At what age do children start preschool?
Children typically begin at a Montessori preschool at approximately three years of age. However, we accept enrolements for 4- and 5-year olds who wish to complete a minimum of 12 months.
Why the 3 hour work cycle?
In traditional Montessori programs, the school day is structured to provide learners with at least one daily- uninterrupted work period appropriate to the age level of the children in each class. At the early childhood level, this has traditionally been understood as a two-an-a-half- or three-hour uninterrupted work cycle in the morning. The purpose of long, uninterrupted blocks of work time is to allow students to select work freely, eventually becoming absorbed in work that has a particular fascination for them at this point in their development.
Dr Montessori discovered that a child as young as three, who has spent a few months in the Montessori classroom, is able to choose productive and challenging work, focus on the task at hand, finish a cycle of work, rest without interrupting those who are working, and repeat this sequence. She noted that for this to happen, a minimum of three hours of uninterrupted classroom time is essential. Of her experiences observing children during an uninterrupted work period, she noted: “Each time a polarization of attention took place, the child began to be completely transformed, to become calmer, more intelligent, and more expansive.” This is when the true cognitive and personal development of the child starts to take place.
Why the 3-year age range?
The mixed age group allows the children to learn from each other, and because of each other. The younger children are inspired to further activities through observing the older ones, and the older children reinforce their own knowledge by sharing it with the younger ones. Children become functioning members of their own community. They are treated with respect and dignity and learn to treat others in the same way.
The older children act as role models for younger children; they instruct younger children, reviewing concepts themselves in the process. Patience and confidence are reinforced and practiced. Younger children learn to seek the help and assistance of those more experienced than themselves. They begin to learn to seek the help to help themselves.
What is the importance of completing the 3 year cycle?
Within each three-year cycle, a body of information and skills is presented. We strongly encourage completion of the three-year cycle so that the child can achieve the ‘total possibility’ offered by the class. Montessori recognised sensitive periods in the development of children’s lives when they show strong interest in certain aspects of their environment. She designed her program to introduce aspects of learning at a time when the children are most receptive. The third year is the culmination of the process. The third “extension” year is equivalent to the Kindergarten year in primary schools and has the great advantage of extremely low child-teacher ratios, with a maximum of ten children in the Kindergarten group. The curriculum is equivalent to that covered in primary schools and is accredited by the Board of Studies.
How are Montessori learning methods different from traditional classrooms?
The teaching methods and curricula are based closely on the methods, insights, materials and discoveries of Dr Maria Montessori, which differ significantly from the more traditional methods and above all, stress the individuality of the child. Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self- discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12 and so on) forming communities in which older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.
Are Montessori Children successful in later life?
Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning work in on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations. For further information please visit: http://montessori.org.au/