According to Montessori the period from 6 – 9 years old is the ‘tranquil phase of childhood’, sandwiched peacefully between the pre-primary and adolescent years. Having being nurtured in the pre-primary school, the primary aged child is more physically and emotionally independent. They are ready for their next stage of learning and this was our main reason for establishing the Junior Primary. We want to see the children build on their insatiable curiosity. Full stimulation at this stage lays solid academic foundations and the development of divergent thinking. The children are developing a group identity and they show a much greater interest in friendships, discussions and group work at school, all of which is fully facilitated in the Montessori learning environment. The foundation phase child also starts to develop a moral awareness; shows a desire to become involved in community projects; and to learn about cultures and social graces. This is fully encouraged through our diverse learning environment and through our involvement with environmental and outreach projects.
The daily routine is flexible according to the needs of the children. Given below is an example of a typical day, running from 7.30 – 2 pm, children may be dropped off from 7.15 am and must be at school by 7.55 am at the latest.
7.30 – 8.00 a.m: Arrive and meet and greet, join friends in classroom.
8.00 – 8.15 a.m: Circle time, news, project information and outline of the day.
8.15 – 11.00 a.m: The Work Cycle incorporating set work for the day, individual choice time, individual work and small group activities.
11.00 -11.45 a.m: Lunchtime, Outdoor play, gardening and games.
11.45 – 1.00 p.m: Individual work/group lessons
1.00 – 2.00 p.m: On different days of the week this period incorporates the group lessons of Music, Drama, Chess, Enviro Club, Swimming and Ball skills
2 pm onwards: Extra Mural Activities (Ballet,Music,Breakdance)
(School closes at 12.30 on Fridays)
At Ocean View, we are fully aware of the requirements of The National Curriculum and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy for each grade (CAPS). We are able to meet all of these requirements through delivering our integrated Montessori Curriculum as detailed below. Careful planning and record keeping for each individual child allows us to monitor and track progress. Children in the Montessori Primary Phase also begin to keep a record of their work. This can take the form of a journal, a work plan or chart and promotes planning and time management, supporting the development of Executive Functions.
The Sensorial Materials as a Foundation for Maths: The children can now use their sensorial knowledge of dimension, texture, shape, colour, pattern and sound in a more abstract way across the curriculum.
The Maths Materials: The concrete foundation gained at the pre-school level gives the child an incredible spring board into Primary maths and beyond. Montessori described the child as having a ‘Mathematical Mind’: they have a natural desire to to absorb, manipulate, classify, order, sequence, abstract and repeat. Children move quickly onto working with the decimal system, learning about place value, borrowing and carrying over. Tables are learnt using beads for calculations and then memorisation and abstract thinking follows. The fraction materials build on what was learnt with the sensorial materials and allow the child to discover the rules of each fraction operation. The use of measurement, data handling and presentation of graphs are also introduced and practiced.
The Language Materials: : Expressive and receptive language is enriched throughout the pre-school phase and the process of reading and writing begins. Conversations, stories, poems, jokes and quizzes continue in the Primary class with an emphasis on developing a confident level of reading and writing, along with good spelling and handwriting skills. All of this is underpinned with grammar exercises to support comprehension and creative writing. Children will enjoy reading aloud to the group from classics of children’s literature, poetry and folk tales. Reading and comprehension skills will be further refined with project research and compilation. The DOE states that children must be introduced to an African language in the foundation phase, which should be taught as a first additional language. Zulu and Afrikaans are included in the list of African languages. At Ocean View we have chosen to teach both Zulu and Afrikaans at first additional language level in order to give flexibility for children’s future choices at Grade 4.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World: The children of this age group start to realise that the world is an enormous, fascinating place. Following on from their introduction in the pre-school, the children are primed to study the world around them further; its geography, history, people, cultures, animals and plants. In the Primary class we build on this knowledge with what Montessori called the ‘Great Lessons’: the story of how the world came to be, the development of life on Earth, the story of humankind, the development of language and writing and the development of mathematics. These stories are developed into projects and are intended to give the child a cosmic perspective of the Earth and humankind’s place within the cosmos.
Visual Art: The children will have established some excellent skills in the pre-school. We will continue to develop the children’s talent and enjoyment of visual art by introducing new techniques to link in with project work and to explore the work of artists throughout history.
Drama: The class have a weekly drama lesson with Shelly Haggard and learn to recite poems and verses expressively and to collaborate in developing scenes and mimes. Dance and movement forms an important part of these sessions. Confidence in self expression and an enjoyment of teamwork and performance will result.
Music: The children have a weekly music lesson with a qualified teacher, Annari van Jaarsveld. The focus is on singing and developing a love for the subject. Some musical theory is included.
Environmental Activities: The programme is integrated with the NationalCurriculum and allows us to bring Environmental Education into all of our teaching. Gardening, harvesting, recycling and building biodiversity in the garden are all regular activities. There are annual community based projects that highlight local and global issues. Past projects include; fundraising for World Rhino Day, the design and manufacture of re-usable shopping bags, raising overall awareness of preventing plastic pollution.
Swimming: This takes place every Wednesday at the Durban North Municipal Pool, Beachway, with swimming coach Loraine Hicks. The beginner class will run from 10.30 – 11.00 p.m and the Advanced from 11.00 – 12.00 noon. Children are transported there by staff and will return to school at 12.00 noon. The normal school day follows on from then and finishes at 2.00 p.m.
Ball Skills: Take place on Thursday mornings at Riverside Sports Club, with Coach Renaldo Jacks. The normal school day follows on from that and finishes at 2.00 p.m. The teaching focus is as follows; term one and four; cricket, term two; soccer and term three; hockey.
- Music: Keyboard and singing lessons
Additional Weekly Activities
- Birthday celebrations: Birthdays are celebrated in a uniquely Montessori way and we welcome you to share in the celebration.
- Outings: Outings and Visits are arranged in conjunction with the children in order to extend their knowledge and to give an opportunity to experience concepts in the broader environment.
- Vegetable and fruit sales: These will be held periodically when we have a harvest; herbs, rocket, limes, lettuce, broccoli, spinach and beetroot are all regulars.
- Environmental Days: Children choose environmental days to celebrate throughout the year; firm favourites include World Environment Day in June and World Rhino Day in September.
- End of term: School usually finishes at 10.00 a.m. on the last day of each term and we normally have a picnic, tea or walk to which parents are invited.
- Aftercare & holiday schools: Aftercare and Holiday schools are available at an additional cost.
- Annual Events: These include, Mother’s Day/Father’s Day celebrations, Art Evening, Sports Day and School play. Details will be communicated via the D6.