FAQs

General

Montessori is a method and philosophy for teaching children, based on the work of pioneering educator Maria Montessori. In our school, we have children from ages 18 months through 6 years old. We offer two programs for these children, one is for toddlers (18 months to 3 years old), and the other is for older children (3 to 6 years old) which does include the Grade R/0 year. Montessori is designed to be an individualized program and is unique for each child. Montessori offers a Prepared Environment that fosters each child’s independence, as well as helps him develop socially and academically. Children are free to explore and discover on their own, however, there are very clear boundaries and ground rules that must be adhered to and are monitored by the teacher. The teacher is the first and very important part of the Prepared Environment. Montessori classrooms are thought of more as communities than classrooms. They must be cooperative in order for the method to work.

Montessori is an individual learning method. Each child learns at their own pace. Teachers are trained to observe and assess (informally) each child to see where the child is developmentally. Based on these observations, an individual lesson is created for each child. Further, as the Montessori classroom is run as a community, older children are there to be role models and to show younger children how to do what they (the older children) already know—making them part of the teaching process. Younger children look up to the older ones and want to be like them which creates a sense of motivation to learn new things. Children, even those that are the same age, all learn at a different level and pace; the Montessori Method allows for this freedom. There is no competition or expectation for children to learn the same things as everyone else their age at exactly the same time. Teachers then find it easier to teach multiple ages than to try to teach the same concept to 15 3-year-olds at the same time. Montessori teachers are experienced at multi-tasking. Also, with mixed-age groups, children stay with the same teacher for all three years they are in Montessori enabling a close bond to be formed.

There is freedom of choice within limits. The teacher prepares herself, the environment, and the children to respect one’s self, each other, and the environment, by setting clear boundaries and ground rules. Lessons are always given in the Montessori community before free choice occurs. This also goes back to having mixed-age groups where, for example, in the beginning of the school year the older children are the role models who “show” others how things are done in the classroom. Respect is a key component of the classroom. That said, the other piece to creating and keeping peace, is to facilitate peaceful conflict resolution by helping children dialogue any problems that may arise. This is usually done at the peace table or other designated peace area of the classroom. The teacher must be prepared to handle any and all situations that arise and to guide the community in a calm, slow, respectful, and peaceful manner at all times. She must protect the children from disruptions, i.e., other children taking their work or bothering one another as well as from other adults who may want to step in and “help” the child.

Children who complete the three-year cycle in a Montessori primary environment are developmentally ready to transition into the public or other private school setting. Maria Montessori discusses planes of development in her writings and has broken them down into three ages spans, birth to age 3, ages 3 to 6, ages 6 to 9, and so on. As a 6-year-old, the child is now ready to be part of a larger peer group and ready for a different level of learning. Ultimately, the goal of a Montessori program is not to get a child ready for public school, but to prepare the child for life through the experiences in the Montessori environment.

My Child at Montessori

Maria Montessori’s Method is based on the concept of Sensitive Periods, those times in development that the young child almost effortlessly absorbs information and concepts from the environment. A 3-year-old is in the sensitive periods for language acquisition, order, refinement of the senses, social relations, and movement. When the sensitive period for anything passes, the child learns it only through rote instruction and repetition. Entering the Montessori environment at age 3 is the optimum time to benefit from the complete sequence of the Montessori primary curriculum from start to finish, because of its scientific basis on the sequence of the Sensitive Periods.

Montessori children, like all children, have a natural need to move. Children move freely around the classroom and have daily outdoor experiences of exploration and play fulfilling that need. Creativity is evident daily in the children’s art work, extensions of sensorial exploration, social interactions, and problem-solving.

School opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. daily. All classrooms follow a similar daily schedule which formally begins at 08:00 and includes a Montessori work cycle of two or three hours; comprised of both individual and small group work, an outdoor free play time (weather permitting), and a nap or rest time. Aftercare is available from 1: 00 or 2:00 p.m and includes a creative cycle, informal second work cycle and outdoor play.

The Montessori Classroom

How many students are typically in a Montessori classroom?

Montessori classrooms are designed off the premise that bigger (within reason) is better.

Our Toddler classroom varies from 10 to 15 students, depending on the majority age group, and the Preschool classrooms vary from 20 to 28 students of mixed aged groups.

Mixed-age classrooms encourage the social cohesion of the group. Younger children look to their older classmates as mentors and role models. Older children are leaders of the classroom and help the younger children. Within a three-year period the children get to experience the complete cycle of social living within the group.

There is freedom of choice within limits. The teacher prepares herself, the environment, and the children to respect one’s self, each other, and the environment, by setting clear boundaries and ground rules. Lessons are always given in the Montessori community before free choice occurs. This also goes back to having mixed-age groups where, for example, in the beginning of the school year the older children are the role models who “show” others how things are done in the classroom. Respect is a key component of the classroom. That said, the other piece to creating and keeping peace, is to facilitate peaceful conflict resolution by helping children dialogue any problems that may arise. This is usually done at the peace table or other designated peace area of the classroom. The teacher must be prepared to handle any and all situations that arise and to guide the community in a calm, slow, respectful, and peaceful manner at all times. She must protect the children from disruptions, i.e., other children taking their work or bothering one another as well as from other adults who may want to step in and “help” the child.

Montessori curriculum has no electronic technology as a part of the educational experience. The developmental period from 0 to 6 years is a sensorial time and information is gathered through hands-on experiences. The young child’s world is one of sensation and concrete experiences. Maria Montessori designed her Method with the philosophy that the hand is the teacher of the young child. Computers are a tool of the second developmental period of childhood from 6 to 9 years old, where the child moves to the world of abstraction.

Montessori Teachers

Montessori is a very specific curriculum with activities in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Science, Art, Geography, and Cultural Studies. Teachers work with the children on sequential presentations of exercises in all areas.

Montessori is an individual learning method. Each child learns at their own pace. Teachers are trained to observe and assess (informally) each child to see where the child is developmentally. Based on these observations, an individual lesson is created for each child. Further, as the Montessori classroom is run as a community, older children are there to be role models and to show younger children how to do what they (the older children) already know—making them part of the teaching process. Younger children look up to the older ones and want to be like them which creates a sense of motivation to learn new things. Children, even those that are the same age, all learn at a different level and pace; the Montessori Method allows for this freedom. There is no competition or expectation for children to learn the same things as everyone else their age at exactly the same time. Teachers then find it easier to teach multiple ages than to try to teach the same concept to 15 3-year-olds at the same time. Montessori teachers are experienced at multi-tasking. Also, with mixed-age groups, children stay with the same teacher for all three years they are in Montessori enabling a close bond to be formed.

Montessori teacher training is a specific course including child development principles, philosophy and psychology of the Montessori Method, and instruction in every exercise in the Prepared Environment. The course is a one- to two-year training at a Montessori teacher training institution. The term Montessori is not copy protected, so it is only through the training of the teacher that quality Montessori programs can be evaluated. SAMA (South African Montessori Association) is the accrediting organization monitoring Montessori teacher training institutions. We require diplomas from accredited teacher training centers for consideration of employment as lead teachers in our Toddler and Preschool programs.

A Well-Rounded Student

Rather than focusing on the narrow academic life of young children traditionally learning colors, letters numbers, etc., Montessori focuses on the whole child for experiences and development in all areas of human experience. A Montessori education results in an independent, inquisitive, respectful, socialized, and educated whole child.

Montessori teachers, through our Minimum Classroom Standards, are required to keep extensive records on all children’s work introduced, practiced, and mastered in the curriculum. Although the child has freedom to choose work, that choice is one within limits. The teacher will subtly step in with suggestions to move the child on through the entire curriculum, constantly reviewing the child’s work life.

Assessing Progress and Student Outcomes

There are two formal parent/teacher conferences offered during the school year for a personal discussion of the children’s work. Informal teacher conferences are welcome anytime the parent requests. In the infant and toddler environments more frequent weekly notes are sent home regarding children’s daily activities and care.

Children who complete the three-year cycle in a Montessori primary environment are developmentally ready to transition into the public or other private school setting. Maria Montessori discusses planes of development in her writings and has broken them down into three ages spans, birth to age 3, ages 3 to 6, ages 6 to 9, and so on. As a 6-year-old, the child is now ready to be part of a larger peer group and ready for a different level of learning. Ultimately, the goal of a Montessori program is not to get a child ready for public school, but to prepare the child for life through the experiences in the Montessori environment.

Our school uses email as the main communication with parents. Monthly and weekly newsletters, teacher notes, administrative and billing updates are sent via email. Whatsapp broadcasts and Facebook posts are utilized for more informal communication and reminders. GRDM offers quarterly Parent Education opportunities as a means of communicating the method and philosophy with parents.

The Montessori Approach

Montessori is a method and philosophy for teaching children, based on the work of pioneering educator Maria Montessori. In our school, we have children from ages 18 months through 6 years old. We offer two programs for these children, one is for toddlers (18 months to 3 years old), and the other is for older children (3 to 6 years old) which does include the “kindergarten” year. Montessori is designed to be an individualized program and is unique for each child. Montessori offers a Prepared Environment that fosters each child’s independence, as well as helps him develop socially and academically. Children are free to explore and discover on their own, however, there are very clear boundaries and ground rules that must be adhered to and are monitored by the teacher. The teacher is the first and very important part of the Prepared Environment. Montessori classrooms are thought of more as communities than classrooms. They must be cooperative in order for the method to work.

Montessori education is a preparation for life. Independence, confidence, and an inquiring mind are the results of this education, achieved through a sense of order and respect. Montessori is a sensorial education and the children are effortlessly able to classify and categorize their world through the work in the Prepared Environment of the Montessori classroom. The work is sequential in order and moves from concrete sensorial experiences to abstract understanding of the world. Montessori prepares the child to be a socially engaged and respectful member of society through these experiences.

The History of Montessori

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children naturally learn. She opened the first Montessori school—the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House—in Rome on January 6, 1907. Subsequently, she traveled the world and wrote extensively about her approach to education.

There are at least 4,000 certified Montessori schools in the United States and about 7,000 worldwide.

My Montessori School

An authentic Montessori classroom is one which has a certified Montessori teacher, a full inventory of Montessori material for the ages of the children in the class, and a mixed-age grouping of students. We additionally have a set of minimum classroom standards on which all rooms are evaluated for Montessori authenticity and execution.

Montessori Unlimited schools are not based on any particular religion or religious practices.

Our schools offer a prepared lunch each day, as well as morning and afternoon snacks in the classrooms. We try to include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nutritious offerings in all the food served. Vegetarian options are available. Lunch is served family style. Snacks are an individual offering in the classroom and available to all students.

Tuition rates vary by school. Please contact your local school for specific tuition rates.

The Montessori Unlimited admission process begins with a tour and interview. Our administrative director meets with you and may meet with your child to determine your child’s readiness. We also want to know what you’re seeking in a school experience, so we can personalize your child’s experience from the very beginning.

Garden Road Montessori Preschool

An authentic Montessori classroom is one which has a certified Montessori teacher, a full inventory of Montessori material for the ages of the children in the class, and a mixed-age grouping of students. We additionally have a set of minimum classroom standards on which all rooms are evaluated for Montessori authenticity and execution.

Garden Road Montessori is not based on any particular religion or religious practices.

Our schools offer a prepared vegetarian lunch each day, as well as morning and afternoon snacks in the classrooms. We try to include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nutritious offerings in all the food served. Lunch is served family style. Snacks are an individual offering in the classroom and available to all students.

A school fee structure is available upon requests. Please email admin@grdm.co.za for copy of our current rates.

Your Garden Road Montessori journey begins with a school tour. Our Principal or Vice Principal meets with you and may meet with your child to determine your family’s readiness. We also want to know what you’re seeking in a school experience, so we can personalize your child’s experience from the very beginning.

The journey to find the perfect school for your little one has come to an end.

Book a tour with us today and experience a childcare environment like no other.