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.
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 realized 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.
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.
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.
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.
Your children’s education and welfare are our main priorities
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.
Gardening is wonderful part of our lives at Bright Light Montessori, the children learn the beauty of nature and how to take care of a vegetable patch. From planting to watering and weeding to watching and waiting patiently for our first harvest. The Bright Lights have enjoyed eating carrots, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and more this year.
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 someone’s 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.
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.