bulbs, seeds and some vegetables.
We aim to introduce history by using the unique Montessori time line materials and stories to go with it, passing through various stages including those with dinosaurs. We introduce the solar system initially via a fantastic song. We have in the past planned a whole project where the children make paper-mache planets that they can hold and touch and position around a pretend Sun. This proves a very popular project and the children learn the planet names remarkably quickly.
At the beginning of the summer, we take the children on our end of year trip. Parents/carers are welcome and invited along to join us to celebrate the end of the school year. We also arrange many other outings during the school year, such as the local library. The children benefit greatly from these extra excursions and parents/carers are always welcome.
The fundamental aims of the Montessori method of education and the fundamental aims of our nurseries are to sow the seeds of interest that will fuel learning, giving children education for life. The welfare of a child is paramount. We want to provide a loving, safe and homely environment where children can follow their ‘inner teacher’ and develop at their own pace at a time when their mind is at its most absorbent. Our carefully trained and caring staff team help to ensure that this can happen.