Curriculum

The curriculum at Koru Montessori is closely tied to the Montessori method of education and the Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whaariki ~ He Whariki Matauranga mo nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa. The environment is attractive, calm and inviting. The materials engage the child and provide the keys to many different aspects of learning. The classroom is divided into areas of activity relating to practical life, sensorial development, language and communication, numbers and numeracy, science, cultural development such as geography, history, music, nature, and the arts, grace and courtesy, fine and gross motor experiences. Children have the opportunity to work independently or in small or large groups on activities that engage their interests.

Children’s cultural heritage is acknowledged and the centre regards cultural diversity as a cause for celebration.  Natural science, care for the environment, sustainability and outdoor education are important elements of children’s experience including care of animals and the garden.

Mixed age group

Children are welcomed from around the age of 2 years 6 months and depart for further learning between 5 to 6 years of age. As children grow older and more capable, they assume a greater responsibility for their own learning and provide positive role models for their younger classmates. The younger children observe and look up to the older ones and as result are indirectly prepared to do the same work at a later stage. The older child benefits by reinforcing their knowledge gained through demonstration and showing how they have ‘mastered’ a skill. This builds confidence and self esteem at an essential time when they are preparing to move on to their next stage of learning at Primary school.

The Montessori classroom is designed to meet the size, pace and interests of the children. The materials are arranged on low shelves within easy reach of even the youngest children. The Montessori materials are divided into:

Social and Emotional Development

By age two and a half to three, the child has already laid down the basic foundations of his or her personality and is now ready to experience an ever-widening circle of adults and other children. Social competence and emotional wellbeing are critical to the young child's brain development, future school success, and emerging cognitive abilities. Our teachers at Koru Montessori create an environment that actively supports the social and emotional development of each child. As a teacher responds respectfully to the child's needs and offers them meaningful activity that builds the child's self-esteem, the child develops a sense of trust in the teacher and a sense of belonging to the classroom community. Children are free to move, make choices, explore and interact with others. Where there is freedom to explore and work together, there is also a high level of social interaction. They sit together, work together, solve problems together, children learn to encourage and develop a sense of compassion and empathy for others. As children develop, they become more socially aware, preparing to work and play in larger groups. This social interaction is supported throughout the environment and is encouraged with the nature our multi-age classroom setting.

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Practical Life activities

These activities assist the child to develop independence, confidence, coordination and concentration. They satisfy the child’s need for meaningful activity. These activities can include food preparation, using kitchen tools such as a spoon, tongs, chopsticks, jugs to transfer water or everyday ingredients.  For the young child there is something special about the tasks that an adult considers ordinary, for example washing dishes, polishing a silver plate or shoes, sweeping the floor. They are exciting for the child because they allow them to imitate the adult. These vital activities in the Montessori classroom prepare the child for more concentrated and intricate materials.

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Sensorial Exercises

A young child experiences the world around them through the constant use of all their senses. The sensorial exercises sharpen the child’s observation skills by helping them to become aware of details such as colour, weight, shape, texture, size, sound and smell. The materials emphasize one particular quality by eliminating or minimizing other differences. Dr  Montessori believed that this process of learning to discriminate and categorize is the beginning of conscious knowledge and prepares the child for further exploration and learning.

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Language and Literacy

To be able to write, a child needs to be able to remember the shape of the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sounds. They must also develop the muscular skill necessary for using a pencil. The Montessori language materials are designed to offer the child the opportunity to learn the shapes and sounds of each letter in a way that is completely independent from his perfection of the motor skill. The child also learns to write by performing a number of purposefully structured activities that prepare them both indirectly and directly for handwriting.

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Mathematics

The Montessori mathematics materials present the child with concrete, hands on materials during the years when they enjoy manipulating equipment.  Dr Montessori demonstrated that if a child has access to mathematical equipment in his early years, he can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. For example the child not only sees the symbols for 1, 10, 100, 1000 they can hold each of the corresponding quantities in their hand. Later they then combine this equipment, separate it, share it, count it and compare it which demonstrates the basic operations of arithmetic.

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Cultural Curriculum

This includes Geography, Botany, Biology, Arts and Music
A Montessori classroom offers many opportunities for children to expand their knowledge at a time when they are motivated by spontaneous interest. Large wooden puzzle maps of the world and its continents are used by the children initially as a puzzle but gradually they learn the names for the many countries. The materials provide opportunities for learning about flags, culture, habitat and climatic differences and similarities.

Montessori classrooms have beautiful wooden puzzles and sets of nature cards that illustrate the parts of plants and animals. Through working with the materials the children become observant of the world around them and gain and understanding and vocabulary to describe their environment at an age when their natural curiosity leads them to discover rather than by being told.

Koru also takes these materials into the outdoor environment, where the children are actively engaged in caring for the animals (cat, hens), the gardens and the environment. Koru Montessori uses environmentally sustainable practices including organic gardening sprays and cleaning products, recycling, composting and a worm farm.

Group singing, music appreciation, creative arts, crafts, poetry and games are all incorporated into the programme.

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