At Smart Start Montessori preschool, children work at their own level and pace, choosing amongst various curriculum areas of our well-resourced Montessori environment, including practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics and cultural areas.
Our routines start with children being warmly welcomed into our centre and being able to freely choose from various curriculum areas. All our specialised materials are child sized, displayed on low wooden shelves that are easily accessible for children, empowering them to follow their innate interests. Within an uninterrupted block of time, children can engage in activities independently, work individually with teachers, or with a peer or in small groups. This supports and strengthens their ability to concentrate, make their own discoveries and master skills at their own pace.
Our caring teachers offer individual and small group sessions throughout the day, where children are taught grace and courtesy lessons, which help them to understand and work collaboratively together in their “home away from home”. We also integrate a wide variety of activities such as science, baking, yoga, music and movement, dance, drama, poetry, games, gardening and visual arts and crafts.
Creativity underpins, and reinforces, all curriculum areas. It is vitally important, not only in assisting children with their maths and literacy but also in helping them to think, tackle problems and interact. Giving children extensive opportunity for creative expression helps to build their social skills
(example: role-play), their confidence (for example drama, music), speaking and listening skills, motor skills (craft, painting, music etc) and their ability to solve problems. Art and craft play a vital part in our programme. Art works are natural extensions of class topics and projects. Each child's work is unique. Art appreciation activities are available where children learn the names of artists and are inspired by famous paintings to create masterful creations of their own.
Music plays an important part in the life of the preschool. We sing songs (Waiata)and listen to the music of famous composers and talk about their lives. The children learn rhythm and can join in using percussion instruments. Rhythmic exercises involve motor skills. Children learn to use the Montessori bells and notes. Everyone prepares and practises for Smart Start's Annual Xmas Concert. This is always one for the highlights of the year! This is a chance for your little one to show off their singing and dancing skills in front of their favourite audience.... YOU!
The personal, social and emotional development section of the curriculum is not an area of the classroom but rather is taught through love, example and repetition. We help children to develop self-esteem, self-awareness and confidence. We teach them how to interact constructively with others, especially if they are wanting to express a grievance, to negotiate, and to care for their friends, the classroom and the environment.
Respect is integral to our program - to respect oneself, children need to understand their emotions and feelings and those of others. We embrace every opportunity to help children learn about their emotions and understand those of others, fostering an environment full of love and empathy.
Our Outdoor Programme
Our outdoor programme is an extension of our indoors, providing a balance of experiences in Montessori activities, gross motor activities and gardening. It helps build confidence and friendships, promote creativity and imagination, and reduce stress and fatigue, amongst other benefits. Bathed in north facing sun, with a huge umbrella providing shade, our outdoor program has an apple tree, grapefruit tree and Fig tree, providing fruit for our little community to cut, juice and bake, edible flower and herb gardens and child crafted bird feeders. For children who prefer to work on the covered deck there are a variety of Montessori materials readily available.
We supply a variety of equipment for children to focus on their physical education and practice their gross motor skills. A few examples of these include balancing beams, moon hoppers, basketball and football nets, obstacle courses, bikes, sandpit and water trough, and group games facilitated by teachers. While children are swinging on our Monkey bars, they gain gross motor skills and also work on their hand eye coordination as children swing from bar to bar. Other than developing core strength, our monkey bars also increase our tamariki’s self-confidence level as they feel accomplished when they are able to complete a section or full ladder of monkey bar.