How will my child be learning?
The Montessori Method - Maria Montessori believed that children learn through doing. She drew her ideas about how to handle and educate children from her observations of them at different stages in their development and from her exposure to children of different cultures. She identified tendencies common in all children as 'the universal characteristics of childhood':
From birth to six years children have ‘absorbent’ minds. They pass through ‘sensitive’ periods which are periods of intense sensibility to a certain area of development or concept forming. For example: language.
All children learn through play. They enjoy active learning where they can experiment and investigate their world.
All children want to be independent.
Learning through Play - According to Montessori, for the child, play is enjoyable, voluntary, purposeful and spontaneously chosen activity. It is often creative, involving problem solving, learning new social skills, new language and new physical skills. To Maria Montessori, the words’ work’ and ‘play’ were synonymous; play is your child’s work, simply because this is the means by which they learn.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework - The EYFS framework exists to support all professionals working with young children. It also places play at the centre of Effective Learning.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
Playing and exploring – Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
Active learning – Children are motivated, involved and concentrate on their activities, children keep trying and enjoy their achievements.
Creating and thinking critically – Children develop their own ideas and make links between different areas of their lives and learning. The child makes choices about how to do things.
The EYFS framework outlines 7 areas of learning and development and these areas are similar to the areas identified by Montessori.
The 3 Prime areas are the core areas of learning and development:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Children learn to work as part of a group and independently. They are encouraged to concentrate and persevere in their learning and to seek help where needed. Children are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and to build friendships through cooperative play. We support children to express their feelings, to behave in appropriate ways and develop an understanding of what is right, what is wrong and why.
Physical Development, Establishing positive attitudes towards a healthy and active way of life, children are encouraged to move confidently and imaginatively. Children use Free-flow play between indoors and out they learn to use a range of small and large equipment which develops their physical control, mobility, awareness of space and manipulative skills. Healthy eating is encouraged as is an understanding of healthy lifestyle
Communication and Language, This includes listening and attention, understanding and speaking. Children are exposed to a wide variety of stories, songs, nursery rhymes and poems. They are given appropriate challenges and encouraged to communicate meaningfully.
The 4 specific areas of learning and development:
Literacy, The early Montessori curriculum and EYFS prepares children for literacy skills. Children handle books carefully, find words in their environment and think critically about stories by suggesting alternative endings or different and ways they could help. Children are encouraged to mark make and as they are ready, children are introduced to letters and word building.
Mathematics, Children at the Beehive enjoy a variety of number rhymes, songs, stories, and counting games. Using fun activities we use mathematical language to describe shape, position, size and quantity. Children will compare, sort, match, order, sequence and count using everyday objects. As they are ready and interested children learn to recognise and use numbers.
Understanding the World - Building on children’s own experience, they make connections between their own lives and those of others locally and globally. They see the changing seasons grow plants observe animals and bugs. As technology is embedded in our culture, it is represented in role play and children have regular access appropriate computing and electronic equipment. Children have opportunities to experience concepts through real means such as cooking and hands on experiments.
Expressive Art and Design - Artwork, collage, music, movement and drama and are made available in a wide range of activities, with the emphasis on self-expression and promoting confidence. Children are encouraged to respond to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel. Through music, dance, stories and role play, they are encouraged to use their imagination, to listen and to observe. They have free access to a wide range of materials, tools and instruments to allow expression of ideas and communication of feelings.
Montessori Activities - We have areas of the setting which appear specific to The Montessori Method these also complement the EYFS are incorporated into the children’s freely chosen and carefully directed activities.
Practical Life Experiences -These are particularly appealing to a younger child because they are activities that happen every day at home. Our aim is to promote independence, concentration and self-esteem. These include social skills such as greetings and carrying chairs, to cutting, polishing, pouring, and threading.
Sensorial Activities - These are the activities most commonly associated with Montessori settings. Equipment is designed to isolate one skill or sense at a time which prepares children for later learning.
Nature Walks and Forest Days - We like to take the children on nature walks during the term and they can be spontaneous based on changes to the environment. These are within easy walking distance of the school and are appropriately staffed. A list is on the notice board requiring your signature giving permission for these outings.
Ideally every child will have at least one forest day during the year. These are pre-planned and information will be given before-hand.