Dr. Maria Montessori was one of the most influential early years educators of the 20th century and her classroom practices and ideas have had a profound influence on the education of young children throughout the world.
She believed that a child needs freedom to learn and that a child learns best by doing. She believed that happy, self-motivated learners become confident, successful adults.
The Montessori approach combines a philosophy of freedom and self development for children, with a holistic approach which aims to develop the whole child. Fundamental to the approach is the belief that a child’s early years from birth to six are the period when they have the greatest capacity to learn.
Montessori created specially designed resources to foster independence and a love of learning. All of her materials are very inviting and the child finds learning from an early age an enjoyable thing to do.
In Montessori schools this freedom of choice to learn is provided in a prepared environment which is stimulating and interesting to the child. This environment allows children to satisfy their curiosity in their surroundings and so develop their own interests and abilities.
For further information on Montessori please follow this link to the Montessori Schools Association website.
On entering our classroom you can instantly see how it differs from a traditional nursery class.
The materials we use to teach reading, writing, mathematics, geography, science and cultural studies are all unique to the Montessori classroom
The prepared environment and teaching method encourage independence and internal self-discipline
Children are free to choose the materials they want to work with
We do not work to a set timetable, rather encouraging children to work with materials at their own pace
The adult’s role is to broaden the child’s horizons and promote their independence by maximising the amount each child can do for him/herself.
Most of the teaching is done on a one-to-one basis
There is a feeling of ‘family’ within our classrooms. All children are encouraged to work in the classroom together, allowing the younger children to integrate with and learn from their peers and the older children to gain a sense of responsibility in caring for the younger ones and leading by example.
The Early Years Foundation Stage in the Montessori Classroom
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.
The EYFS supports an integrated approach to early learning and care. It gives all professionals a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.
As well as being the core document for all professionals working in the foundation years, the EYFS framework gives mums and dads confidence that regardless of where they choose for their child’s early education, they can be assured that the same statutory commitments and principles will underpin their child’s learning and development experience.
The Four Key Themes and Principles of the Early years Foundation Stage are as follows:-
A Unique child
Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, where their experiences respond to their individual needs and where there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents / carers
Learning and Development
Children learn and develop in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provisions, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development
Next: Learning and Development