The Montessori method of education is a child-centred, hands-on learning approach that inspires creativity, promotes self-discipline and facilitates concentration and independence.
At Happy Hearts we have a strong focus on incorporating elements of the Montessori approach into our educational programs. Maria Montessori is considered a visionary in the field of Early Childhood Education. She developed a practicality-based method for teaching young children in a purposefully organised environment. The Montessori method promotes freedom and experiential learning, learning through doing, and the teachers at Happy Hearts assist children to become independent, giving children the tools and guidance to initiate and perform learning activities by themselves.
The 5 areas of learning within the Montessori classroom:
At school children learn the skills needed for everyday practical living, which are the foundation of the Montessori educational approach. The Practical Life exercises are exciting for a child because they allow them to imitate what adults do daily. These exercises promote independence whilst the child builds up a good self-image, a sense of self-worth and an attitude of responsibility. Practical Life exercises aim to improve children’s control of movements, concentration, self-care, and care of the environment.
Happy Hearts Nursery and Preschool provide a variety of opportunities to the children to explore Montessori materials which were purposefully created to educate and refine children’s senses. These materials are self-correcting and are introduced to the child by the teachers. The children learn the purpose and the correct way to work with the materials and with time, the children will be able to work independently, removing, replacing, grading, and matching parts of the Montessori sets.
The Practical Life and Sensorial exercises lay the foundations for mathematical knowledge. The Montessori Materials were created mirroring the decimal system and therefore, all the materials for dimension are presented in sets of ten. Children will begin arranging these objects by attributes and will continue with gradation. At the same time, the children will be introduced to the language of numbers and the environment at Happy Hearts has been carefully designed to build that number awareness, making children conscious that numbers are everywhere.
The Montessori Approach understands the significance of developing children’s sense of hearing. As children’s listening skills progress, their spoken language develops consequently. Listening to environmental sounds and the discrimination and recognition of these are part of the daily exercises within our environment. At Happy Hearts we provide a language rich environment, introducing vocabulary to children through all activities. The vocabulary is also visible for the children and therefore, they become familiar with prints soon after they begin their journey with us. Children will be taught to recognise both letters and sounds, and will be guided by the teachers through the important process of writing.
Dr. Maria Montessori was convinced that children needed to know and understand the world they live in. Therefore, subjects such as Geography, Biology and History were of great importance in her approach and were taught interlinked. At Happy Hearts we take children on a journey to discover the world around us which leads them to discover the universe, the solar system, the earth, the continents and therefore, a variety of cultures. This journey aims to awaken the wonder of the world as well as to become aware of the important part they and their families play to make it a better place.