The Children's House: pre-school and primary
Our 3-6 class is known as The Children’s Casa (translated as ‘Children’s house’). It has two sections. The pre-school and primary. Pre-school children may attend part time while primary children must attend 5 days a week. Our primary fees are internally subsidized by the school to make continuing with a Montessori primary education affordable. For more details regarding admissions please see our admission policy.
Children progress through the Montessori 'curriculum' of Activities of Every Day Living (Practical life), Education of the Senses, Language and Literacy, Numeracy and Knowledge and Understanding of the world in addition to engaging in creative work.
The day begins with an uninterrupted work cycle, which is the hallmark of a Montessori Classroom. This is a time where children independently work with the guidance of their teachers. The cycle allows children to develop concentration and self-discipline in addition to establishing a Montessori work ethic for example, recognizing the importance of putting away work in the way they found it, understanding they must wait for a classmate to finish with a piece of equipment before they can use it.
After the work cycle children gather together for lunch and then enjoy outdoor play. Typically children then engage in various afternoon activities in the afternoon such as music, dance, football, art, forest school etc. Some of these activities are delivered by our staff and others by external providers such as Little Notes.
“This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as to a single centre. Mothers, fathers, politicians: all must combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide. This is the bright new hope for mankind.”
Dr. Maria Montessori | The Absorbent Mind, p. 15
STAFF IN THE CLASS
Georgina Williamson- Head of 3-6 (AMI 0-3 Diploma and AMI 3-6 Diploma)
Estefania Monalday- Willow lead teacher (3-6 IMI Diploma in training, 3-6 MCI IMP, 6-12 AMI Assistant certificate)
Ileana Pop- Oak lead teacher (Birth to 7 MCI Diploma)
Kim Campbell- Assistant (AMI 0-3 Assistant certificate, AMI 3-6 Diploma in training)
Tania Carvahlo- Assistant (Cache level 3 childcare, Due to enroll next year in AMI 3-6 Assistant certificate)
Aimee Nash- Assistant ( MCI IMP, Cache level 3 childcare)
Humaira Khan- Assistant ( NARIC level 4 childcare)
Practical life continues to be be an important part of the curriculum in the Casa. These activities allow children to perfect their fine motor skills and develop concentration. By following a specific sequential order of the activity children are creating order in their mind, setting the foundations for more focused sequential work.
Children are introduced to the sensorial activities from around the age of 3. These materials allow children to develop and refine their senses. A vast array of materials allow development of touch, the olfactory system and chromatic senses. They learn about volume and measure and differentiation. They classify and sort and learn the language and corresponding terms to their classifications. The sensorial curriculum is the introduction to mathematics.
Glimpse into CMS
This activity allows the child to concretely see the growth of numbers and the progression through the hierarchy from one level to the next. There is something very appealing to children about organising nearly 50 thousand golden beads!
The 3-6 child will have had lots of experience of sensorial materials before moving to the mathematical materials. Here they will explore quantities and symbols. Able to recognise numerals and with an appreciation of the sense of numbers, children then begin working with the golden beads and the decimal system. They explore the sequin boards to learn their tens and teens. Addition is taught, using small number rods in bonds of tens and then using the beads for more complex operations. With a concrete understanding of number and progressing through operations they will soon be ready for elementary.
Building upon the early literacy skills learnt in the infant class, children typically continue to practice letter alliteration and later recognition and formation. Materials such as the sandpaper letters and tray help children develop an imprint of their sensory experiences on the brain. Children engage in singing songs and listening to stories.
Once children can recognise the letters of the alphabet they can begin decoding words. Sounding out words they are able to use the moveable alphabet to spell them. The pink series is the first of the Montessori reading series. It includes CVC words. Later they move to the blue series, which contains blends and digraphs.
Outdoor and activities
Children in the casa need lots of outdoor and active time. We are lucky to have such beautiful grounds for the children to explore. They also take part in various afternoon activities such as music and drama. Aside from the enrichment these activities provide, they allow ample opportunities to practice listening to instructions, taking turns and other social and emotional skills.
Knowledge and understanding of the world
The classroom contains a range of Montessori based activities to help the children learn about their world, from the Solar System right down to their community, e.g. activities to introduce them to the Sun and its importance to life, animal kingdoms, the planets, the continents, etc.
We have had tadpoles, caterpillars and eggs in incubators in our classrooms as they learn about life cycles. The curriculum is further brought to life with trips to places such as techniquest, St Fagans museum of Welsh life.
The KUW curriculum is often viewed as part and parcel of the literacy and maths curriculum as it is allows the use of the skills acquired in those areas to be put into meaningful practise.