GEAR Emergent Montessori Plus
Early MI Enrichment & Acceleration-Reggio Approach
The backbone of Early Childhood environment is the Montessori Method and philosophy. The aim of the the Montessori Method of education is to help the child become a self sufficient and an independent master of himself or herself. The philosophy involves certain salient features described below.
There are five major areas of curriculum in a Montessori environment that are based on the natural tendencies children have toward learning. These areas are, Practical Life or Everyday Living Skills, Sensorial or learning through the senses, Language, Mathematics and Culture. The Montessori culture area includes Geography, Science, Music, Art and Yoga. Each area works together, to help develop the complete child and allow them to function successfully within their environment now and in the future. The materials from each of these areas are spread throughout the environment in a logical and orderly manner. Children choose their own activity or materials to work with, from these different areas.
Mixed aged classrooms are key in a montessori environment. It is common to see children aged 2½ to 5½ years working together in the same environment. This helps foster social and emotional development, which is key to future learning. The older children learn about leadership and responsibility by serving as role models for the younger ones, and often enjoy helping their younger ones with their work. The younger children can learn through observation and imitation of the older children, and thus get exposed to more mature communication skills and problem solving abilities.
A child in the montessori environment is taught to embrace movement as an essential aspect of the daily routine. Children are given the freedom to move around within the environment and also asked to follow certain ground rules. For example, each child goes to the area where the rolled up work mats are, picks one up and unrolls the mat anywhere within the environment. They then pick the material they want to work with, bring it to the mat and work with it there. Once completed, they put the material back in it’s place (which is a ground rule). They can then choose another activity to bring back to their mat to work with. Or if they are done, they roll up their mats and put it back in the area they picked it up from. Each child may choose where he would like to work, with whom, with what materials, and for how long. However, a child is not allowed to interfere with another child at work (unless invited) or interfere with his personal space.
A Montessori Trained teacher does not instruct or teach in the traditional sense. They facilitate and direct the learning of each of the children in the environment. Children in the Montessori environment are encouraged to experience, observe, and make meaning or mistakes as they try to make sense of their world. Hence we address all our teachers at GEAR as Mentors.