Montessori named this phase of development ‘The Social Embryonic Phase’ and this is when the child enters the pre-school. The child is now ready for a wider range of friendships and is much more comfortable being away from home. Learning is more structured, language develops rapidly and every experience counts towards learning. This is the stage of development that Montessori named, the ‘Absorbent Mind’, when the child’s brain absorbs information like a sponge. The Montessori method gives full attention to the importance of early education and this is achieved through a dynamic relationship between the child, the teacher and the learning environment.
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 – 12.45. The children may be dropped off between 7.30 am and 8 am.
7.30 – 8.00 a.m: Arrive, meet and greet, join friends in play area.
8.00 – 8.15 a.m: Circle time with songs, news, project information and outline of the day
8.15 – 11.15 a.m: The ‘work cycle’ incorporating individual choice of work, work with teacher, small group activities and individual snack
11.15 – 12.00 noon: Snack, outdoor play, gardening and games
(On different days of the week, this period includes music, drama, P.E. art and psychomotor lessons)
12.00 – 12.15: Clean up and story
12.15 – 12.45: Home time
12.45 onwards: Extra mural activities
The Montessori Pre- Primary Curriculum
The Activities of Everyday Living
These teach children skills for daily living (dressing, personal hygiene and care, food preparation, cleaning, gardening and classroom skills.) The activities also assist in the development of manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination and concentration.
The Sensorial Materials
These provide opportunities for the systematic refinement of the child’s five senses. This refinement occurs through matching, grading and building with various materials unique to the Montessori curriculum. Focus is given to shape, dimension, colour, pattern, textures and sounds. Sensory discrimination and memory are the basis for all learning.
The Language Materials
Each child’s language skills are enriched: vocabulary, conversation and comprehension are developed. Using the phonic approach, the children learn to associate letter shapes and sounds and then to ‘write’ their own words using the Montessori materials. Reading and writing develop effectively as a result. Our aim is to promote a love for books and reading.
The Mathematics Materials
Building on the skills learned from the sensorial materials, the children establish a concrete understanding of quantities and numerals, which is an essential foundation for mathematical understanding. They quickly and confidently move on to problem solving and operations with a variety of materials, leading to an understanding of the abstract.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World
We teach the children about the world, its geography, people, cultures, religions, history, nature and science. We aim to answer the ‘why?’ questions and to fuel the desire for further learning. Lessons are a process of discovery and include nature walks, gardening and experiments. Projects focus on a particular topic, but our aim is to support the spontaneous learning that occurs through the child’s natural curiosity and developing interests.
Our aim is to teach music, movement, drama and art in a truly creative way by equipping the children with the skills and confidence that they need in order to express themselves freely.
Visual Art: Painting, collage, cutting and sticking are freely chosen. We also introduce a wide variety of media and techniques through art activities relating to the termly project. ‘Upcycling’ is part and parcel of our creative work.
Music: Our weekly music lessons are taught by our qualified and experienced music teacher, Annari van Jaasveld. We find that this part of the curriculum contributes greatly to the all round development of the child.
PE: Each group has a weekly PE lesson lesson that incorporates balance, ball skills and all gross motor movements. Our playground provides opportunities for further physical development. Gardening projects also help refine physical skills. Our sports ethos is non-competitive and our annual sports day gives experience in participation. Extra-mural activities further support what is on offer during the school morning.
Psychomotor Education: This has been a compulsory part of the pre-primary school curriculum in Europe for the past 16 years and recent statistics have shown a dramatic fall in learning difficulties where these lessons are taught. Rose and Lucy, trained psychomotor educators, teach all groups on a weekly basis. The sessions incorporate gross motor play; team building; and problem solving but are essentially a great deal of fun and the highlight of the week. White boxer shorts and Ocean View T-shirt are to be worn to school every Thursday for Psychomotor lessons. This is extremely important from a safety point of view. Please do not send children in long shorts, pants or dresses, all of which restrict movement and can catch on the equipment.
We received our ‘Eco-School’ Diamond Decade award in 2016, and continue our environmental work at the school. At Ocean View, wildlife activities, recycling and gardening are an integral part of our curriculum. Our community food garden that we have developed on our adjacent verge is an area tended by the older children, where we grow fruit and vegetables to be shared in the community. Termly projects are structured around environmental and community related topics to promote awareness among children and their families.
Extra Mural Activities
- Chess Club
- Little Kickers
- Break Dance
Additional Weekly Activities
- News: Children are encouraged to share their weekend news every Monday. Please help your child to recall weekend events by discussing them on the way to school on Monday mornings.
- Share basket (Show ‘n’ Tell): Every Monday the children are encouraged to bring and share an object of interest related to the current project.
- Project work: Advance notice will be given of each project.
- Baker: Every Friday one child has a turn to be the Baker when they share a treat with their group.
- Librarian: Every Monday one child has a chance to be class librarian when they share five of their favourite storybooks with the class. The aim is to foster a love of reading.
- Birthday celebrations: Birthdays are celebrated in a uniquely Montessori way and we welcome you to share in the celebration.
- Outings: Outings are arranged to tie in with projects in order to extend the child’s knowledge and 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.
- 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, the Easter picnic, Mother’s Day tea/lunch, Father’s Day breakfast, Art Evening, Music and Drama morning, Sports Day and School play. Details will be communicated via newsletters.
Preparation for Grade One
The Montessori pre-school curriculum runs from 3 – 6 years. During this time the children receive many lessons and undergo many new learning experiences. Each of these can be seen as a puzzle piece that is slowly being combined into a picture to be completed at the end of the child’s pre-school career at 6 years. Having gained the gained maximum benefit from their Montessori Pre-school Education in all areas of development, the children are then fully prepared for Grade One, within the Montessori system or in the mainstream.
Settling-in and Feedback to Parents
We want your child’s school experience with us to be happy, secure and stimulating and we value parental involvement. When settling new pupils, we offer staggered starting dates so that each child can be given lots of extra attention during their first few days at school. Regular feedback is given through parent meetings, reports and assessments and parent classroom observations.