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Tel: 020 8742 1327 (term time)

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meadows.montessori@blueyonder.co.uk

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Dukes Meadows Community Centre, Alexandra Gardens,

London W4 2RY

Sarah Herbert Limited

The Montessori approach was formulated by Dr Maria Montessori (1870–1952), an Italian doctor then educationalist who worked with children over many years. She revolutionised the idea of education, giving back to children the opportunity for self-expression, for decision-making, for exploration and discovery, for following their interests, and for developing their own abilities and self-confidence. “We cannot create a genius,” she wrote. “We can only give each individual the chance to fulfil his potential possibilities to become an independent, secure and balanced human being.”

Maria Montessori’s ideas are as valid and relevant today as they were in her lifetime and have proved successful in providing children with the “education for life” that was her objective.

The Montessori approach emphasises the development of each child, respecting their individual needs, interests and abilities. It is based on children’s natural desire to learn, and allows each child to experience the excitement of learning by his or her own choice and at his or her own speed. Children learn willingly under these circumstances, and the Montessori teacher/key person – or “directress” in Montessori terms – spends time with each child individually.

Core-time tuition is done on an individual basis with the teacher alongside to observe, guide, help, support, encourage and introduce the child to new knowledge and skills. Teachers are trained to help children of all abilities - fast learners can move quickly on, while others take their time until they are ready to move to the next stage. There is no element of competition - all the children work confidently with their own activities - and the teacher shares each child's pride in his/her own achievements. The free-choice environment allows children the freedom to follow their own interests, to enoy the boost in confidence which independence brings, and allows the teachers to work with each of the children at the right level and pace, giving each child the time and attention he or she needs. Children with areas of special or particular need will benefit from tailored sessions to support them and meet their needs.

In the classroom, the furniture and fittings are child-sized with specific areas set up for different activities. All the materials, selected to be appropriate, broad-based and interesting, are accessible to the children. They move around to choose their activities, to work on their own or alongside friends, at a table or on a mat on the floor, to watch or converse, to play together in social play, but without disrupting others while they are busy. There is a happy buzz of conversation, movement and activity in each room, but an overall atmosphere where calm concentration is possible.

Social skills are very important, and the boundaries of acceptable social behaviour are clear and consistent. The children are calmly reminded when something they are doing is not okay, and are offered choices of other ways of dealing with the situation. The children are all treated with respect and affection - and are expected to learn to act with respect and consideration for others and for the materials they are working with. They can freely express their own feelings, and build empathy for others as well.

                                                     Montessori Materials and Curriculum

Montessori materials and equipment are wide-ranging, and include creative activities; exercises in practical skills (Practical Life); materials which focus on colour, shape, dimension, weight, sound and texture (Sensorial); as well as mathematical activities including matching and pairing, sequencing, correlating numbers and quantities, number recognition, addition and subtraction (Maths); learning the sounds and shapes of the phonetic alphabet and through phonetic word-building on to reading and writing (Language); not forgetting nature studies, geography (physical and social), history, early science and knowledge of the world (Cultural).

The children also participate in daily small group activities - including story-times, snack times, chatting times, art and craft activities, and lots of activities around the room - the Finger Gym table, the Sensory table, construction areas, sand and water play, music tables etc. There are also music, drama, PE and movement sessions as part of the core weekly timetable. And optional extended-day sessions, with times for focused small group Art & Craft, PE/gym skills, movement/drama and gardening.

Group activities help children develop their listening skills and concentration; their communication and language skills; their social skills; their creative, imaginative and expressive skills; their general knowledge and understanding of the world around them; and their physical skills (both fine and large motor movements). The aim of all the activities taken as a whole is to offer the children a wide range of learning opportunities, foster their growing independence, help them to follow their interests and expand their knowledge, help their confidence to blossom, help them to learn about friendship, considerate social behaviour, and an appropriate value system; and to encourage and support them in their learning in all areas. And to have fun!

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

In addition to the Montessori approach and curriculum, our nursery is also guided by the Department for Education's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. The EYFS and Montessori approach and curriculum overlap and work very well together. The EYFS applies to children from birth to five years old. Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by our setting help children to continue to do this by providing them with interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

The DfE's Statutory Framework document sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. The document Early Years Outcomes provides guidance for practitioners in an appropriate curriculum for the this age range, and highlights the Characteristics of Effective Learning for children. These characteristics are:

Playing and exploring - engagement, which includes finding out an exploring; playing with what they know; and being willing to "have a go".

Active learning - motivation, which includes being involved and concentrating; keeping trying; and enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creating and thinking critically - thinking, which includes having their own ideas; making links; and choosing ways to do thing.

The guidance divides children's learning and development into seven areas (three prime areas and four specific areas:

Prime areas:

- Communication and language;

- Physical development; 

- Personal, social and emotional development.

Specific areas:

- Literacy (covering reading; and writing);

- Mathematics (covering numbers; shape, space and measure);

- Understanding the world (covering people and communities; the world; and technology); and

- Expressive arts and design (covering exploring and using media and materials; and being imaginative).

For each area, the guidance sets out early learning goals. These goals state what most children will know and be able to do by the end of the Reception year of their education.

For each early learning goal, the guidance sets out stepping stones, which describe the stages through which children are likely to pass as they move to achievement of the goal. Our nursery uses the stepping stones that lead to the early learning goals to help us to trace each child's progress and to enable us to provide the right activities to help all children to achieve and progress.

At Meadows, we use the stepping stones leading to the early learning goals to plan and provide a range of play activities which help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development. Sometimes children 

decide how they will use the activity, and at other times, an adult will take the lead in helping children to take part. we over all areas of learning, and fit a balance of activities into each session, with no pressure on the children to "perform" for anyone else's satisfaction, nor to go faster than is right for them, but lots of opportunities for them to learn happily in all areas, indoors and outdoors, and to feel secure and valued. A cycle of observation, assessment and planning is undertaken on a continual basis for each child.  

Communication and language

Listening and attention;

Understanding;

Speaking.

 Physical development

Moving and handling;

Health and self-care.

Personal, social and emotional development

Making relationships;

Self-confidence and self-awareness;

Managing feelings and behaviour.

About Montessori

The Montessori approach was formulated by Dr Maria Montessori (1870–1952), an Italian doctor then educationalist who worked with children over many years. She revolutionised the idea of education, giving back to children the opportunity for self-expression, for decision-making, for exploration and discovery, for following their interests, and for developing their own abilities and self-confidence. “We cannot create a genius,” she wrote. “We can only give each individual the chance to fulfil his potential possibilities to become an independent, secure and balanced human being.”

Maria Montessori’s ideas are as valid and relevant today as they were in her lifetime and have proved successful in providing children with the “education for life” that was her objective.

The Montessori approach emphasises the development of each child, respecting their individual needs, interests and abilities. It is based on children’s natural desire to learn, and allows each child to experience the excitement of learning by his or her own choice and at his or her own speed. Children learn willingly under these circumstances, and the Montessori teacher/key person – or “directress” in Montessori terms – spends time with each child individually.

Core-time tuition is done on an individual basis with the teacher alongside to observe, guide, help, support, encourage and introduce the child to new knowledge and skills. Teachers are trained to help children of all abilities - fast learners can move quickly on, while others take their time until they are ready to move to the next stage. There is no element of competition - all the children work confidently with their own activities - and the teacher shares each child's pride in his/her own achievements. The free-choice environment allows children the freedom to follow their own interests, to enoy the boost in confidence which independence brings, and allows the teachers to work with each of the children at the right level and pace, giving each child the time and attention he or she needs. Children with areas of special or particular need will benefit from tailored sessions to support them and meet their needs.

In the classroom, the furniture and fittings are child-sized with specific areas set up for different activities. All the materials, selected to be appropriate, broad-based and interesting, are accessible to the children. They move around to choose their activities, to work on their own or alongside friends, at a table or on a mat on the floor, to watch or converse, to play together in social play, but without disrupting others while they are busy. There is a happy buzz of conversation, movement and activity in each room, but an overall atmosphere where calm concentration is possible.

Social skills are very important, and the boundaries of acceptable social behaviour are clear and consistent. The children are calmly reminded when something they are doing is not okay, and are offered choices of other ways of dealing with the situation. The children are all treated with respect and affection - and are expected to learn to act with respect and consideration for others and for the materials they are working with. They can freely express their own feelings, and build empathy for others as well.

                                                     Montessori Materials and Curriculum

Montessori materials and equipment are wide-ranging, and include creative activities; exercises in practical skills (Practical Life); materials which focus on colour, shape, dimension, weight, sound and texture (Sensorial); as well as mathematical activities including matching and pairing, sequencing, correlating numbers and quantities, number recognition, addition and subtraction (Maths); learning the sounds and shapes of the phonetic alphabet and through phonetic word-building on to reading and writing (Language); not forgetting nature studies, geography (physical and social), history, early science and knowledge of the world (Cultural).

The children also participate in daily small group activities - including story-times, snack times, chatting times, art and craft activities, and lots of activities around the room - the Finger Gym table, the Sensory table, construction areas, sand and water play, music tables etc. There are also music, drama, PE and movement sessions as part of the core weekly timetable. And optional extended-day sessions, with times for focused small group Art & Craft, PE/gym skills, movement/drama and gardening.

Group activities help children develop their listening skills and concentration; their communication and language skills; their social skills; their creative, imaginative and expressive skills; their general knowledge and understanding of the world around them; and their physical skills (both fine and large motor movements). The aim of all the activities taken as a whole is to offer the children a wide range of learning opportunities, foster their growing independence, help them to follow their interests and expand their knowledge, help their confidence to blossom, help them to learn about friendship, considerate social behaviour, and an appropriate value system; and to encourage and support them in their learning in all areas. And to have fun!

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

Communication and language

Listening and attention;

Understanding;

Speaking.

 Physical development

Moving and handling;

Health and self-care.

Personal, social and emotional development

Making relationships;

Self-confidence and self-awareness;

Managing feelings and behaviour.

 Literacy

Reading;

Writing.

 Mathematics

Numbers;

Shape, shape and measure.

 Understanding the world

People and communities;

The world;

Technology.

 Expressive arts and design

Exploring and using media and materials;

Being imaginative.

In addition to the Montessori approach and curriculum, our nursery is also guided by the Department for Education's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. The EYFS and Montessori approach and curriculum overlap and work very well together. The EYFS applies to children from birth to five years old. Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by our setting help children to continue to do this by providing them with interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

The DfE's Statutory Framework document sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. The document Early Years Outcomes provides guidance for practitioners in an appropriate curriculum for the this age range, and highlights the Characteristics of Effective Learning for children. These characteristics are:

  • Playing and exploring - engagement, which includes finding out an exploring; playing with what they know; and being willing to "have a go".

  • Active learning - motivation, which includes being involved and concentrating; keeping trying; and enjoying achieving what they set out to do

  • Creating and thinking critically - thinking, which includes having their own ideas; making links; and choosing ways to do thing.

The guidance divides children's learning and development into seven areas (three prime areas and four specific areas:

Prime areas:

  • Communication and language;

  • Physical development; 

  • Personal, social and emotional development.

Specific areas:

  • Literacy (covering reading; and writing);

  • Mathematics (covering numbers; shape, space and measure);

  • Understanding the world (covering people and communities; the world; and technology); and

  • Expressive arts and design (covering exploring and using media and materials; and being imaginative).

For each area, the guidance sets out early learning goals. These goals state what most children will know and be able to do by the end of the Reception year of their education.

For each early learning goal, the guidance sets out stepping stones, which describe the stages through which children are likely to pass as they move to achievement of the goal. Our nursery uses the stepping stones that lead to the early learning goals to help us to trace each child's progress and to enable us to provide the right activities to help all children to achieve and progress.

At Meadows, we use the stepping stones leading to the early learning goals to plan and provide a range of play activities which help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development. Sometimes children 

decide how they will use the activity, and at other times, an adult will take the lead in helping children to take part. we over all areas of learning, and fit a balance of activities into each session, with no pressure on the children to "perform" for anyone else's satisfaction, nor to go faster than is right for them, but lots of opportunities for them to learn happily in all areas, indoors and outdoors, and to feel secure and valued. A cycle of observation, assessment and planning is undertaken on a continual basis for each child.