Hear from one of our Pre-Primary (3-6 Years) Directors – Natasha Williams and Classroom Assistant Mag O’Hearn, as they share the exciting learning that has happened in their class so far this year.
The 3-6 environment is absolutely built, prepared and arranged with the 3-6 child in mind. It took Dr Maria Montessori many years of observation to understand what the child of this age was telling her that they need and so she created something that was so unique and tailored to their needs.
There is a reason that she named it ‘Casa Di Bambino’, The Children’s House. It is a bridge from the home environment into the prepared environment of the Children’s House.
From the moment your child walks in through the door they enter a world that is just for them. Their developmental needs are met in all aspects, physical, social, spiritual and emotional. It is a place for them to belong, make friends, become artists, chefs, scientists and builders, to learn to be part of a community which assists them to develop empathy, self-regulation and responsibility.
It is a place where freedom within limits sets the expectation and the three foundational concepts of respect for self, others and the environment are the pillars on which self-regulation and the development of self-discipline are built.
It is an autonomous place where children’s own choices are noticed, supported and encouraged. It is difficult to capture in a newsletter article the deep, individually meaningful moments that each child experiences for themselves within the prepared environment each day, however please enjoy a few photos from this semester of each of the Areas of the Montessori 3-6 Environment that your children move through on a daily basis, each one a discovery and an opportunity for individual and collective growth.
Care of self-tasks such as dressing frames help the child to master zips, bows, buckles, buttons etc so that they can become independent in dressing themselves. They are then able to use those skills to assist others. There are bows and buttons on aprons in the environment as well and once a child masters the various dressing frames you can often hear them say to another child “I can do your bow for you.”
The sensorial materials precisely isolate a quality and help the child to make sense of the many sensorial impressions that they absorb from their environment throughout the day. They refine the senses and provide experiences with the visual, tactile, gustatory and auditory senses. They assist the child to make a decision about their world, “that’s rough and that’s smooth, that’s long and that’s short.”
Mathematics is a language that helps us to make sense of our world. The children are well supported in their exploration of mathematical concepts with the concrete materials in the mathematics area.
The language area is multifaceted and sequential so that it develops the child’s language from oral language, phonetics, writing and reading.
The cultural area shows children the many ways in which humans fulfill their fundamental human needs. They discover sameness and difference in this area and explore people of the continents, art, architecture, music and food.
Experiments with chemical reactions, plants and gravity have been explored this semester with volcano making, testing if flowers receive water all the way into their petals and the construction of different bridge types.
Indigenous and Cultural Perspectives:
Embedded within the daily curriculum are activities that the children can use that provide them with indigenous perspectives. Whilst we bring more awareness to these issues around Reconciliation Day and NAIDOC week it is important to provide these every day of the year as well so that it becomes a normal and embedded experience for the child to consider these perspectives.
Connection with Nature:
We a blessed to have a beautiful garden with many edible items in our reach. We have bush tucker plants as well as fruits and vegetables. The children have enjoyed using the lemon myrtle leaves for tea, watching the autumn leaves change colour and fall so that they could make their own tree model and weekly gardening activities including yoga with our Horticulturalist, Steve.
We say goodbye and good luck to Felix Huppert (a.k.a big Felix) and Leora who continue their journey at FMS in the 6-9. We will miss you but know that you have outgrown this environment and will find a new home in the 6-9.
Thank you to our families over this semester, Mag and I have had a wonderful time with your children and extend our gratitude to you for including us in your child’s Education for Life at FMS.