The Montessori environment
The Montessori environment has three key elements: the children, the materials and the guides. The children choose how to spend their work cycles and the guides prepare a favourable and stimulating environment catering for a range of different ages and stages of development. They carefully observe how children work, identify and remove any obstacles and present new work accordingly. The materials are purposeful, reality based and children make creative choices in their learning. They work in groups and individually to develop their maximum potential.
The areas of development
Learning through being involved in everyday living tasks. This helps develop great organisational skills as well as concentration. This is the first time a child is able to complete a whole task (i.e- preparing his/her own snack, doing his /her buttons up, laying out a table, washing the dishes) unaided. An important turning point in developing a strong self/esteem and a sense of belonging to a group.
Real opportunities to awaken the senses by which children learn to understand to interpret the world. ‘The hand is the pathway to the brain’.
Three languages are used in the classroom: Basque, Castellano and English. This will help the children acquire richer/wider language skills from an early age.
Children need symbols to organise and communicate their thoughts. In a Montessori classroom children learn abstract concepts through concrete examples, understanding both the quantity and the qualities of objects.
Through movement children acquire skills that allow them to become autonomous and explore the world. Children engage physically using and refining both their gross and fine motor skills. The practical life and Sensorial areas provide many opportunities to exercise these.
Music, Art, Zoology, Botany, Zoology
These are always present in the classroom as an open invitation to creativity and a chance to understand the world through working with puzzles, globes, leaf cabinets, exploration of herbs, environment hunts, nature walks & talks, story telling, cooking, yoga….
Grace and Courtesy
The Ground rules are presented by the adults who role model specific behaviors related to social interactions, use of the materials, language used in the classroom… and then invite the children to practise these in a group.