Welcome to Bright Light Montessori

Toddler Class

Your child is growing up fast and ready for a little more independence, our Toddler class will be a perfect introduction.

PRESCHOOL CLASS

Our approach to learning and teaching through child centred play and exploration. We have a fully equipped Montessori environment for your child to develop to their full potential.

AFTERCARE AND HOLIDAYCARE

With a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, imaginative play and physical activities, our staff will engage with your children.

Why Bright Light Montessori?

Bright Light Montessori aims to create a loving environment that welcomes all children and allows them to feel at home. The school is set up in a cozy home environment that helps to create a loving home away from home and where they can grow to their full potential.

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About Us

Bright Light Montessori was founded by our Principal and Preschool class Directress Natalie Hart in 2017.

Natalie spent many years’ au pairing children in America and South Africa, which created a deep love for child development and how to help them grow into confident, happy children. In 2008 Natalie studied at Headstart Mercy Montessori for her Diploma in age 3-6. Natalie taught at a small Montessori School in Mowbray for 3 years and then moved on to Mainstream preschool in Tokai where she grew even further in her love for education. Natalie has Bachelors in Education in Foundation Phase; this helps her to know what the children need to achieve to succeed in South African Grade 1 classes. After 5 years Natalie knew it was time to open her own school and help even more children grow to their full potential.

 

The Toddler directress Natasha Brand is a dedicated mom of 3 and has a natural love for children. Natasha is a firm believer in creating a loving environment of learning and helping the little ones develop all the needed skills they need in the Preschool class. Natasha has a mainstream Grade R qualification with UNISA and is In House trained in the Montessori methods.

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The Environment

The Montessori classroom is a home away from home a happy place full of friends where you can be yourself. It is a place full of interesting things to do, but also a place where you can take time out and just be quiet if you want to. It is somewhere where you can grow up knowing that you belong and that you are special.

Careful preparation

The layout of the classroom encourages exploration, communication and the development of relationships on all levels. Everything reflects a dedication to quality, beauty and to the children’s abilities to do things for themselves. Montessori saw that careful preparation of the environment is an essential ingredient for the successful development of children. She realised that the child relies completely on the environment for the sensorial impressions through which he gains a sense of the world in which he lives. She therefore paid a great deal of attention to the way in which Montessori schoolrooms were laid out. She wanted the classroom to be a happy, friendly place where children felt at home, where they knew where everything was and where they didn’t always have to rely on adults to help them.

Think child-sized

Everything in a Montessori classroom is made to be easily accessible to the children. Montessori was the first educator to produce child-sized tables and chairs and to think about the fact that children need to have cupboards and shelves at their own height. She wanted the children to feel that the schoolroom belonged to them rather than the teachers. She knew that order is very important to children and she therefore ensured that everything had its place and that all materials were kept as neatly as possible. She created materials that she saw the children were drawn to and she removed those items in which they showed no interest. She tried to ensure that the materials provided met the interests of the children. It was the children who led her development of the materials and the children who showed her how the environment should be prepared.

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Life skills

 

Montessori saw that very young children are frequently frustrated in their attempts to do things for themselves and that what they need is to have specific exercises, as closely linked to real life as possible, that allow them to master the tasks that they see going on around them in everyday life. She also saw that, unlike the adults in their lives, the children are not interested in achieving end results as quickly as possible, but are far more interested in the learning processes. As a result they will happily repeat exercises again and again until they feel satisfied. Practical life activities are therefore an important part of the Montessori environment. The young child is attracted to activities that he sees going on around him and that give him independence and control of his own life. She therefore introduced into her classrooms materials and exercises that allow children the maximum possible opportunity to learn how to both look after themselves and their environment. In the practical life area you will see things such as special frames to help children learn to do up and undo clothes, lots of spooning and pouring exercises, stirring, whisking and grating trays, cutting and threading activities and many other activities that children see going on around them at home. Practical life also includes helping children do other important tasks such as opening and closing doors, carrying trays and chairs, washing and drying hands, caring for books and blowing noses!

The sensorial materials

The need for order, exactness, self-correction and quiet reflection all are qualities that Montessori saw are needed in order for children to develop as they should. When she saw that children are particularly drawn to certain activities she then concentrated on developing materials that would extend that interest. She carefully took each of the senses and thought how best she could help the children to clarify and expand their existing experiences. By isolating specific qualities in the materials and by grading each set in ever-refined series, she was able to give the children the ability to increasingly refine each of their senses. Many of the exercises in this area are also indirect preparations for later mathematics and language work as they enable the child to order, classify, seriate and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass and colour.

Mathematics

Montessori believed that children have mathematical minds and she revolutionised the way in which mathematics is taught. She developed a wonderful set of materials, many of which have now been copied by educators throughout the world. The mathematical concept is presented firstly in a very concrete form followed by the abstract written version. The materials for mathematics introduce the concept of quantity and the symbols 1 through to 10. Then, using a variety of beads and symbol cards, the child becomes familiar with the numbers as a decimal system by means including concrete experiences with the operation of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These operations not only teach the child to calculate, but they provide a deep understanding of how numbers function.

Language

Montessori was a great believer in indirect preparation. By this we mean that she found clever ways in which children can learn how to do things without even realising that that is what they are doing. For example, she created sets of metal insets that children use for drawing but that actually help form the fine motor skills for subsequent writing. Many of the practical life and sensorial exercises were designed with this in mind. When the child is ready, we begin to teach the phonetic sounds of the letters; then we move on to word building and recognition, and then book reading. She found that writing comes as part of the childs natural desire to express his or her new knowledge and nearly always precedes reading. One of the most wonderful times for children and teachers is when the children share the excitement of finding that they can put their thoughts down on paper and there is a subsequent explosion into emergent writing.

Cultural studies

Montessori saw that young children were full of curiosity and loved exploring new things for themselves. She also saw that they wanted to explore things in increasingly complex ways. When she experimented with what they might be interested in she was astonished just how much they wanted to know and how much they were able to remember. She therefore tried to find ways to help them understand the world beyond their own environments. She developed a wide range of beautiful materials that allowed the children to gain an appreciation of biology, geography, simple science and history. Each of these areas then allowed the children to explore and experiment with concepts such as metamorphosis, life cycles, land formations, the planets and time lines. As in all other areas of her work she was careful to let the children lead her in their interests and she was surprised to find that they very easily learnt not only the simple, but also the technical names of the new things that they were introduced to. In fact, Montessori children frequently astonish adults with their in-depth knowledge of the subjects they are studying.

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Art and creativity

Montessori felt that it is very important for children to be allowed to express themselves freely. She was aware; however, that they are very often frustrated by the fine motor skills they need for such things as cutting and gluing. She therefore developed many indirect activities that help children develop the necessary abilities. The Montessori environment is full of opportunities to experiment with different and exciting materials. Whether involved in painting, singing, playing instruments or dancing, children are allowed to be individuals, free to express their feelings and emotions and free to enjoy the rich worlds of movement, sound, colour and sensation.

Imagination

 

Montessori schools tend to offer the children activities that are based upon real activities in the real world. Montessori felt that very young children need experiences rooted in the real world. In a Montessori school, therefore, you are much more likely to see children doing real washing, cleaning and cooking than pretend.

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Outdoors

Being outdoors is very important. Children develop gross motor skills as they climb, jump and swing and also social skills as they take turns on equipment and play hide and seek. Montessori believed strongly that children should be in touch with the substance of their world, encouraging work with clay, gardening and growing activities and even building little houses. Contrary to the belief that a sandpit has no place in a Montessori nursery, it has been suggested that Maria Montessori invented the idea.

Social skills

Children aren’t born with an innate knowledge of why we shake hands, or kiss, or rub noses depending on our culture and in the Montessori classroom they learn appropriate greetings. As they become aware of other cultures they are encouraged to celebrate differences and value them equally. During circle time children are shown how to move quietly and carefully around the classroom, push in chairs, wait patiently before politely gaining someones attention and are reminded how important it is to allow others to work undisturbed. These ground rules in the classroom give every child total security. Children also learn to notice if somebody needs help and that nobody is too small to be useful.

A loving community

Above all, a Montessori environment is one where adults and children care for one other and aren’t afraid to show it. It is somewhere where you can learn as much as possible about all the things that interest you without being scared about the things that don’t. It is where you can be yourself and can learn to really love learning.

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Bright Light Montessori is a Christian based school, but welcomes all children and families of any religion.

We will have a simple prayer with meals, Christian crafts at Easter and Christmas and learn simple songs. Bible stories will be read regularly.

 

OUR DAILY PROGRAMME

Daily programme: Toddler

7:30 School opens
8:00 morning ring
8:15-10:00 work period
10:00-10:45 outside play
10:45 nappy change and washing up
11:00 quiet play and story time
12:00 home time
12:00-12:30 lunch for after care children
12:30-2:30 nap time
2:30-2:45 nappy change
2:45 – 5:30 outside play

Extra: Playball, baking

Daily programme: Preschool

7:30 School opens – children play outside
8:00 morning ring
8:30- 11:30 work period (includes staggered snack time, art time)
11:30- 12:15 outside play
12:15 story time and wash hands
12:30 home time
12:30-1:00 lunch time for after care and extended programme
1:00-2:30 extended programme and quiet time ( nap time, drawing, reading in quiet)
2:30 home time for extended programme and pack bags for those leaving
2:30-5:30 Free play outside / inside
5:30 School closes.

Extra: Playball, xhosa, baking, gardening

Happy Children
Opening Day
How many classes
Supporting the Community around us.

Where to find us

Preschool and Toddlers

The Preschool class is for those children aged 3-6 years old. The class has one Directress and one assistant. There is a maximum of 20 children in the class.

Extras in the week are Playball, Gardening and baking.

The Toddler class is for the little ones aged 18 months to 3 years. This classroom is for those beginning stages of education development. Developing the love for exploration, learning language and the love to learn. In this class there is one directress and one assistant. Potty training is learnt in this environment. There are a maximum of 10 children in this class.

 

Extras in the week are Playball and baking.

TODDLER CLASS

AGES 18 MONTHS TO 3 YEARS

PRESCHOOL CLASS

AGE 3-6 YEARS (WITH GRADE R)

OUR ADDED EXTRAS

GARDENING, BAKING AND PLAYBALL

AFTER SCHOOL CARE

12-5:30 PM FILLED WITH CREATIVITY, IMAGINATIVE PLAY AND EXPLORATION

Your Children

Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.

The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’

Established lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.

-Maria Montessori

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Safety

Security is of the most importance, all children are watched by all staff and ensured that they are cared for at all times.

For emotional security the Toddlers are allowed to bring blankets, dummies or anything that allows them to feel more secure.

Happiness

Morning drop off can be tough on the little ones and parents, during this time the directress and assistants ensure that there is enough to distract their attention away from this separation but will make contact with the parent to ensure their child is happy.

Education

Goals

 

The goal of Montessori is to introduce children to experiences which:

  • Provide a warm and loving environment in which each child feels secure, respected and loved.
  • Support and encourage the growth and development of the whole child.
  • Develop social skills, emotional growth, physical coordination, as well as cognitive preparation.
  • Help build self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation.
  • Foster the natural desire to learn.
  • Develop freedom within limits.
  • Develop and refine each child’s sensory motor skills.
  • Lengthen each child’s attention span.
  • Enable each child to move smoothly and purposefully.
  • Encourage the development of creativity in each child.
  • Provide a framework of discipline through which each child can develop self-discipline and personal strength.
  • Provide an environment with safe limits in which each child can become an active explorer and learner.
  • Provide opportunities for each child to develop social grace and courtesy.
  • Develop skills in observation, questioning and listening.
  • Prompt order, coordination, concentration and independence.
  • Refine and develop each child’s physical and mental capabilities and interests as they expand.
  • Help develop respect for themselves, for others, and for their environment.

Your children’s education and wellfare are our main priorities

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