Montessori education which was developed by Italian doctor Maria Montessori is spread in Europe, USA, India, Australia and in other countries. When introducing elements of this education it is necessary to prepare a pleasant place and materials for playing and learning. Teachers should be able to motivate children to independent choice of activities with which they will work.
Montessori education stimulates children to listen to stories, songs, pleasant music, play with different toys and materials, develop their abilities to move, get acquainted with letters, start writing and gradually reading. Their teachers explain geography by telling stories about different countries and their inhabitants and teach them to respect different cultures. Children plant, water, observe and care about vegetables and flowers, learn appropriate behaviour towards animals and discover different laws of science. Fine arts and music education develop the feeling for these two areas of human life and enable children to express themselves.
La petite Academy will introduce especially the following characteristics of the Montessori programme:
- encouraging independence of children in everyday life
- encouraging children to learn languages, maths, arts, music, science, geography and history
- acquire knowledge in different other areas
- develop respec towards environment
- develop abilities to solve problems.
Our kindergarten prepared everything necessary to introduce the Montessori education: we renewed very big premises in which children feel free. The rooms are high and full of fresh air, we offer more than 4 square metres per child (standard: 3 square metres). Basic equipment is of pastel colours while pictures, toys, rugs and other things are more colourful. In the premises there are open boards and chests of drawers, tables and chairs made of wood, and real water.
In the garden which sourrounds the nursery, there are flower beds and children plant different vegetables and flowers and observe them growing. The kindergarten has many books, Slovenian and English and also different materials to learn mathematics, geography and arts. Ceramic plates, glasses and other beautiful things encourage children to react carefully and offer the possibility that children develop self-discipline, carefulness, appropriate movement. Children play by maintaining order, hygiene and respect of beautiful things.
Kindergarten teachers speak with children kindly and tenderly, help them with their work and play and watch how they develop. They teach them to be kind and polite. The teachers prepare new toys that stimulate children’s senses, wake up their curiosity and their needs to learn. They organise and take care of the corners in which children develop their knowledge and prepare conditions for children’s learning. When playing with Montessori toys and materials children work and think, make hypotheses and find solutions, solve problems, investigate and experiment. Such education is of special importance till the age of five which is the most important time in child’s development. This is the way in which children start to like learning. The teachers do not force children to learn. Children themselves want to work with Montessori toys and materials and learn in this way.
Kindergarten teachers avoid to disturb the practical work of children. They help them just as much as is absolutely necessary and then leave them play on their own. They let children work both individually as well as in a group. Children work and play in the atmosphere of freedom. The only limits are that they do not hinder others and/or destroy materials or toys.
An important element of the Montessori program is socialization. In the kindergarten there are children of different ages which enables those that are older to become a model for younger ones. Older children are taught to help the younger ones and in this way learn how to be patient, how to take care of younger ones and how to be friendly. Children are also taught to respect silence.