What is Montessori?
In Montessori learning takes place within a social environment. It is child directed, hands on and exploration based. As well as being fun, the work and activities that a child explores are purposeful and engaging.
Each child's unique spirit, sense of wonder and deep desire to learn is supported by individual lessons and a freedom to explore the social and academic aspects of the prepared classroom environment. The individual child's pace, ability and interests are respectfully followed so that their emotional, academic and physical needs are constantly met.
The trained Montessori teacher acts to nurture and guide the children by modelling the use of different learning materials, facilitating free movement within the classroom, and promoting free choice of activities from a prescribed range of options. The Montessori teacher also creates opportunities for the child to apply newly acquired knowledge and skills to the world around them and maintains a communal learning environment that encourages collaboration and cohesion.
Unlike traditional kindergarten, Montessori classrooms provide a three year program. Children in the Casa Dei' Bambini program begin when they are 3 years old and graduate when they are six. For those three years they will have the same teacher. There is also a mixed age group and an even ratio of boys to girls. In this way the classroom mirrors the real world and the social variants that we find there (i.e. age, gender, ability, etc). The older children mentor the younger children who successfully observe and learn from their older mentors.