LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE

The Montessori curriculum encompasses the seven Areas of Learning and Development identified in the compulsory and revised 2014 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

The EYFS defines expectations in children’s learning and development by the end of the reception year, i.e. at the end of a child’s first year in formal education. There are seven specified areas of learning and development, all of which are inter-related and self-reinforcing.

Of these, three areas are defined as crucial:

Communication & Language

Involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skill in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

  • Listening and attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

Physical Development

Involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food and personal hygiene.

  • Moving and handling
  • Health and self-care

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

Involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings, to understand appropriate behaviour in groups, and to have confidence in their own abilities.

  • Making relationships
  • Self-confidence and self-awareness

The remaining four specific areas which strengthen the three prime areas are:

Literacy

Development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

  • Reading
  • Writing

Mathematics

Involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, and calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, space and measure.

  • Numbers
  • Shapes, space and measure

Understanding the world

Involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

  • People and communities
  • The world
  • Technology

Expressive Art & Design

Involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

  • Exploring and using media and materials
  • Being imaginative

STRUCTURE OF EACH SESSION

Each session begins with the children freely selecting activities from the shelves in the classroom. When children first start at the nursery, these focus on the practical life activities such as pouring, threading and sorting. The teacher then introduces the child to each new activity allowing them to progress to working independently.

In the classroom, there are small world activities, a creative area, jigsaws and a book corner complementing the Montessori materials. Children are encouraged to choose activities they enjoy but also to experience things that are new and unfamiliar to them. A child needs gentle encouragement and support and positive reinforcement to learn and discover new experiences. The teacher supports each child as they explore their environment.   In the different activities, each child works both individually and in a group situation so as to promote teamwork and foster social skills.

DAILY REGISTRATION

Registration is from 9.00am.  The door will not be opened before these times to ensure all the necessary safety checks have been carried out.  On arrival, the children are encouraged to take off and hang up their coats and belongings on their peg and to put on their slippers.  All children self-register on arrival and a member of staff also marks them in on the register. Once a child has been handed over to a parent at the end of the session they resume responsibility for them.

MY MONTESSORI CHILD

My Montessori Child is pioneering software that helps us to deliver the best possible educational experience for young children.  The system comprises two parts: an iPad-based wireless system for teachers to use on a daily basis in the nursery school environment, and a secure website that parents can access at any time from any internet-connected device.

When teachers observe a child engaged in an activity, their observation notes and a photo are recorded via the iPad into the child’s personal profile.  Teachers are able to review their collective observations to ensure that each child’s development is properly supported in accordance with both Montessori principles and the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Each parents’ website is exclusively about their particular child and is regularly updated with the teachers’ observations.  So, visiting the site each week, you will be able to review your child’s self-directed development as recorded by the teachers. The parents’ site also keeps you up-to-date with the class topics under study and suggests ideas for things that you can do at home to support your child’s learning at school.  The website has notices posted for parents by teachers and lots of useful information, plus a simple online form that you can use to write to us on any non-urgent matter.

LEAVING YOUR CHILD FOR THE FIRST TIME

The initial separation for both the child and the parent can be difficult. We understand this and want to ensure it can happen as smoothly as possible. New children are invited to attend a settling-in visit before they join. On joining, gentle encouragement and patience are important; the needs of each individual situation determine the best approach to take. Parents are permitted to stay initially but we encourage separation so that the child can explore and settle into their new school environment.