Junior School

Working within the Marist ethos encourages us to evaluate our values continually. We are
always proud of our academic achievers, but we are as proud of all the children who reach
their full potential. We are very excited when our teams win their matches, but what is also
important is how we win those matches or how we deal with defeat.  Everyone is talented in
some way and we feel it is important that children are assisted to nurture these talents and to share them with one another. We encourage children to participate fully in all that is available and to do everything to the best of their ability – be it a project, getting involved in the junior Marimba band, swimming in the gala or getting a dance routine right. Our aim is that this involvement, coupled with our comprehensive life skills programme, will result in the children being able to enjoy their school life to the fullest and assist them to face the
future with confidence.

What is Montessori?
Montessori is a philosophy based on the fundamental tenet that a child learns best within a
social environment which supports each individual’s unique development.
Montessori 6-9 years (Gr 1, 2 and 3)
At SJMC Junior School we offer both Mainstream and Montessori education in this section of the school.  Although the weekly routine differs in Mainstream and Montessori, all children participate in:
– Literacy – English as a home language, Afrikaans as first additional language and
conversational Xhosa.
– Numeracy
– Life skills
– Religion Education
– Physical Education (which includes swimming)
– Computers
– Library
– Art
– Class music

Montessori 9-12 years (Gr 4, 5 and 6)
Both Mainstream and Montessori education are offered in this section of the school.
However, the children should have started Montessori education in Pre-Primary.
A typical week in the Intermediate Phase can include:
– Languages – English as a home language, Afrikaans as first additional language and
conversational Xhosa.
– Mathematics
– Religious Education
– Computer lessons
– Natural Sciences
– Social Sciences
– Life Skills (which includes Physical Education)
– Arts and Culture (which includes class music, dance and art)
– Technology (which includes computer lessons and media guidance).
The Learner Representative Council (LRC) meets twice a term to raise and discuss issues of
concern to the Junior School learners.

Education support
An Education Support Teacher and an Occupational Therapist are available on the campus.
An Education Support Team (EST) assists teachers who have children in their classes who
are experiencing difficulties with their school work.

Aftercare / Homework Club
– Aftercare is available for Grade 1 from 13:15 and for Grade 2 & 3 from 14:00 –
17:30, with formal homework supervision for Grades 1, 2 and 3.
– Intermediate Phase Homework Club includes a structured programme from 15:30
to 17:30.

Music

– Foundation Phase and Intermediate Phase Choir
– Private tuition – piano, recorder, clarinet, guitar, violin, keyboard, drums etc.
– Class Music lessons

What makes Montessori Education unique?
The three year experience – the child stays in the same class with the same directress for
three years, first being the young one and then finally graduating to the eldest. Groupings
are: 3-6 years, 6-9 years and 9-12 years of age at St Joseph’s Marist College. The three-year
age span in each class provides a family- like grouping. More experienced children share
what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. This peer group learning is
intrinsic to Montessori.

The Montessori material – Dr Montessori’s observations led her to design a number of multi- sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials, which facilitate the learning of skills and concepts. The materials become more and more advanced depending on the grade. The classroom (both Pre- Primary and in the Junior School in 6-9 and 9-12 years) is set up in different areas based on the child’s needs and the children are allowed to work on
the materials which have been presented to them. This is termed a prepared environment.
The teacher – after extensive training, the Montessori teacher functions as a facilitator
of learning, designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record- keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behaviour and growth. Assessments are given and four reports of progress are published. The “whole child” approach – the primary goal of a Montessori programme is to help each child reach their full potential in all areas of life through “individual activity that stimulates and produces development”.

Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. She was the first woman to achieve a degree as
a Doctor of Medicine. This scientific background is clearly seen in her later work in education.

Dr Montessori became interested in the way children learn from a very early age by closely
observing them as they really are. She opened her first “Children’s House” in 1907 and
published her first educational work in 1909. She died in 1952 at which time her son
continued her work in education, which has spread successfully throughout the world.

What happens when a child leaves Montessori?
Montessori children are very adaptable and have learned to work independently and in
groups. They have been encouraged to make decisions from an early age and have pre-
problem skills. They manage their time well and generally have good research skills.