The 'whole child' approach. The primary goal of a Montessori programme is to help each child reach his/her full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation.
The holistic curriculum, under the direction of a specially trained teacher allows the child to experience the joy of learning, time to enjoy the process and ensure the development of self-esteem. It provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.
Children are encouraged to freely participate in all areas of the curriculum. Within the structure of the programme children have the freedom to choose activities which may include opportunities to work individually or to participate in small group experiences.
In the classroom a cycle of work is promoted where whatever is chosen, be it a painting, or maths work, has a beginning, middle and end. Therefore, from their first day, children are encouraged to tidy away their work once completed. Young children find this very natural.
Independence in all areas is encouraged as this helps develop self-confidence. Each child is on an individual programme and teachers are continually looking for the child's teachable moment. Individual programmes are used to introduce new activities, and meetings are held to ensure that programme planning and evaluation meet the interests and developmental needs of each child attending. Beyond individual programmes, the teachers are looking to the child's experiences to find what interests each individual child. Teachers are trained to know when a child shows interest, freely chooses, or brings an experience to their own learning they will bring motivation with it.
Teachers are continually looking at ways towards extending children's interest, supporting the development of concentration and potential, and if there is sufficient interest, create a theme around a topic of interest.
Children's curiosities and horizons are expanded through exposure to a variety of stimulating Montessori and other materials. We recognise that each child is on his or her own individual path of development and therefore are free to select activities that correspond to their own periods of interest and readiness.
Our interest is to find the unique potential that lies within each child. Maria Montessori believed children have an inner drive to develop and learn. In the Montessori primary strand the environment is prepared to provide the child with that which she/he needs to learn. The teacher acts as a facilitator in the child's learning experience, guiding the child, based on the need or interest a child shows. The teacher and child decide together the learning to be undertaken so the child exercises judgement, time-management, self-reflection and responsibility.
The composition of ages encourages healthy social development and cooperative learning is fostered. The individuality of each child is respected by all. Children are grouped according to developmental stages and social needs. The Montessori method encompasses and delivers the national curriculum objectives, while offering the child broader, more diverse learning opportunities in some areas.