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Children's House


The Prepared Environment:

In Montessori education our main focus is on preparing the classroom environments to meet all the children's needs. The Children's House is designed to encourage independence, social skills and holistic development during this crucial time:

"The first aim of the prepared school environment is, as far as possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.That is, a place where he can do things for himself - live his own life - without the immediate help of adults... a place where the children are to be increasingly active, the teacher increasingly passive... [the child] becomes conscious of his own powers." (Maria Montessori: Her Life & Work)

We know that children between 3-6 years are at the peak of their creative powers regarding language, coordinated movements, sensorial refinement and social interactions.Therefore, we consider many aspects when preparing this special environment and have a wide range of activities to support development of important human characteristics:

Individuality
Creativity
Independence
Friendships
Concentration
Self-awareness
Responsibility
Sequencing
Logical thought processes
Problem-solving
Self-discipline
Freedom of movement
Positive communication and conflict resolution 

"These are the surroundings which invite activity, and among which the child will gradually perfect his movements without fatigue, acquiring human grace and dexterity." (The Advanced Montessori Method)


We have specific areas within the classroom:

Cambridge Montessori Practical Life Environment
Practical Life (including Grace & Courtesy role-plays):

Purposeful life skills that develop independence, coordination, logic, sequencing and communal responsibility - washing, cleaning, polishing, sewing, cooking, dressing, toileting, communicating effectively and helping others. The children even have their own special kitchen with real equipment for preparing snacks and meals independently. We employ the highest standards of hygiene and safety with adult supervision at all times. Every child will have opportunities to be Head Chef for the day to develop their confidence, independence and leadership skills.


Sensorial:
Concrete activities which are scientifically designed so children can understand abstract concepts of size, shape, texture, colour and fragrance while refining their senses (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile and stereognostic). There are a wide variety of games for children to play in pairs or small groups once they have had time to explore the materials independently.

Language:
Dr Montessori created a wonderful language system using concrete materials to teach writing, reading and language analysis. The children are able to develop beautiful handwriting, extensive vocabulary and a love of reading during their time in the Children's House.

Mathematics:
Dr Montessori also devised an ingenious system for teaching mathematics, again using concrete materials to teach these abstract concepts. We never use worksheets as traditional schools do. And our children never say they don't like maths because all our activities are beautiful, interesting and effective!

Culture:
Within this section there are a huge range of activities that cover biology, physics, geography, drama, music, art, sport, world cultures and religion. These include opportunities indoors and outdoors for sensorial experiences and to work as individuals, in small groups and as a whole class.

Preparation of the Teacher:

The second most important aspect is on preparation of the adults in the environment. We consider intellectual, emotional and physical preparation so we are able to fully support the children.

Dr Montessori was very clear about the role of adults within the classroom. We are to carefully observe and direct each child's attention towards activities that will help them develop positively and comprehensively:

"The teacher's happy task is to show [the children]the path to perfection, furnishing the means and removing the obstacles, beginning with those which she herself is likely to present (for the teacher can be the greatest obstacle of them all)." (The Absorbent Mind)


Our staff have three main responsibilities within the classroom:

Create and maintain a beautiful, orderly and comprehensive environment. Be the dynamic link between the children and the environment. Observe the children and plan accordingly.

We keep the classroom tidy and clean, move around with care and grace, speak gently and positively, and find ways to show all the children they are valued and respected as individuals.

Through modelling these behaviours and involving the children in all aspects of life within the Children's House, we empower them to develop self-confidence and self-discipline that will last a lifetime:

"Let us always remember that inner discipline is something to come, and not something already present. Our task is to show the way to discipline. Discipline is born when the child concentrates his attention on some objects that attracts him and which provides him not only with a useful exercise but with a control of error. Thanks to these exercises [of practical life and our other educational activities], a wonderful integration takes place in the infant soul, as a result of which the child becomes calm, radiantly happy, busy, forgetful of himself and, in consequence, indifferent to prizes or material rewards." (The Absorbent Mind)