The Montessori Method
The environment is prepared especially for the child and divided up into five specific areas. The nursery is equipped with beautifully hand crafted wooden activities. These tactile materials originally developed by Maria Montessori allow the child to explore colour, shape, texture, length, volume, area, letters, words and numbers. The Beachside Montessori Nursery believes in promoting more traditional expressive activities like painting, drawing, dressing up and craftwork. In our main hall the children are given the freedom to explore their environment (within limits). Maria Montessori describes the child as a "sensorial explorer" and that they learn through their senses. The child uses these senses to explore and learn during what she called their ''sensitive periods''. Through her years of study and observation, Maria Montessori discovered “sensitive periods". She described these periods as developmental windows of opportunity during which the child can learn specific concepts more easily and naturally than at any other time in their lives. A child in the midst of a sensitive period will show an especially strong interest or inclination toward certain activities or lessons.
“The child has a creative aptitude, a potential energy that will enable it to build up a mental world from the world about it. He makes numerous acquisitions during the sensitive periods, which put him in relation to the other world in an exceptionally intense manner.” The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori.
Our Practical Life activities are a fundamentally important part of the Montessori Method. This is the area the children are first introduced to and one they are naturally drawn to. The materials we use are easily recognisable to the child and objects they would have seen at home such as spoons, bowls, jugs and trays. Our Practical Life area has a direct aim of preparing the child for daily activities and skills which will see them through to adulthood. These activities include; pouring drinks, feeding themselves, preparing food, dressing themselves and taking care of their environment. This area indirectly focuses on developing fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination, concentration, independence and social awareness.
Our sensorial equipment allows the children to experience and differentiate betweeen different sounds, colours, textures, shapes and forms. These materials help the chid to develop their motor skills and enable them to form new concepts through exploring activities using their five senses. The sensorial activities facilitate the child's independence by having a 'control of error' which allows the child to self correct without an adult intervening.
Specifically designed materials enable the child to develop language comprehension, vocabulary and interactive skills. These materials are purposefully structured to prepare the child for reading and writing before reaching the age where they are traditionally taught. Being introduced to the Sandpaper Letters is an example of such an activity, the tactile equipment assists their learning and understanding. Having small group activities within a mixed age group encourages positive interactions that contribute to the child's listening attention and understanding.
The Montessori Method promotes mathematics in a positive and fun way to help children learn about shapes, size, length, numbers, problem solving and patterns. We encourage the language of maths in everyday activities through counting and words like "more and less". Activities such as the Spindle box teaches the child the value of zero and the Long Rods teach them length and gradation. Through the use of the mathematics equipment the children learn about quantities
and the symbol of one, ten, one-hundred and one-thousand.
Our Cultural area covers, Geography, Science, Zoology, Botony and Expressive arts and design fall into this category. Maria Montessori felt that having knowledge and understanding of such subjects is what makes one a "cultured" person.
Geography: During the year we discuss different subjects such as; land, air, and water, maps, continents, people, food and music from other countries. At The Beachside Montessori Nursery we pick a continent and learn about it during the month. We have a continent table set up each month with items from different countires for each continent.
Science: Our children are shown many science experiments and work on activities investigating the five senses and the similarities and differences in nature.
Zoology: This area we focus on learning about animals using puzzles, pictures and having animals visit the nursery.
Botony: Seeds, parts of a plant, kinds of trees, herbs and spices, and what plants give us, are some of the areas we study. We also plan to plant and grow vegetables in our garden which the children will be responsible for.
Expressive Art and Design: Our children are given the time to express themselves through arts and crafts (sticking, painting and junk modelling). They learn to design by having the freedom of all activities and being provided with the skills and time to complete their creations. During group times we provide the opportunity to sing songs and use the musical instruments to extend the children's understanding and awareness of the various uses of sound.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The EYFS sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. This government framework ensures that every child as the right to reach their potential and deserves the best start in life. The principles of the EYFS are to accept that every child is unique and has the opportunity to interact in positive relationships within an enabling environment to support their learning and development. At The Beachside Montessori Nursery we provide a safe, secure and happy environment which supports the child's learning and development through the EYFS and by following the Montessori philosophy and principles. The Prime and Specific areas are two important areas of learning and development within the EYFS.
"Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them." Development Matters in Early Years Foundation Stage
Prime Areas: this area includes; Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development. These areas develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, they work together and move through to support development in all other areas. The prime areas are fundamental throughout the EYFS.
Specific Areas: include essential skills and knowledge for children to be able to participate in society through Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Art and Design.
These area are incorporated into our planning to support each child.