Montessori is a specific teaching method founded by the first female doctor in Italy over 100 years ago. It is renowned throughout the world. After many years of research Dr. Maria Montessori found that children require a very specific environment in which to learn, absorb and develop to their full potential. We call this the Montessori Method. The environment requires specific preparation and the teacher must be trained to observe and understand the aims of the classroom and the needs of the children.
The most obvious features of a Montessori Prepared Environment are…
Montessori staff: The staff in our centres have childcare and/or teaching qualifications as well as Montessori qualifications, or are studying towards these qualifications. They are skilled in understanding the developmental needs of the children they care for. The lessons offered to children are fun, exciting and always educational.
The environment is calm: This is achieved by teachers speaking respectfully and calmly at all times, singing to get attention rather than yelling. The teachers maintain control of the overall noise volume in the classroom and when it becomes too loud then he/she will make the children aware of this and he/she asks them to reduce the noise level. There is absolutely no running or gross motor activity inside, except for our under 2’s. When inside, the children are constructive in play and educational learning takes place. The children participate in smaller groups so teachers can guide and specifically teach children at their individual levels.
The environment is structured: As parents, you may agree that children seem to respond better when they are offered routine – their sleeping, eating and play patterns just flow. Our centre has structure and routine, from the Nursery right through to the Early Learning Centre. By providing structure we can expose the children to a much more educational option. By offering a routine we also provide children with the balance they require. They are offered many choices which help children with responsibility but these choices do have boundaries. A smooth operating classroom is the result of an organised and prepared program. All the teachers must pre- plan their lessons and curriculum. Even the Nursery has a schedule and specific curriculum; it is never too early to expose children to all aspects of life.
The environment is based on real- life lessons: We offer a safe but real environment where children understand the meaning of responsibilities. They have lessons in personal hygiene, setting tables, food preparation, basic cooking lessons, etc. It is like a large home and family environment where we work together cohesively to obtain a beneficial outcome for everyone. The children love to be made to feel at home and they truly love the responsibility of being involved in such ‘grown up’ chores, especially when it is made fun and educational.
Behaviour: Behaviour is also based on real life and we often compare the child’s behaviour to our own. We explain that no screaming takes place outside unless it is due. For example if an adult screams we know it means help or danger so it is only in these circumstances we feel a child should scream. Shrieks of delight however, are allowed! When children lash out it’s normally because they are having trouble verbalising how they are feeling at the time. The teachers lead by example and help children resolve any conflict situations that arise by offering the correct language as well as some suggestions as to what to do next time, so the children’s need to lash out at each other is diminished
In summary, a Montessori environment is safe, loving and extremely respectful. All activities have an educational element and many activities are based on real-life experiences. The children are stimulated from many different angles due to the wide variety of curriculum and specialised classes we offer. It is always a fun and exciting environment and the staff’s enthusiasm is contagious. Your child’s smile is proof we’ve provided them with an environment that promotes happiness and well-being.