Shine Montessori Educare is a blend of Montessori practice and theory, child initiated play and Christian values carefully woven together within the framework of the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, Te Whariki. Children learn by doing.
Practical life exercises involve dressing frames / skills, care of the environment, pouring, polishing, cleaning, preparing vegetables and fruit, baking and sewing – tasks which promote coordinated movement. They are designed to foster independence, self-control, language, co-ordination of the hand and concentration.
Sensorial Material exercises
Sensorial Material exercises allow the child to manipulate and classify objects in the environment. All five senses are utilised as the child learns to make finer distinction in quality and gradation. The Montessori sensorial materials assist the child in learning to differentiate between sizes, colours, weights, textures, musical sounds, odours and tastes. These help the child organise, classify and give a language to the sensory experiences he/she has received since birth.
Language Instruction starts when the child begins at SME with vocabulary enrichment. A phonetic approach to reading is incorporated with a sight-sound-touch presentation of the alphabet. As children are ready, they learn to manipulate and cut out letters for word construction. Reading generally follows as a natural event. Whole language experience is provided to aid in the development of reading and writing skills, creating the basis on which the child continues to build in the primary years.
Te Reo Maori
Te Reo Maori is supported by a Specialist Teacher through modern & traditional Waiata & story telling and Shine’s staff members are encouraged to use Te Reo as part of daily conversation. This is a wonderful extension of language development for children and is a very enjoyable curriculum area.
Mathematics is a continuation of the earlier sensorial material integration. The child works from the concrete towards abstraction through repeated sensorial impressions of geometry, relationships of quantity, the processes of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. The 3-6 year old child is a fact seeker. Consequently, this is the time for the foundation of memorisation of math facts.
Geography, History and Science
Geography, History and Science lessons provide the child with a store of factual information and impressions of various cultures, land formations, eco-systems and the interrelationships of all parts of the earth. Environmental education forms part of the learning experience, both indoors and out.
Art and Music
Art and Music are experienced as an integral part of the child’s daily work. Creative expression and developmental skills rather than end results, are encouraged in these areas. As cultural extensions, many projects are related to the child’s exploration in history, geography and science.
Physical Development is nurtured through movement and physical co-ordination exercises which have had sufficient input from PUSHPLAY development offices. In the classroom the materials help develop gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor control is also fostered by outside activities.
Christian Values combined with Montessori Teaching methods will inspire and bring to life principles that will promote a spirit of respect, love, and cooperation among children in the classroom.
Montessori philosophy fundamentally believes that children are inherently intelligent and learn order by absorbing information from their surroundings.
Children also have a tireless interest in manipulating materials. Dr Maria Montessori maintained that children have developmental planes or windows of learning, which generally run in three-year cycles, such as from birth to three years, and then three to six years.
The learning environment needs to optimise these windows of learning for children. The unique Montessori environment provides materials designed to stimulate children into logical thoughts and discovery.
Children are encouraged to both work individually at their own pace and join in group activities such as circle time and project work. As children purposefully work in the environment, they learn to trust their own ability to think and solve problems independently.
They also learn to be unafraid of making mistakes. Children gradually develop self-discipline through being absorbed in meaningful work. The Montessori environment constantly challenges them with a wide variety of materials and the many ways of using them. The Montessori materials cover the many areas of learning that Shine offers, as the next section describes.