We have a wonderful programme for 2 year olds where children can start their Montessori journey in a relaxed, intimate environment with 2 teachers and only 10 children in each class. The environment is prepared to enable the child to become physically independent of the adult. Because they are able to do things for themselves they start to be able to choose and decide things for themselves. The environment allows for this both in the way that the materials are prepared and in the approach of the adults. Although activities are prepared with their own developmental aim in mind they also prepare for something that will come later in the child’s development. The setting is small and secure inviting the toddlers to explore and begin their life of independence and self reliance.
“During this early period, education must be understood as a help to the unfolding of the child’s inborn psychic powers….The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself.” Maria Montessori
Montessori classes adhering closely to the Montessori philosophy with qualified Montessori staff.
We educate all our students in a setting being faithful to the Montessori principals at all times. Our centre is a registered Montessori centre. We have been registered not only because we have qualified Montessori staff and our classes are organised with specialised Montessori materials but that we undertake a commitment to continual improvement, update of our skills and attendance at Montessori Workshops and refreshers.
The role of the adult in our Montessori environment is to facilitate the child to teach himself by following his own internal urges that will lead him to take what he needs from the things and people around him.
“It is necessary for the teacher to guide the child without letting him feel her presence too much, so that she may always be ready to supply the desired help, but may never be the obstacle between the child and his experience.” Maria Montessori
One of the interesting aspects of Montessori education is that when Maria Montessori first set up an environment for children and after many years of observations, certain characteristics appeared. One of these characteristics was the ability of children to work for long periods of time in concentrated activity. Research shows that frequent changes of work causes greater fatigue than continuous work of one kind. In our pre-school rooms in the morning the children are free to choose their own work, repeat it again and again if they desire with the knowledge that there will be no interruptions. This helps the development of the children’s concentration, work habits and confidence in their choice of work. The students can have breaks when they choose whether it be a snack, a quiet time just observing or sitting or helping another child with a task.
“How does he achieve this independence? He does it by means of a continuous activity. How does he become free? By means of constant effort. …we know that development results from activity. The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” Maria Montessori
Our Pre-School rooms have 3-5 year olds in the Sessional rooms and 3-6 year olds in the Cycle one rooms. Through the presence of a mixed age group, the older children can validate their learning by becoming the ‘experts’ and role models in the room. Peer teaching can occur with the older children experiencing the joyful satisfaction of sharing their knowledge and skills whilst being sensitive and compassionate to the needs of others. The younger children admire, imitate and emulate their older peers whom they respect, without feelings of envy or competition or feelings of inadequacy when seeking help. The three year old child is also further inspired and motivated to learn as he or she sees the older children working on more advanced materials. The mixed age group also fosters and provides many opportunities for social development. Learning how to be social is done naturally and spontaneously by living together as a community. Cooperation, not competition, is modelled from within the group because of respect for each individual.
“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
The children who complete their Cycle one education can seamlessly move into Mitcham Primary School. We have a fantastic Transition programme where our Prep students visit and work in the Cycle 2 classes during Term 4 in the year before they start at Mitcham in Year 1. By the time they start at Mitcham they are very familiar with the primary school setting and the teachers.
“Knowledge can be best given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture. But if neglected during this period, or frustrated in its vital needs, the mind of the child becomes artificially dulled, henceforth to resist imparted knowledge.” Maria Montessori