Our educational philosophy is based on an approach called the Montessori Method. Briefly this method of learning focuses on helping children become independent and productive members of their communities; to think and make good choices for themselves; to treat others and their environment with respect and kindness; and to enjoy their work. (Montessorians call play ‘work’, because all children learn through play and because play has the same importance for a child as work does for an adult.)
To help facilitate these learning goals, the classroom is laid out so that children can take responsibility for it themselves. Tools, cleaning utensils & furniture are child-sized and children are helped and encouraged to keep the classroom clean and tidy, to take care of their own personal needs as much as possible and to look after plants and animals that might share their space.
Teaching materials are divided into areas of learning. They are carefully designed to teach skills and concepts by way of graded activities that logically build & follow on from each other. Learning activities also make use of all the child’s senses, recognizing that all children learn through different channels. Activities are presented as self-contained units, with all materials needed gathered together and easily accessible on open shelves. Because we make sure that every activity on our shelves is a good one, children are free to choose to work with the activities that interest them most. As teachers we have extensive training in child development as well as our educational curriculum. This means that we can actively help all children to become interested in, develop and work in all areas of learning – even if that means that we have to design and make a special activity just for one child. Children can choose to work by themselves, with a friend or in small groups, either inside or outside. Most importantly, all learning is hands-on, so if you ask a child who taught them a particular skill, they are most likely to answer that they learnt it by themselves.
To ensure that everyone can live and work in harmony, we have a set of classroom rules that are easily understood & followed and gently but consistently enforced.
Running alongside all of this industrious activity is the over-riding aim that we hope to achieve by giving our children this type of education. We want them to grow up into people who are able to lead productive lives, solve conflicts and protect their environment. It is precisely this ideal that won Maria Montessori (Italy’s first ever female doctor, child psychologist, educator & founder of the method) three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Although Montessori developed this method of education nearly 100 years ago, all major aspects of her work have now been verified and confirmed by recent child developmental research and adopted by child-care settings around the world as best-practice.
MONTESSORI & THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE (EYFS) CURRICULUM
In the UK, the Montessori approach of education corresponds very well with the ‘Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework’ which sets out the areas for learning, development and care for children from birth to five years of age. The key points of the EYFS - that each child is unique, that the learning environment has a key role in extending learning and development and that children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates - are fully embraced by the Montessori method of Education. In addition, children in Montessori settings have access to a great number of carefully designed learning activities that satisfy all Early Learning Goals set out in the EYFS Foundation Stage Profile.
(Source: Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage in Montessori settings)