How is a Montessori school different? Montessori principles flow through our learning spaces, they guide our teacher's approach and shape our culture. Each child's desire to learn is nurtured as they embark on journeys of exploration, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and gain an appreciation for the intricate interconnectedness of our world.
Freedom and Responsibility
“Individual freedom is the basis of all the rest. Without such freedom, it is impossible for personality to develop fully... Freedom is the necessary foundation of organised society.”
- Maria Montessori
Our prepared environment is designed to cater to each child, putting them into the centre of their learning. Children are empowered with self-directed and constructive learning choices within the scope of materials available. With freedom to choose, children become active, deeply engaged and hands-on in their meaningful work. Sometimes they do their self-chosen work individually, other times in pairs or groups. They might be working on the floor, or at a table – they are free to move in the classroom. They may be inventing, exploring, experimenting, conferring or creating. There is choice in where to work and what to work on, all within the limits of the environment. Meanwhile, teachers circulate the room, supporting the groups and individual children, extending their thinking or introducing new materials. The daily morning routine includes a three-hour period of uninterrupted, immersive time (referred to in Montessori as the 3-hour cycle). Strong foundations in literacy and numeracy are provided and they are approached in the hands-on, Montessori way.
“When I look up in the universe, I know I’m small but I’m also big. I’m big because I’m connected to the universe, and the universe is connected to me.”
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
Our teachers guide and facilitate cosmic education - this is a key element of primary years in Montessori. Cosmic education is interconnected learning, aiming to give children an appreciation and understanding of deep and broad topics about our world (such as geology, ecology, human history and cultures) and also our universe. This provides them with purposeful and meaningful learning experiences and helps them build a strong appreciation for how everything is connected, so they then also see themselves as being connected to it. The classrooms are abundant in specialised learning materials that encourage even young children to grasp these topics. Learning is often synthesised across subjects with unifying concepts and discussion topics and linked to real-world application. Through cosmic education, children develop a sense of wonder and curiosity about their world and learn important skills such as critical thinking and creativity. Children often present their findings to the class. Learning is for everyone in the Montessori classroom, including the teachers.
"Joy, feeling one's own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul."
- Maria Montessori
Our culture provides a supportive and compassionate community where children learn to cultivate grace and courtesy and promote positive interactions with each other. Children become aware of their environment and of others which builds harmony and cooperation and enhances the social and emotional wellbeing for each child, freeing them to self-express. Although each child has different strengths, weaknesses, tastes, and interests, each child is recognised as unique and catered to at whatever level they may be, both academically and socially. The children are provided with numerous opportunities to learn to care for others as well as their environment. Everyone plays a role in the smooth running of the class where they learn self-awareness, self-discipline, empathy and respect for others. For many years, the class has been an active part of the "Trees for Survival" programme. Covering all the bases of your child’s holistic development will enable them to become confident, well-rounded adults in the future who also work well with others.
Mixed Age Grouping
"Groups should contain different ages, because it has great influence on the cultural development of the child... You cannot imagine how well a young child learns from an older child; how patient the older child is with the difficulties of the younger."
- Maria Montessori
Our structure assembles children of different ages together, enriching relationships and mutually beneficial learning experiences. This works well in Montessori classes as the learning is individualised, meaning the children work at their own unique pace for each topic or subject. This not only benefits the child who needs more time to consolidate but also gives the child who is ready to move onto more advanced work the opportunity to do so. There are numerous social benefits also present in the daily interaction in mixed age classes, children have a richly diverse community with opportunities to observe, collaborate and learn at their own level of understanding and stage of development. The younger ones learn and grow from older children. Older children learn tolerance and patience with the younger children and begin to see themselves as role models. These opportunities benefit all children’s sense of self-esteem and their competence is enhanced. It is also another aspect reflective of real life in general - mimicking family structures, neighbourhood groupings, workplaces, the list goes on.