The Montessori classroom doesn’t look like any other pre-school. Designed to encourage our children’s participation, the activities are part of a carefully planned purpose-filled curriculum.
Unlike the way a lot of us have been educated, in same age or in year related classes, Montessori schools have a three year age range within each class. Children are grouped in age ranges 0-3 and 3-6, working alongside each other on similar activities. The younger kids adore watching and learning from the older ones. The older kids gain a sense of self-confidence and responsibility as they pass on their knowledge and skills to the younger ones. Everyone contributes, at their own level. It’s a model which is being adopted by more and more primary schools.
While there are formal teaching sessions – group time, where the class might sing a song, have story time or show and tell – a good part of the day is put aside for independent study. The child is pursuing what interests them, and the teacher’s role is to direct their interests so that they address essential skills, and to intervene only when things are getting too messy, frustrating or otherwise unproductive!
A prepared environment
The equipment, the space and the working atmosphere reinforce Dr Maria Montessori’s theories of child psychology: if a child’s surroundings are what they use to make sense of the world, then well thought-out, prepared surroundings can provide the best learning environment. It’s the little details – open shelves at eye level for storing equipment, a mirror at child height by the door, so you can check your own hair – that contribute to the formation of the child’s sense of order and security, and give them confidence to learn.
The Montessori method also fosters social awareness and responsibility in children, allowing the child to interact with children of different ages forming a mentor style relationship. It’s important to note that for a child to truly benefit from a Montessori education it requires a commitment for a full three year cycle.
The Montessori environment supports spontaneous learning and discovery. It centres on the individual needs of children and within this environment new information is presented when the child is ready.
We would like to share our satisfaction in the Montessori system and our belief in its values and outcomes.
Our four year old son, Callum, had been attending Farmhouse Montessori for just a few months and the changes we saw in him in this short period were surprising. Previously unwilling to do anything without adult company, Callum would now often play games of his own quite happily. He also began dressing himself every morning, making his bed and getting breakfast for himself and his younger sister. He would initiate all sorts of projects and face any obstacles with confidence and imagination.
The most exciting change was in his self confidence and ease with other people. Cal has always been a great conversationalist and motivator at home and now shares his good humour and thoughtfulness with other people. He has gone from hiding behind his Mum to introducing himself and interacting openly with adults and children alike. We are so proud of him and so grateful to everyone at Farmhouse for nurturing and encouraging his self esteem.
Kylie and Stephen Hemsworth