We follow the philosophy of teaching developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. She did not see education as a separation from everyday life, rather she saw education as “an aid to life”. Dr. Montessori saw a huge hope in children and her teaching method is child centered and puts enormous emphasis on respecting the child and his needs. This method was not developed in the office theorising what to teach, rather she spend her entire life with the children, observing, talking to them, developing unique materials and testing them on children. She opened her first class in 1907 in Rome and called it Casa dei Bambini.
The children in Casa classroom range from 2.5 - 6. This mixed age group is very important as it gives many opportunities to the children. The young students learn from the older ones by observing them, working with them and by being mentored by them. They are the role models. This role modelling is in return great the for older kids as they have the opportunity to pass on what they know, develop a sense of wisdom and responsibility and love for others. This teaches them about themselves. The directress will often call on the older students to help and assist with teaching. Having this responsibility it enhances the sense of self-worth, self-esteem and sense of well-being.
Casa class has 3 year cycle. The student remains in this environment for 3 years, providing he starts at age 2.5-3. This cycle is very important as the child goes thru all the proper stages and has a chance to work with everything that’s available to them. At first he is the youngest one learning to be independent and on his own, he is being mentored and helped by the older peers, later when he gained greater awareness he starts helping and teaching others, there is a natural cycle, like in nature. Again this setup resembles the family which typically has members of different ages.
The classroom is set up in a way that it promotes independence as much as possible. The shelves are low, furniture is child size, the materials are reachable and organized in a logical sequence. Everything that the child needs is within reach. The materials are colour coded for easy recognition and clarity. For example glass polishing is in the red theme, the basket, sponge, cloth and apron are all red. Buckets for cleaning the tables spill are different colour than the buckets for floor spills. The materials are small and fit in the child’s hand.
"Children are human beings
to whom respect is due,
superior to us by reason of their innocence
and of the greater possibilities of their future."
- Maria Montessori
Instead of jumping into writing on paper, with the Montessori Method, the children work with the metal insets by tracing the geometric shapes on paper in a variety of ways. This prepares the hand for writing in a much more fun way.
The children learn the sounds of letter while they trace the letter. They learn cursive writing, which is more natural for a young child than printing.