At Hummingbirds Montessori School, we apply the Early Years Foundation Stage as well as the Montessori education principles to make sure that our team follows the development of young children in the following areas:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Children have access to a wide range of activities that they can choose independently amongst various areas of the classroom such as:
A literacy shelf
A numeracy shelf
Activities of everyday living (pouring liquids, closing and opening containers, dressing up, etc.)
"Knowledge and understanding of the world" shelves.
A sensorial area (with activities to develop the senses such as 2D and 3D shapes, sound and colour matching and grading boxes as well a wide variety of Montessori sensorial materials)
A food preparation area (with organic ingredients and harvest from our garden when possible)
Indoor and outdoor gardening
An Art and Creativity area (furnished with recycled materials, powder paint, modelling material, etc.)
A cosy corner (with cushions, blankets and books)
A mud kitchen and outdoor activities
A music room with instruments from across the globe. This room is also a space for reading and small group activities.
The Montessori method of teaching believes that children learn optimally through experiential materials with which they are able to learn about the world. Our classroom is divided amongst the following academic areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, Art, and Culture. Interwoven into these academic categories are lessons in peace education. The children are free to choose the activities independently. Children can either work at tables or on floor rugs depending on the space they require. Each Montessori work area contains materials that invite hands-on activity and isolate one developmental quality e.g Pouring to develop wrist flexibility . As we know children are naturally inquisitive and therefore Montessori materials are made up of enticing natural shapes and colours and also provide a control of error where possible. The aims of every material and lesson in the classroom are to develop concentration, coordination, order, and independence.
We honour the unique nature of each child through observation and individualised instruction, nurturing each child’s intrinsic desire to learn. We teach through interest led and seasonal based education. Projects are child initiated and encouraged to be as hands-on as possible.
The following video made by Lindsay Palmer, shows the morning of 4 years old Jackson in a Montessori environment (at Dundas Valley Montessori School in Ontario). It gives an idea of what a Montessori work cycle looks like.
THE GROWING PROJECT
With increasing concern for the preservation and protection of the environment, we believe that the education of the early years should include activities that teach these principles. We aim to encourage children to understand the Earth and ways of living that respect natural processes, reduce the use of disposable plastic and toxic resources in order to protect the environment. The world is moving towards a more environmentally aware state, where things such as being plastic free, zero waste, and the exclusion of endocrine disruptors become more important to us all. Hummingbirds Montessori School will strive to enrich children’s understanding with activities such as composting, reusing, recycling, upcycling, gardening and educating on the importance of healthy organic eating.
In order to foster a deeper connection to the natural world through sustainability, permaculture, and direct experiences in nature we have dedicated a significant portion of the curriculum to time outdoors.
THE MINDFULNESS PROJECT
Mindfulness is a core aspect of Montessori Philosophy. It is fair to say that you cannot have one without the other.
Because the natural development of the child is so respected by Montessori teachers, the young child develops an inner discipline that spontaneously encourages a strong awareness of the present, the self and the environment.
Research shows that adopting the habit of mindfulness enhances the learning process for children of all ages. It is an aspect that Maria Montessori had thoughtfully developed through Grace and Courtesy lessons which encourage compassion, empathy and respect towards oneself and others. Our curriculum also includes a daily practice of mindfulness in our classroom by providing yoga, meditation as well as a peace table for conflict resolution.
THE COMMUNITY PROJECT
If we want the education of young children to resonate, teachers need to anchor the learning process in the community, utilising what is familiar to them. Families and locals should be involved, where possible, in projects, outings and cultural celebrations.
By fostering a feeling of community within our classroom, described as "la casa dei bambini" (Montessori 1907), children grow in confidence, enjoy taking responsibilities and build a positive image of themselves.
This socialisation process aided by both families and educators support the child in his/her quest for independence. By bringing together children and their community we all help them to become increasingly aware of the importance of interdependence.
"It takes a village to raise a child."