School ProgramsThe Montessori Method
Learn By Doing
The Montessori Method has been successfully used for over 100 years all over the world
Oak Grove Montessori Preschool is an exceptional choice for early childhood development in the Benoni/Brakpan/Springs/Daveyton/Boksburg/Kempton Park areas.
The Montessori Method has been used worldwide for over 100 years.
Beyond the Books
Our rich curriculum caters for both indoor as well as outdoor activities, in true Montessori essence we follow the child’s needs and cater for their holistic development while offering a method of teaching that exposes the child to advanced concepts at their own pace. Our children learn mindfulness techniques, planting and taking care of their indoor and outdoor environment. Activities incorporate both indoor as well as outdoor work.
WHAT IS MONTESSORI?
The prepared environment and the role of the educator in the classroom distinguish Montessori from other educational approaches. It is only in the Montessori classroom where independent activity makes up 80% of the work while educator directed activity is only 20%. The special environments enable the learners to perform various tasks that induce thinking about relationships. The logical, sequential nature of the environment provides orderly structures that guide discovery and offer practical occasions for introducing social relationships through free interaction.
The Montessori Method aims to aid the child’s growth towards independence in two ways: short term it provides freedom and independence in learning, long term it helps the child acquire tools for living, skills and abilities which give a person greater choices in life and make one free from dependence on others.
COMPARING MONTESSORI WITH TRADITIONAL EDUCATION:
Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they’ve been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make appropriate choices and manage their time well. Encouraged to exchange ideas, discuss their work freely with others, such students’ good communication skills ease the way in new settings. Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is a positive sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs, based on self-directed, non-competitive activities, help children develop strong self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.
- Emphasis on cognitive structures and social development
- Teachers role is unobtrusive, child actively participates in learning
- Environment and method encourage internal self- discipline
- Individual and group instruction adapts to each student’s learning style
- Mixed age grouping assists social development
- Children encouraged to teach, collaborate and help each other
- Child chooses own work from interests, abilities, while teacher ensures child completes 3yr syllabus
- Child formulates concepts from self teaching material
- Child sets own learning pace to internalize information
- Child spots own errors through feedback from material
- Learning is reinforced internally through child’s own repetition of activity
- Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration development
- Child can work where s/he is comfortable, moves and talks at will (yet does not disturb others); group work is voluntary and negotiable
- Advanced learning of subjects: Practical life, Sensorial, Language, Reading, Writing, Math, Geography, Botany, Zoology
The Montessori Approach is a philosophy of education with the fundamental belief that a child learns best within a social environment that supports each individual’s unique development.
It is a system based on profound respect for the child’s personality, helping him grow in all areas of his development. The Montessori Approach differs from other educational approaches because it is based on the principle of freedom within a carefully prepared environment suitable to the nature of the child. The role of the teacher is also a differing point. In the Montessori classroom the teacher is known as a “directress” – she guides, directs and observes the child and one of her main functions is to prepare the environment for the child.
Oak Grove Montessori Preschool implements Dr. Montessori’s philosophy, within the context of our modern society. The underlying philosophy at the School is “learning to love to learn” and everything that occurs within the School will be aimed at achieving this.
The five main areas of learning in the Montessori environment include; Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture.
Practical life activities include life skills to help develop confidence, independence, co-ordination, concentration, self-control, self-awareness, and include:
- Care of Self (food preparation, dressing, washing)
- Care of Environment (cleaning, gardening, care of pets, taking care of the indoor and outdoor environment)
- Grace and Courtesy (handling the equipment with care, respecting others in the environment, greetings, manners, social interactions)
- Control of Movement (refining movements, walking the line, moving quietly).
Sensorial activities allows the child to refine each of their senses:
- Sight (visual)
- Touch (tactile)
- Smell (olfactory)
- Taste (gustatory
- Sound (auditory)
- Stereognostic (kinaesthetic)
Includes the manipulation of specifically designed materials that isolate qualities. Refines fine motor skills, visual and auditory senses and develops coordination and the ability to order and classify.
Language. Children work through specific hands-on and tactile language materials such as the sandpaper letters to the moveable alphabet, based on phonetic awareness. Language is not an isolated topic but runs through the curriculum. Spoken language is the foundation for writing and then reading.
Mathematics is developed through the use of concrete learning materials. The sensorial area is the preparation for mathematics. Hands-on materials are used such as number rods, sandpaper numbers, number boards, spindle box, number tiles, beads, and games. Each exercise builds upon another and the child gradually moves to from concrete to abstract areas such as place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions.
5. Culture allows the child to explore the natural world around them and includes:
- Geography (continents, landforms, earth layers, solar system)
- Zoology (classification, physiology of animals)
- Botany (ecology, classification, physiology of plants)
Art and music could be considered cultural activities, however, creativity is encouraged across all curriculum areas.
What happens when we starve children of the right environment for these ‘Sensitive Periods’?
A child goes through the sensitive periods at certain stages in his life; there is a starting point, peak and end to all the sensitive periods. During these sensitive periods the child is able to absorb huge amounts of knowledge without fatigue. The child in a sensitive period will be attracted to and interested in work and movements of that sensitive period, he will focus and be completely absorbed in things of that particular sensitivity excluding everything else in the environment.
A sensitive period is referred to as a window opportunity, once a window opportunity of a certain sensitive period has been missed either it can never return. Intelligence and knowledge that the child could have easily absorbed now no longer appears to take place naturally and with ease, it now turns into a difficult task where one has to be taught.
This teaching can never compare to the absorbing during a sensitive period, the child will not gain half as much from the teaching experience as he would have from the sensitive period been met and nourished. His work now appears tiring and tedious at times even boring as he has no urge toward it or anything that attracts his interest to the particular stimuli or work.
When sensitive periods are starved and not met there are more effects than just missed intellectual learning. This could lead to vandalism and aggression, violent reactions which are often put down to naughtiness and temper.
There are five modes of learning:
- Sensation: children have an inbuilt way of learning through their senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. The Absorbent mind: the absorbent mind soaks up unconsciously the habits and language of the environment.
- Imagery: There is a powerful interplay between sensation, perception and imagery. A child uses imagery to relate past experiences to his memory.
- Through symbols: This includes 3 aspects involving language:
- Inner language, meaning of words and used in thinking.
- Receptive language, the organisation and translation of all words.
- Expressive language, following from sufficient organisation of both inner and receptive language. It is necessary for these to occur in sequence for the development of a young child.
- Conceptual: Classification and organisation of information combining to create rational thought and creative thinking and understanding of the world.
- Sensitive periods: At certain periods in the child’s life, he develops certain sensitivities and interests. During these sensitive periods the child is much more capable of very effective learning. The absorbent mind plays a big role in development during sensitive periods, this is an unconscious and conscious period where the child gains knowledge about the environment and himself.
The child is drawn to certain activities during sensitive periods, he follows an inner urge to fulfill a need. During sensitive periods, children can take in an enormous amount of knowledge with out fatigue. Through close observation and noting of which activities seemed to benefit and attract the children, Maria Montessori found that these were suggested by special, transient sensitivities to certain categories of stimuli. During a sensitive period, the child absorbs one part of the environment with exclusion to others.
The Montessori Method builds innovative thinkers
SOME FAMOUS PEOPLE EDUCATED AT MONTESSORI SCHOOLS:
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin – founders of Google
- Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon.com
- Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
- Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs – singer
- Prince William and Prince Harry
- T. Berry Brazelton – pediatrician and author
- Julia Child – author, chef, TV cooking shows
- Elizabeth Berridge – actress
- Kami Cotler – actress
- Melissa and Sarah Gilbert – actors
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Nobel Prize winner for Literature
- Katherine Graham – ex-owner of the Washington Post
- Anne Frank – author, diarist from World War II
Montessori called these broad, but distinct and temporary sensitivities, the ‘sensitive periods’. Montessori noted six of these sensitive periods:
- Sensitive Period for the development of sensory perception, begins at birth and continues till age five. During this sensitive period the child needs to exercise all the sense faculties as fully as possible. This is where the child will touch and feel everything around him and experiences great frustration by parent’s who do not understand his sensitive period and constantly instruct the child not to touch anything.
- Sensitive period for language, begins round three months till five and a half. The child develops an early sensitivity to the human voice and the sight of the human mouth speaking. The baby has a special sensitivity to and unconsciously selects from all the varied sounds in the environment, just human conversation.
- Sensitive period for order, starts round one year of age, peaks at two and subsides when the child is three. During this time of the child’s development, the construction of intellect appears to be going through a vital organisational phase. Impressions and experiences are being place in ordered patterns that form the basis for the child’s emerging world view, which then begins to make possible the ordered expression in language of ideas about the world. When order in daily experience is constant, it allows the child to build an understanding of life on the foundations of the patterns perceived. External order will facilitate the child’s development of an internal sense of order. External order would include constancies like keeping material objects in the same location, following the same daily routines and using the same procedures in doing things with the child.
- Sensitive period for small detail, occurs round age two to two and a half. This is where the toddler notices little things in the background instead of focussing on larger objects right in front of them. The purpose of the sensitive period to detail is to awaken the mind’s control over the child’s attention. It is therefore important to development that the child be able to broaden the field of observation available to the absorbent mind and to tighten the concentration of the inner intellectual structure in processing what is absorbed. This sensitivity to small detail, draws the child to the tiniest objects, separated fragments, faintest noises, hidden corners and all the phenomena previously overshadowed by the brightest, biggest objects, the fastest moving or the loudest. When the child is drawn to a small thing, the sensitivity holds the child’s attention there for an extended period, fostering the ability to focus on that one small stimulus to the exclusion of all else.
- Sensitive period for co-ordination of movement, the child enters this period at round two and a half years old to four. Co-ordination of movement means bringing the body under control of the will, being able to use one’s fingers, hands, feet, mouth etc precisely the way one wants to. The sensitive period for co-ordination of movement means that there is an involuntary inclination to perform and repeat movements purely for the sake of gaining greater and more precise control. The importance of this sensitive period is that it helps the child become physically capable of pursuing activities that in the absorbent mind’s second phase are consciously selected to provide the greatest benefit to the unfolding intellectual structure.
- Sensitive period to Social Relations, starts round two and a half through to five years of age. This sensitive period helps to orient the child towards intellectual development after age six. This occurs mostly in a social setting and consists of the gaining of social and cultural knowledge. The child pays special attention to the effect of one’s behaviour on the feelings and actions of others, and how one’s behaviour is affected by the judgements and tendencies of a group of children. This sensitive period enables recognisable affections and friendships to develop, it allows play to be co-operative and makes mischief to appear conspiratorial. The child is interested in and readily absorbs the basic rules of social relations, such as manners, mealtime customs, graceful movement and showing consideration for others.
Oak Grove Montessori Preschool is open to all pupils regardless of: Gender; Religion; Ethnic / cultural group; Language proficiency; Intellectual capabilities.
Enrolment will however depend on: Ability to adjust to the school; An association with our school’s values and philosophies; Availability of positions at the school.