Preschool (3 - 6 years)
As well as being a space that provides a carefully planned, stimulating environment which helps the child to develop an excellent foundation for creative learning, the preschool environment now starts to open more exciting areas of learning such as the vast world of nature, of language and reading and of numbers. In this stage awe and wonder at the unfolding creation are at its best.
Questions that often arise from parents not yet versed in the Montessori system include:
If you look at any natural social grouping in life you will find mixed ages, genders, cultures – the more mixed the richer the environment.
By grouping the children in a three-year age brackets (18m – 3 years, 3 to 6 years, 6-9 years, 9-12 years etc.), all sense of competition amongst the children is removed as each child works at his or her own pace. Slow learners are never left behind and so are not left feeling isolated from the rest of the class.
The children learn to communicate and socialize with other children of all ages at all levels. The younger child easily learns from the older more capable child in the environment, whilst the older child in so doing becomes more responsible and develops tolerance and nurturing for the younger child. There are many things, which no teacher can convey to a child of three, but a child of five can do it with ease!
The principle of Mixed Age Groups is central to the Montessori pedagogy and runs throughout all environments.
Whilst Dr. Maria Montessori advocated giving the children certain measures of freedom within which to function – it is very clear that this freedom is ‘within limits’. Every school has a set of rules and regulations that are at one with the norm of society and these rules may not be broken rules have consequences.
Morning Star “Golden Rules:"
- No child may harm any living thing such as other children, adults, animals, plants etc.
- No child may damage any equipment, property or other things.
- No child may disturb anyone or anything while they are working or engaged in any activity.
Misdemeanours are treated with love and understanding, usually with re-directing the activity or asking the child to work closely with the directress so that subsequent behavior can be observed. This usually does the trick – but if not, the “time-out” method may be used. The child is never labeled as ‘naughty’ and still remains feeling loved and part of the environment. The amount of time a child usually sits “out” is 1 minute for every year of age – i.e. a 4 year old will sit for four minutes or less before being approached by the teacher. The freedom and order in a Montessori classroom can only come about through the development of order within the child. Through this kind of freedom that the child is given in the Montessori environment, he has a unique opportunity to reflect upon his/her own actions, to determine the consequences both for himself and others, to test himself against the limits of reality and discover his/her own shortcomings and capabilities.
Dr Montessori makes a distinction between Fantasy and Imagination; fantasy being based on that which is not real but imagination, being based on the real, nurtures the world of endless possibilities.
While young Young children are busy trying to understand the world they should be provided with objects and images found in the creation. Through the real the child is able to create himself within this world and develop an understanding of what is around him and how he fits in.
In a Preschool Environment ten main developmental areas are supported:
- The need for order
- The development of language and communication
- The refinement of movement
- Socialization and the need for grace and courtesy
- Refinement of the senses
- Special relationships
The work of the teacher is thus to plan, provide and facilitate these areas of growth.
Preschool Hours & Daily Program
An example of a typical day in the Preschool environment:
07:00 – 08:00 Arrival
Give each child individual attention and breakfast if parents request it. Early arrivals feed pets, assist or play with younger children or peers indoors, set out tables and other equipment.
08:00 - 11:00
- Circle activities including theme discussion, register, calendar activities (day and date of the week/month), conversational news, story.
- Indoor and outdoor movement programme.
- Play with specialized Montessori equipment. Also Lego and puzzles.
- Creative activities such as painting, drawing, cutting, tearing, and pasting.
- Literacy and Numeracy.
- Exposure to life skills development is an integral part of the curriculum.
- Toilet and wash hands.
- Snack as required.
11:00 – 12:00 Outdoor play
12:00 – 12:15 Toilet and wash hands
12:15 – 12:45 Lunch (timing is group dependent)
12:45 - 13:00 Half-day children go home
13:00 – 14:30 Restful play
14:30 – 14:45 Wash hands and toilet
14:45 – 15:00 Snack
15:00 – 17:00 Outdoor play and gross motor activities until parents arrive
Preschool Extramural Activities
The Montessori curriculum covers aspects such as Art, Music, Movement, etc. and children may model with play dough whenever they want, however our Montessori trained and qualified teachers seldom have special skills in these subject areas. To afford our children every best experience of specialist skills, extra curricular activities are offered at a fee above the normal school fees.
Inside School Hours:
- Music- compulsory
- Ball skills
The afterschool programme operates from 13:00 to 17:00 with several children leaving at 15:00. The latest collection is at 17:00.
Aftercare is staffed by 5 staff members until 15:00. There are 3 staff members on duty until 15:30 and then 2 staff members on duty until 17:00.
There is a separate charge for after school care up until 15:00 and an additional charge up until 17:00.
THE FINE FOR COLLECTION AFTER 17:00 IS SEVERE.
Preschool Holiday Club
A holiday school programme is run by the teachers during part of most school holiday periods for the Toddlers and Preschool children only.
Details are posted prior to the end of each school term.
The cost for Holiday Club attendance is extra to the normal school fees.