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Montessori Preschool

A small school in operation since January 2006, catering for up to 20 children from ages 2 1/2 to 6 years old: Grade 0000 to Grade R.

A "home-away-from-home" environment specifically set up to encourage independence and motivation towards self-directed learning. .

PHOTOS

Prospectus
Little People Montessori Pre-primary School is a “home-away-from-home” school which was established in 2006 and caters for up to 20 children between the ages of 2½ to 6 years of age. School hours are from 7:30am – 12:30pm and the school follows the school terms as defined by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.

The Montessori environment is one where the children are provided with all the necessary tools to reach their full potential and is designed and prepared specifically for the children’s needs to “mould them in to future leaders”. The materials are designed to be self-correcting, which allows the child to learn in an atmosphere of success and positive reinforcement. The child is able to correct his or her own errors as they work towards mastery of concepts, through repetition of manipulations with the material. The child’s motivation is for internal fulfilment and not for external reward.

The Montessori Method and equipment facilitates learning by discovery through tactile exploration of the materials rather than by mere instruction. This discovery promotes a deeper level of learning where the children respond to what is natural, or of the world. The children learn through their senses and their imagination. The senses perceive "concrete" concepts through the materials that can be observed directly. The imagination helps children to progress to levels of "abstraction" where concepts that cannot be observed directly must be constructed. The result of discovery is a self-directed process that leads to a new and deeper understanding of the concepts
Mission Statement
Our mission is to take advantage of the teachable moments that happen every day by fostering the intellectual, creative, social, emotional, and physical growth and development of each child and to inspire a lifelong commitment to learning.

The school provides a caring, cooperative environment and promotes cultural values and supports positive relationships and respectful interaction.

We provide an environment that allows children to learn by doing – moving from concrete, hands-on experiences to more abstract concept development.

Our priority is to provide a healthy balance of child-directed and teacher-guided activities, as well as time for children to work individually, in small groups and in large groups. We believe that a stable, safe, healthy, comfortable, and culturally relevant environment is crucial to a child’s growth.

The Montessori approach provides a child-centred curriculum directed by teachers in which children are encouraged to construct their own knowledge. We believe that our program reflects the needs and goals of all children. We work to provide an integrated, comprehensive approach to learning.
Montessori Education
Montessori is an educational pedagogy that focuses on the individual child’s needs. The concepts behind the pedagogy were consolidated by Dr Maria Montessori in the beginning of the 20th century. Her concepts in regards to teaching children based on their needs and personal interest lead to the Montessori educational method of today. There are five areas of learning in a Montessori 3-6 class:

Practical Life
In this area of work, the child chooses materials and activities encountered in everyday life; these include spooning from one bowl to another, pouring water from a jug to a glass, or learning how to tie shoelaces. These activities help the child to develop a sense of order, concentration, fine and gross motor skills and independence. Additionally, they learn how to take care of themselves, be kind to and work with others, move carefully within space, and take care of the school environment.

Sensorial
The sensorial materials allow the child to refine each of their senses. They introduce the child to differences in size, length and diameter. They help the `child to observe, differentiate, categorize and comprehend forms, sizes, shapes, colours, textures and sounds and are a preparation for mathematics.

Language
The children learn language through the progressive use of hands-on materials that focus on the introduction of the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, the development of vocabulary and the preparation of the hand for writing. They learn language phonetically by associating letter sounds and shapes and then move in to reading and writing skills using the Montessori materials. The eventual aim is to encourage a passion for books and reading.

Mathematics
Mathematics is taught in a concrete hands-on manner, the child learns to count from 1-10 through the understanding of the concept that numbers represent a specific amount. Through progressive interaction with the materials the child moves on to problem solving and operations. They learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and develop a solid foundation in the understanding of mathematics.

Cultural
The cultural area teaches the child about our world and exposes them to geography, history, biology, zoology and science. It is supplemented and enriched by additional activities in the classroom such as group theme work, singing, art and games.

Overall, what makes The Montessori Method of learning so different to the conventional form of education is that the teacher does sit at a desk or stand in front of the class and teach the children the same lesson all at once. Each child is allowed to learn at their own pace and rhythm in a way they feel as though they are not actually learning or being taught.

Montessori called this way of teaching “preparing the child for success”. The teacher assists the child through activities in which the child will succeed. Over time, the activities increase in complexity but because the progression is so subtle, the child never feels as though learning is a struggle.
Hours of Operation & Enrollment
Hours of operation
School hours are from 7:00am – 12:30pm. Children need to be at school by 8:00am.
Little People Montessori follows the school terms as defined by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and is closed on national school holidays and public holidays.

Enrollment
A non-refundable enrolment fee of R800.00 is payable immediately upon registration.
Daily Program
07:30 – 08:00 Arrival at school settling in and free play .
08:00 – 08:30 Morning circle Greeting, calendar, weather Termly / weekly theme discussion: Vocabulary, songs, poems Move to learn
08:30 – 10:30 Work cycle Independent work, presentation of new activities School readiness Worksheets: literacy / numeracy / concepts
10:30 - 11:00 Snack
11:00 – 12:00 Playtime Swimming / outdoor play / indoor play
12:00 – 12:30 Tidy-up time Story time
12:30 Home time.

Weekly events
Art and creative activities Baker-baker Gross motor activities Library Music and movement Science Swimming
Extra Mural Activities
SWIMMING
Swimming lessons are offered to the children as part of the school curriculum. Lessons are done year round in the pool on the school premises and fees are included in the school fees.

GROSS MOTOR DEVELOPMENT
Activities that encourage and develop core strength and gross motor development are done on a weekly basis during the school day.
Misconceptions about Montessori
The word Montessori is often used, but commonly misunderstood. The widespread misunderstanding is caused by a lack of information on Maria Montessori and her original work.

1. Montessori is not an accelerated learning programme, though academic achievement is often a result due to the fact that the Montessori method takes full advantage of the child’s desire to learn. It empowers the child to master skills at their own pace, thus building their self esteem.

2. Montessori is not disorganized or undisciplined. Some parents complain that Montessori allows too much freedom or not enough. This paradox can be explained by appreciation of the true meaning of liberty. The freedom given to the child is to do what is right, not what is wrong. Montessori did not believe in absolute freedom, infact she instructed her teachers to check the children whenever they displayed selfishness or lack of self control. Freedom within the environment can only exist when rules are obeyed.

3. Montessori is not rigidly structured or disciplined. The order within the environment is not arbitrary, but it is a response to the child’s needs for structured experiences as he tries to make sense of the world around him. Everything in the room has a permanent place. The materials are arranged along the shelves in an order of difficulty. Order in the environment helps the child to work independently without needing an adult’s assistance. The child knows how to select what is appropriate for his development level and personal needs.

The order of a Montessori classroom is not the structure of a conventional classroom, there is no adherence to a timetable, no assigned seats, no compulsory break period, no graded placement of children by age and no putting up of hands before speaking.

4. Montessori children do adjust well to other school programmes. Obviously how well a child adjusts will generally depend on the quality and latitude of the school he enters. The child however, will be well equipped because of the desire to learn that has been fostered throughout his Montessori training.

An adjustment to grade 1 is necessary for all children regardless of what preschool training they have received. Even though the child will have to make some adjustments in certain areas (such as not being able to choose his own work), the disadvantages are small compared to the advantages of a Montessori pre-school education.

5. Montessori herself however, found that a concrete basis is needed at the beginning of the learning process. The development of the senses precedes that of superior intellectual activity. We can only give the child the power and the means are procured through education of the senses. The child then teaches himself through auto education. Experience has shown that the child himself will disregard the apparatus and work without it when he is ready to do so.

6. Montessori does permit social development. In a Montessori school there are friendships and sharing. Children interact with each other and with the adults. Because there is no artificially induced competition, the children learn to co-operate with one another. There is usually a three year age grouping so that the younger children may learn from the older one. The respect which the directress shows towards each child is a model for the children to follow in learning to respect each other.

There are areas and activities provided for solitude and small and large group activities. However no child is coerced into joining a group activity.
Objectives In A Classroom
The objectives of creative playrooms are to support and encourage your child to:-

1. discover the joy of learning
2. become creative, independent learners
3. experience, explore and experiment with the world around them
4. create and express themselves
5. acquire concentration and good work habits
6. develop a positive self-image
7. develop a sense of community and responsibility
8. become aware of special strengths, abilities and uniqueness
9. be courteous to others and respectful of others
10. learn to care for equipment and share with others
11. be independent thinkers and self-reliant
Montessori

"The hands are the tools of the brain" - Maria Montessori



Dr Maria Montessori was a pioneer in the fields of child development and early childhood education. Her theories, philosophy, work and observations have been extremely influential and led to the establishment of a unique perspective on education: the "Montessori method". This philosophy is based on the principle that children learn best within an environment prepared to nurture and enhance each individual child's development.

Children learn through working with specialized educational equipment that captivates their attention, inviting them to examine, analyze, manipulate and discover - resulting in intensive brain stimulation. The teacher understands that children have different needs at different stages in their growth within the five broad categories: social; intellectual; emotional; physical and spiritual (the most formative years being age 0 - 7). The respect given to every child's ability to work, concentrate, absorb knowledge and make intelligent and responsible choices creates self-confidence, intellectual curiosity and a passionate love of learning. A child in a Montessori class develops inner discipline and a sense of responsibility to other children, adults and the community. This provides a firm and solid foundation upon which advanced skills and specialized knowledge will later be built.

In the midst of a beautiful, calm and harmonious atmosphere, children are at the centre of learning. Both children and adults thrive on the mutual respect, joy and satisfaction, characteristic of life in a Montessori classroom.

Nadja Hunter

Directress Principal Owner


Studied at College of Modern Montessori
Qualified 1998
School started 2006

Contact

info@littlepeoplemontessori.co.za

Tel: 031-2062892

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