The general principles of this material are always to move from the simple to the complex and from the concrete to the abstract. As far as possible the material has a control of errors so the children can recognise their own mistakes and correct them.
PRACTICAL LIFE - Practical life exercises are designed to enable children to practice skills they need in everyday life such as pouring, spooning, threading activities. These develop hand-eye co-ordination and good concentration skills.
SENSORIAL MATERIAL - This area allows children to explore shapes, colour, mathematical properties, texture, smell, sound and taste. This extends their vocabulary as well as their sensory perception.
MATHEMATICS - We introduce numbers by first teaching the concept of quantity and then the numerical symbol. The child can then equate the two and progress to simple sums, fractions and sets.
LANGUAGE SKILLS- To develop writing and reading skills we introduce the sound and shape of each letter and then, when the child is confident with these, they progress to building and reading words. Practical life and sensorial exercises prepare the children for writing and they have extensive practice forming the shape of letters. They can explore mark making using materials such as the sand tray.
CULTURAL SUBJECTS - The Environment, History, Geography and Science are all introduced through project work. This includes many varied art and craft activities, experiments and group discussions.
PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT - The children have outdoor play during each session and at lunch time. Each class also has a short P.E. session once a week to encourage spatial awareness and co-ordination and develop gross motor skills.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES - To complement the Montessori work we have a wide range of activities which include: gardening, free play outside in our free-flow areas and in our main playground area, crafts, music, singing, cooking and an external teacher comes into school to teach Dancing.
In addition to classroom experiences we have various theatrical productions throughout the year at Christmas and in the summer. We enjoy local trips; walks, going to parks, Dulwich Picture Gallery and visits from members of the community (fire, police,etc.). We enjoy an anual visit from a mobile farm and when possible forest school sessions.
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, philosopher and humanitarian. She is best known for her philosophy and the Montessori method of education of children from birth to adolescence. Her educational method is in use today in schools and nurseries throughout the world.
Dr. Maria Montessori's innovative approach was that "Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities."
The efficacy of Montessori teaching methods has most recently been demonstrated by the results of a study published in the US journal, Science (29 September 2006) which indicates that Montessori children have improved behavioral and academic skills compared with a control group from the mainstream system. The authors concluded that "Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools."