What is Montessori?
Montessori is a child-centred educational philosophy that recognises children’s innate sense of wonder, curiosity and desire to grow and learn. Known for providing stimulating environments, specially trained teachers and carefully designed materials that support the optimal growth of the whole child, cognitive, physical, and social-emotional, the Montessori Method also encourages empathy and respect for others and the natural world.
The Montessori curriculum is one of the only curriculum models that has been empirically shown to improve executive function in children and promote the development of self-discipline, independence and peacefulness.
A Montessori education prepares students to lead happy and fulfilling lives in the real world, to contribute as responsible and ethical members of society, to be inquiring, reflective thinkers, and life-long learners.
Why should I choose a Montessori education for my child?
All parents want to the best educational program for their child and choosing a Montessori education has many benefits.
All children are valued as unique individuals with their own strengths and challenges. Small class sizes allow us to individualise learning with students supported to learn at their own pace, to question, make connections and learn deeply. This approach fosters independence and supports children to grow into young people able to lead their own learning.
Working within a close and caring community, Montessori students also learn from and support each other. Indeed, collaboration and cooperation is inherent in the structure of the Montessori classroom.
Montessori students develop brave hearts and curious minds. This is the skill set needed for the 21st century and includes the ability to be compassionate and caring, to collaborate and communicate effectively, to think critically, and to act boldly and with courage.
Is Montessori education academically rigorous?
Yes. Montessori learning is structured and sequential. In the early years there is a focus on supporting children to self-select purposeful activities and develop their ability to concentrate.
Across our school, subject specific skills and vocabulary are taught in all curriculum areas for example, reading, grammar, mathematics, biology, art and so on. Students apply their learning in inquiry based interdisciplinary project work ensuring deep conceptual learning.
Students work with concrete materials moving to abstract as they acquire a deep understanding of concepts. Teachers hold high expectations for every student and provide levels of challenge and difficulty that are appropriate for each individual.
How does a Montessori school support student wellbeing?
Small, multi-aged classes forge positive, meaningful relationships between classmates and teachers, and help build caring learning communities that ensure students feel safe and secure at school.
A sense of wellbeing is also dependent on children feeling that they have some control over their lives. Montessori children are given freedom to make choices about their learning and behaviour within the boundaries of demonstrating respect for themselves, others and their environment.
How is behaviour managed?
Through daily Grace and Courtesy lessons, an essential part of Montessori education, students are guided to become resilient, to learn to independently resolve conflicts and to become increasingly self-disciplined, making positive and healthy choices that benefit themselves and their community.
Why do Montessori classrooms have mixed aged groups of students?
Aside from reception, our classes are composed of students whose ages typically span three years. Students stay with the class, and teacher, for the entire three year cycle. Not only does this promote student wellbeing but also academic learning as teachers gain a deep knowledge of what each student knows and understands and where they need to go next.
The three year age range discourages competition and promotes collaboration. While younger children learn from the older children in the group, the older children develop empathy, patience and leadership skills.
Do Montessori schools follow the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum?
Yes, the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum have been aligned to the Montessori Curriculum. Students in a Montessori school will explore all the curriculum areas in the Australian Curriculum but often with greater richness, breadth and depth. In addition, the Montessori Curriculum has an overarching framework providing a meaningful context for student learning.
Are Montessori Schools accredited?
While there is no requirement to be accredited, Southern Montessori School has followed a stringent process to achieve accreditation from Montessori Australia.
Where do students go after graduation in Year 9 and how do they manage in different schools?
Our students have successfully transitioned to Year 10 in a number of different schools. However, the majority of our Year 9 students have applied and been accepted into the Australian Science and Mathematics School at Flinders University.
Our students are highly regarded by senior schools as they are respectful, articulate, independent, self-directed and self-motivated learners.
What co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities are available?
Specialist programs at our school include Italian, Arts and Music. Private tuition is available in piano, ukulele and guitar. Additionally, students are able to join one of two wonderful choirs and to hone their drama skills through participation in Wakakirri and Tournament of the Minds.
A variety of sports are on offer through Physical Education lessons. Throughout the year, students also have the opportunity to take part in SAPSASA and the After School Sports program as well as gaining additional skills by participating in various sports clinics including tennis, swimming and aquatics. Moreover, lunch time clubs are provided at the Primary School giving children opportunities to explore areas of particular interest.
Annual camps are provided for students in Year 1 to Year 9.
Both our Primary and Middle School campuses have a kitchen garden program and students learn to grow their own produce and to prepare healthy and nourishing meals.
Do students use computers in Montessori Schools?
Developmentally appropriate access and use of digital technologies is seen as important in our school.
In the early years, where children learn best through real experiences and concrete, hands-on materials are central, technology may be incorporated where it enriches learning. A Preschool child may watch a video showing a caterpillar building a cocoon after finding caterpillars in the garden and asking questions, or have a digital microscope set up to investigate a cocoon’s hidden structures.
Students in Primary classes start to use computers for particular educational programs or for research purposes. Teachers are deliberate and thoughtful about the use of screens in the classroom ensuring that they are used as tools to enhance learning.
The school provides all Middle School students with a school laptop and students are taught to use technology purposefully and ethically.