The Montessori Place Elementary is a beautiful, inspiring space that offers thousands of opportunities to connect to the world and the universe. The bright and spacious room is carefully prepared to meet all of the child’s developmental needs, and is set up to support maximum independence practically, socially and academically.
Light floods in through large windows facing all aspects. Uncluttered walls are hung with original paintings from a variety of periods. An eclectic mix of modern and antique wooden tables and chairs are spaced out around the L-shaped room, while shelves are filled with materials that call the child to all aspects of culture.
At The Montessori Place we understand that we can’t directly transfer knowledge, that instead each child learns through their own efforts and at their own pace. Rob gives lessons, tells stories and offers instruction, but learning takes place when the child is working; perhaps discovering the process of long division using the Test Tube Division material, studying the differences between flower types or discussing with a friend the reasons why a civilisation arose in a particular time or place. Our priority is to give a lesson in how to do use a material or carry out a task, connecting the child to the environment so they can explore culture with increasing independence.
The building as a whole – the Infant Community, Children’s House, kitchen, Family Room, office and garden are all part of the prepared environment for the Elementary Community children. A child’s foray beyond the class may be to help the Infant Community children get dressed to go home, to record bee movements in a patch of the garden, to give a presentation to the children in the Children’s House or to collect food waste from the kitchen to put in the wormery.
Beyond our premises at 45 Cromwell Road, the local community is also part of our ‘prepared environment’. The children visit local grocers, stationers, DIY stores and florists to buy supplies or ask questions. The local museums, libraries, parks, beach and other amenities are also visited regularly for a variety of purposes.
The Montessori Place Elementary is a mixed age community of children from 6 to 12 years. This is crucial in providing opportunities for socialisation and role modelling. Our older children demonstrate and assist younger children, building their own confidence, while the younger have role models to aspire to. The routines, order and consistency promote a feeling of safety and security.