We combine this method with the Montessori and Waldorf approach to educate children about the world around us,
Children under the age of 6 years old learn very quickly and can assimilate information very fast. If they are gently encouraged to learn through interesting games, they pick up skills that will help them maintain an edge through their lives. This is because the brain tends to develop connections at this stage and the child picks up cognitive skills quickly. If you boost the development of the child’s brain by teaching the alphabet and numbers, you will enable him or her to pick up more complex skills like reading when he or she is old enough for school. With that in mind it is important to send a child to nursery because children who are deprived of this phase of education may remain behind others when they join primary school and this can put them at a disadvantage.
We can support each child individually to provide a soft landing for children when they eventually go to primary school because they are already familiar with their roles as learners. In schools children are expected to perform well. If they are not accustomed to a social environment, they tend to get overwhelmed by the large number of people around them and by the time they get used to the system, they have lost valuable time.
We are inspired by the Montessori approach to educate children in our setting which is named after the founder, Dr Maria Montessori, an Italian woman who developed this method of child education. Her work and study of children developed a unique form of teaching method which is based on various principles and these principles are still followed in nurseries all around the world. The main principle is that every child is an individual who is affected by the social environment and should be encouraged to learn from his or her surroundings. According to her research, every child has a creative potential which should be explored and encouraged, and every child should be treated as an individual with unique abilities and qualities. Another principle of this style of teaching is that every child needs his or her own individual space and freedom to learn and develop.
No child should be forced to complete activities in stipulated time periods. They should be allowed to take their time in the initial stages of learning. However, there should be some limitations to ensure that tasks do get completed in a reasonable timeframe. Children should also be given the choice to select their own activities as this helps them to become self-sufficient.
We believe, every child has a natural potential which should be properly nurtured. This helps them to learn and develop in a social environment. In our open-plan setting we believe this form of education works well, which allows children of different ages to come together and learn from each others in the same group. As we can see, this system of learning in mixed age group is really beneficial and in many cases children are progressing fast to reach their full potentials.
Our fully qualified staff combines this approach with the Waldorf approach throughout the day. The Waldorf approach emphasizes the imagination of the child and allows it to develop the creativity of each child through artistic or practical activities. This is done mainly in our Art room but each rooms are set up around the theme we are covering to boost their learning experience.
At the beginning of the morning session (usually between 10 and 11 am when research suggests child concentration are at the highest level) and once through afternoon session (when we feel the children are most focused) we will set up for adult-led activity which again is around our theme/topic. Children are offered to participate in such activities in smaller groups and at similar levels of development and abilities, to fully enjoy each activity and to gain a maximum learning experience. This philosophy encourages the child to become a free, moral and integrated individual. It also supports every child in fulfilling his or her unique aspirations.
In order to build up the individuality of each child Loris Malaguzzi developed the Reggio Emilia Approach, a new program of education on the principles of respect, responsibility and community as a reflection of the impact that World War II had on children living in the Reggio Emilia in Italy. The staff is inspired by the Montessori and Waldorf approach to educate children about the world around us, to take care of themselves and their responsibilities, respect people around in the community and from different cultural backgrounds.