We believe that every child is gifted with a natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Children want to learn! Our devoted and highly professional teachers use the Montessori method especially to support and cultivate these qualities in children.
Between 3 and 6 years of age children go through multiple
sensitive periods. The term ‘sensitive period’ refers to a special phase in a child's life when the desire to learn and the ability to absorb particular skills is especially strong. This means that the early years – before entering actual school life – are an ideal time for positive learning experiences in the fields of mathematics, letters, shapes, colours, social skills and language, among others.
Our learning environment – including the classroom, the materials used, the social setting and the atmosphere in general – is especially designed to help children in their own learning processes. Children are encouraged to express themselves by choosing amongst the learning tasks offered by the teachers. We think it is very important that every child enjoys learning new skills: this will build the self-confidence and contribute to continuous learning during the years to come.
In the classroom children are guided and encouraged to use special learning materials and techniques. These include objects and exercises that teach practical skills needed in every-day life (from task organisation and care of environment to tying shoelaces, cleaning the table and courtesy towards others etc.). Sensorial materials help children to learn how to order, classify and describe their sensory impressions in relations, length, width, temperature, mass and colour etc. The math materials support children in developing their mathematical thinking through concreteness and internalizing the concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations and memorization of basic facts.
The role of the teachers is to motivate children in their individual learning processes. Teachers encourage children to choose tasks and activities matching the child’s on-going sensitive period and guide them in using the learning materials with the help of the Montessori pedagogical approach. In our school the working language is English, but rather than being taught as an isolated subject, it is used as a natural tool to enhance learning in other fields. The international school spirit also contributes to learning respect for other cultures.
Photos © Helsinki English Montessori Preschool