Our Smart Start Environment
Our centre features purpose-built, light filled classrooms that are modern and peaceful. A child’s need for order and security is intensely satisfied through a well ordered, enriching but simplified environment. This is noticed in the calming effect the environment has on the child. Since the Ground Rules in a Montessori classroom establishes that every item has its place, it satisfies a child’s inner need for order. With a diverse range of Montessori materials, we are well resourced. The children have opportunities to engage with purposeful work from the practical life, sensorial, language, maths and culture areas, where important cognitive, social and emotional skills are developing. They can choose to work either individually, in pairs or small groups.
The five key areas of learning in a Montessori environment are:
Everyday living skills is a fundamental component of our Smart Start Montessori program. They are designed to prepare your child for daily living, how to interact with materials that are both breakable and functional within their environment. This area of learning sets the foundation for all other activities in the Montessori education — it encourages and reinforces the Montessori principles of independence, coordination, concentration, self-regulation, self-awareness, and confidence. Therefore, enabling each child to embrace functional aspects and social norms of everyday life to fit into community life.
The 4 main areas of practical life are:
1- Preliminary Activities
These activities provide the foundation and set the stage for all works in the Montessori classroom. These include such tasks as how to roll and unroll a mat, how to walk around a mat, how to sharpen a pencil, how to put down your chair, walking on the line, sitting up straight and respectfully quiet at circle time.
3 - Care of the Environment
Learning how to clean is very important in the Montessori classroom. These activities may include how to set the table, how to clean dishes and cutlery, sweeping the classroom floor, how to dust the shelves, how to water the plants, and how to clean up spills.
2 - Care of Self
These activities provide the means for children to become physically independent. These may include such activities as how to wash your hands, how to brush your teeth, how to prepare and eat your lunch at the table, where and how to hang put away your bag, and how to put on your shoes.
4 - Social Graces and Courtesies
These activities are not found on the shelves but are introduced and gently reinforced by our teachers. Social graces and courtesies include using eye contact when respectfully saying hello and goodbye, when to say please and thank you, how to respectfully interrupt someone, and how to cough and sneeze. Manners and virtues are incorporated for character development.
Since ‘nothing comes to the intellect that is not first in the senses’, the sensorial equipment is designed to develop your child’s ability to understand and adapt to their environment. This area of learning includes the manipulation of specifically designed materials that isolate the senses. Exposure to sensory information, such as dimension, colour, shape, texture, smell, and taste, helps your child classify and categorize the things around them as they explore the world.
Sensorial exercises allow your child to refine each of their senses:
⦁ Sight (visual)
⦁ Touch (tactile)
⦁ Smell (olfactory)
⦁ Taste (gustatory)
⦁ Sound (auditory)
⦁ Stereo gnostic (kinaesthetic)
With repetition, these materials enable children to progressively build their cognitive skills including attention, memory, comparing, judging, and thinking.
Our individualised reading writing phonics and spelling programme is unique to Smart Start Preschool and has been developed over a period of twenty five years. It is a multi-sensory learning method where children may learn to read, write and spell at their own pace.
We teach all aspects of reading including sight words, phonics, writing and spelling. We believe children need the skills of a whole word and phonetic approach. Our systematic writing programme gives your child a jump start in the writing process. The programme is designed to give children the best possible transition into school.
With the gentle guidance of our teachers, the Montessori materials for maths allow your child to master abstract mathematical concepts. Dr Maria Montessori’s methodology offers a clear and logical strategy for helping children understand and develop a sound foundation in mathematics. Each material was designed to achieve a particular purpose and prepares your child for the next level of learning. Our children begin their mathematical exploration with number rods, later working with golden beads in conjunction with maths workbooks. Children internalise math skills by using hands on concrete materials and progressing at their own pace toward abstract concepts.
Cultural area allows the child to explore and relate the natural and physical world around them. It encompasses activities such as:
⦁ Geography (continents, landforms, earth layers, solar system),
⦁ Zoology (classification, physiology of animals),
⦁ Botany (ecology, classification, physiology of plants),
⦁ History (timelines, using a calendar),
This curriculum area facilitates opportunities for children to develop a strong sense of belonging and engage in celebrating the diverse country that we live in and to educate the children about the wider world. A favourite activity is learning about, and then ‘creating’ a volcanic eruption. Children explore life cycles of a butterfly, musical instruments, parts of human anatomy, they explore time through creating a timeline of their life, and much more. Projects are based on a theme, which could be The Continents, Festivals of the World, Evolution, Animal Kingdom, Science and more.
Each of these 5 areas builds on logical and creative tasks and experiences to allow your child to grow in a well-rounded variety of ways. Our Montessori teachers, our Montessori equipment and the prepared environment all stimulate and encourage children to learn. Our children learn by associating an abstract concept with a concrete sensorial experience rather than purely by memorization. By incorporating learning on every cognitive level, the Montessori method stimulates your child’s healthy early development.