Montessori is a special way for children and adults to be together. Every aspect of the experience is planned to help children become confident, capable, creative, caring and happy people who are a delight to be with.
The Montessori philosophy of education influences all aspects of the child’s experience. From the design and selection of materials, to the selection and education of the class directress. All activities are carefully planned to make it easy for children to become that special person each child can be.
The teacher is called a directress to remind her to gently direct and guide the children in their activities rather than dictate the child’s every move. This leads to mutual respect and affection helping the children develop confidence in their own ability.
The variety of materials to explore, the teacher’s quiet demonstration of their possibilities, and the time available for the child to watch older children, all work together to help the child develop the courage to try new things.
Children are encouraged to thoroughly explore an activity. They quickly learn to examine a problem carefully, seeking the possibilities and discovering the solution. We see the maturing child’s confidence in their own ability grow.
The effects of this program, when reinforced in the home, can be seen in older children who organize their work schedule or produce quality work on time without prodding.
Montessori recognised early that different children mature at different rates and are ready for different learning experiences at different times in their lives. To teach children at a level for which they are not yet ready confuses them and creates a sense of failure and incompetence which may haunt them all their lives.
Many of the learning materials at First Steps are “self-correcting.” This means that if a child makes a mistake, it is not the teacher who points out the error. Rather, the material allows the child to find and correct the error. In this way, repeated trials are encouraged without a sense of shame or failure.
In this way, repeated trials are encouraged without a sense of shame or failure. In that way, our children become responsible for their learning and behaviour. They learn to respect themselves and others, and they develop the inner discipline without which true freedom is not possible.
Everything in our school is designed to encourage and aid the child’s natural curiosity. There is freedom to move about and to join with other children in any of the hundreds of available learning experiences. Observations are carried out and recorded daily by the teachers to help them give the exact guidance needed at any given time.
We believe that the children’s level of development should determine what they are taught. Only in this way can they realise their full potential with confidence.