Curriculum

Dr. Maria Montessori's Philosophy

The Montessori philosophy is based on the principle that all children are intrinsically motivated to learn and possess an “absorbent mind”. They absorb knowledge without effort from their immediate environment, when provided with the right kind of stimulation at the right time of their development. A very high level of learning can come with ease to all children.

The Montessori approach, when supported at home and linked with nursery experiences, brings out the best in children and enables them to grow into strong, curious and socially and intellectually capable adults.  Dr. Maria Montessori saw children as heralds of social change with a potential to make a significant contribution to the changing world. The Montessori approach guides children towards developing the following characteristics:

  • Independence, autonomy, initiative and capacity to embrace challenges
  • Curiosity and concentration, with problem solving and creative thinking skills
  • Self-discipline and respect for self, others and the environment
  • Responsibility within social and cultural contexts

Overview

We practice the Montessori method of teaching, in conjunction with the new Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum which all Grant maintained schools are required to follow. This sets out six key early learning areas, which we work to achieve through the Montessori method.  The Montessori system actually exceeds all of these requirements.  All areas are given equal importance by the government, and they are as follows:

  1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  2. Communication, Language and Literacy
  3. Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
  4. Knowledge and Understanding of the World
  5. Physical Development
  6. Creative Development

Our Montessori Classroom

Our Montessori classroom is a “living room for all children”. Everything in our classroom has a specific use or purpose. All of the furniture and equipment is scaled down to the child’s size and is within easy reach.

The intrinsic flexibility of the Montessori method allows a child to learn and progress at his or her own speed, which means that a child of advanced ability can develop intellectually well above grade level whilst remaining within his or her peer group.

Our Montessori teachers are trained facilitators within the classroom environment. Their purpose is to stimulate the child’s enthusiasm for learning and to guide without interfering with the children’s’ natural desire to learn and develop.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Montessori teaching materials help children to explore and master their environment through activities which aid the development of their whole personality.

They learn the skills of daily living; tidying up, cleaning, dressing themselves, sorting, opening bottles, closing boxes and so on. Just generally learning how to look after themselves and their toys.

We teach our Miracles about good manners; sharing, sitting at the table to eat, and learning to take turns. The aim of these activities is to build task organisation, cognition, and most importantly, self-confidence and independence. It is a vital stepping stone to prepare them for more complicated learning.

Exploration through the senses; it is a well-established fact that children learn through their senses. Through experimenting, touching, feeling, listening and actually physically experiencing concepts such as size, proportion, shape and colour, our Miracles are provided a natural platform towards progression in language, maths and music.

Literacy and Numeracy

Our Montessori classroom emphasises and encourages spoken language as the foundation for linguistic expression. The child hears, learns and uses specific vocabulary in all activities in their immediate environment. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet games, and various presentations allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly. Reading is a realistic goal for many of our Miracles.

Our Montessori mathematics materials allow young child to begin their mathematical journey, from the concrete to the abstract. They do this through manipulation, experimentation and invention. The children build math skills such as numbers, symbols, sequences and memorisation of basic math facts through small, manageable steps. Our Miracles soon develop the thrill of discovery when using these materials, enabling them to perform mathematical operations for themselves.

Understanding Our World

In our nursery we also offer the following subjects:

  • Nature Studies; we learn about mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and all of their habitats. We also learn about the human body, plants and flowers (which we plant and grow throughout the year).
  • Geography; we learn about where the different children in our nursery originate from, the cultural characteristics, customs and festivals of different parts of the world, and what we need to live in them.
  • Science; we learn about minerals, the weather and undertake simple experiments such as ‘float or sink’. We also make use of magnets, magnifying glasses and microscopes.
  • Information Computer Technology; we have developed our technology offering to include computer and internet studies, photography, and voice recording.
  • Drama and Music; we learn about different types of music and have our own school orchestra. We learn about how to express ourselves and read others people’s expressions. These are extremely popular subjects, we even perform a major show each year for all our parents and their friends and families to enjoy!

Physical Development and Creativity

We believe children should be active. As such, we offer a wide physical curriculum; we go outside to play every day that the weather permits us to, we have yoga and dancing sessions once a week (at no extra cost), and we have climbing and balancing apparatus available both inside and outside.

We also provide a stimulating environment in which creativity, originality and expressiveness are valued.  We strongly believe that creativity should come from within. Our children have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of art mediums such as clay, charcoal, painting, cutting, gluing, printing and collage. Art is offered on a free basis and as an accompaniment to project work, so there is always something interesting going on in the nursery!