Ducklings Montessori Nursery
A fulfilled child is a happy child. Our purpose is to help each child take his or her fist steps towards self-fulfilment. We aim to generate security, trust and independence in the child, as well as encouraging them to be polite, considerate and kind, thus preparing them to fit into any situation and to move on to their next school with confidence. Ducklings Montessori School is a very well equipped Nursery for children between the ages of 2 to 5 years and provides an excellent stepping stone between home and school. It is our belief that each child should be allowed to develop naturally at his or her own pace with the opportunity for individual attention and we adopt an inclusive approach promoting equality of opportunity. Children of this age have an absorbent mind for knowledge; they desire stimulation and this should be found in a full and exciting environment through which they can explore and learn. Montessori recognises and celebrates the unique individuality of each child and the potential that they hold within themselves. A practitioner should never be a taskmaster but a guide and helper. Her role is to encourage positive attitudes, provide stimulus, and lay the foundations for a child to enjoy discovering and learning. It is also the practitionerâ€™s duty, based on their observations of individual children, to develop each childâ€™s potential. Ducklings Montessori Nursery sessions run from 9.15 a.m. to 1.15 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays and 9.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m. on Thursdays, term time only. From the start of term following their 3rd Birthday all three year olds are entitled to access up to 15 hours per week free Nursery funding for up to two academic years before they reach compulsory school age.
Throughout the morning sessions at Ducklings the children are involved in child initiated and adult led activities including art and craft, topic work, nature study, singing, music, creative play and they have access to a range of learning materials developed by Dr Maria Montessori. Our aim is to develop the whole child and make their day fun. The Nursery was established in September 2002 by Julia Jack. Julia has twenty years experience working with children in Nurseries, Schools and children with Special Educational Needs. She achieved a BA Degree from the Open University in 2009 and is planning to undertake a four month course in September 2010 to achieve her Early Years Professional Status (EYPS). She is also a qualified Royal Academy of Dance teacher. Some of the supporting members of staff are trained to NVQ Level 3 or are training for this level and every member of staff is enthusiastic and committed and has experience working with children. Contact telephone numbers :Julia Jack - 07747 093222/ 07716 386187 01525 270845
Ducklings Montessori Nursery
Introduction to the Montessori Teaching Method Montessori education aims at helping natural development, not simply imparting information. It is an attitude as well as a teaching system. An understanding of each individual child is crucially important. In a Montessori school the child is given a room where everything is the right size for him or her and everything is useful and interesting. They see other children playing and find that they can have companionship while participating in both childinitiated and adult-led experiences. Children of pre school age have an absorbent mind for knowledge: they desire stimulation and this is found in a full and exciting environment through which they can explore and learn. For Dr Maria Montessori, learning was the key to children’s development and education and the main contributing factor to the child’s preparation for life. However, she also recognised that young children do not learn subjects, but that their learning is integrated and holistic in its nature. The child’s ability to observe, explore, investigate, ask questions, share ideas and so learn about the world is not necessarily organised into lessons or subjects. The child observes and explores when they become interested and when they are able to engage in an activity which involves their whole being. It is also generally agreed today that play is the most effective tool for the child’s learning and therefore we need to recognise that in the early years, ‘learning occurs constantly whether intentionally or incidentally’ (Macleod-Brunell 2004: 45). At Ducklings Montessori Nursery it is our aim ito develop the whole child and make their day fun. Each child’s progress is followed in a Unique Profile, which lists the progression of the activities and experiences they have participated in, building on skills they have learned. Each child’s individual profile is supplemented by detailed observations, samples of their work and photographs documenting their progress. These profiles are sent on to the child’s next setting and an individual photograph album is given to each family at the end of their child’s time at Ducklings. Each child is allocated a Key Worker and Parent consultations are held once a term, in order to give the key worker and parent/carer the opportunity to discuss their child’s progress and be closely involved in their development.
Montessori practice and the Early Years Foundation Stage Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates; and all areas of learning and development are equally important and integrated. Therefore at Ducklings our planning is based on developmentally appropriate activities, which reflect the childâ€™s interest and promote engagement, concentration and exploration. The six areas of learning are as follows:
Personal, social and emotional development. Practical life exercises are an important part of the Montessori system of teaching. The activities in this area reflect the childrenâ€™s need to model behaviours reflecting their family life. They also allow children to contribute towards the cultural and social life of the classroom, offering them the opportunity to experience a sense of belonging. One of the aims of the practical life activities is to make a link between the home and Nursery environment. This is done by representing tasks and activities which children may be already familiar with from their home environment such as pouring their own drinks, getting dressed, washing or sweeping the classroom. We also encourage social interaction and co-operation between the children, teaching them to be polite, considerate and kind.
Communication, Language and Literacy In this area of learning, there are six key features, which focus on communication as well as use of language as a cognitive skill and the introduction of reading and writing. At Ducklings we encourage conversation, discussion and dialogue as part of everyday life. The journey towards reading and writing is often initially motivated by personal interest, such as recognition of oneâ€™s own name, a friendâ€™s or siblingâ€™s names. It is vital that we acknowledge that in the early years, this journey is likely to be longer and not as clearly defined as it is when the child is five, six or seven. The Montessori Language materials use all the senses to help children develop their language, communication and listening skills. We also encourage the development of mark making and pencil control and the children enjoy listening to stories and spending time in the reading corner.
Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy Children often come to Ducklings with a passive knowledge of numbers through everyday use, such as counting steps, reciting nursery rhymes, looking at number books and recognising numerals on car number plates or on houses. The Montessori mathematical apparatus offers children the opportunity to hold, count and manipulate objects which helps them to learn concepts through concrete activities. The sensorial area of learning provides many opportunities for problem solving, reasoning and also for exploration of shape and space. For example, children can use the geometric cabinet to become familiar with shapes of varying sizes. Also participating in cooking activities encourages the children to weigh and measure out ingredients.
Knowledge and Understanding of the world This area of development offers opportunities for children and teachers to explore a wide range of topics of interest in biology, geography and history. The activities in this area centre on real experiences that give children opportunities to observe, explore and investigate things such as trees, seasons, farmyard animals, the solar system, how a volcano works and so on. The exploration of continents and their countries also give us opportunities to explore similarities and differences in the lives of children and their families around the world. We also include ICT as part of our curriculum as well as encouraging the children to explore everyday technology such as using digital cameras, calculators and toy telephones.
Creative Development Creativity provides children with opportunities to develop both their practical skills as well as their imagination. This area of learning acknowledges the importance of self-expression and highlights the need for children to have opportunities to participate in self-chosen and self-initiated arts and craft activities, as well as music and movement and socio-dramatic play. This approach relies on the adultsâ€™ observation skills and good range of resources to facilitate role play as it emerges.
Physical Development Physical development is inherent in all the activities carried out at Ducklings. Movement consists of gross and fine motor skills, awareness of space and balance. This area of learning takes place both indoors as well as outdoors. At the Nursery we have extensive outdoor facilities including a large field attached to the setting where the children can participate in active outdoor play. Ducklings Montessori Nursery is also committed to healthy-eating programmes as we offer a daily snack of fresh fruit and milk.
Maria Montessori’s Life and Work
“Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but living and walking about - came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.” (Maria Montessori)
Dr Maria Montessori was born in 1870. She studied medicine at the University in Rome and in 1900 went back to the same University to pursue her interest in psychology and education. Montessori decided in 1913 to give up both her lectureship at the university and the medical profession and went on to set up her first Children’s House in Rome in 1907. Montessori’s observations made her believe that children were capable of extended periods of concentration, they enjoyed repetition, freedom of movement and choice and enjoyed purposeful activities and it was discoveries such as these that led her to believe that these characteristics in children represented the potential of humanity. She advocated that all children should be given the opportunity to ‘reveal themselves’ in a developmentally appropriate environment that would facilitate their natural growth. Maria Montessori went on to devote her energies to the training of Montessori teachers, to the development of Montessori learning materials and to the establishment of the Montessori
network worldwide. Between 1907 and 1914 interest in Montessori education flourished and many opportunities were opened to Montessori to promote her unique view of children and their learning. By 1914, there were hundreds of Montessori schools established in Europe, North and South America as well as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Montessori died in the Netherlands in 1952 wanting to be known as a citizen of the world.