Mainstream Pre-Primary at St. Joseph’s Marist College offers the following:
Each class has a qualified and experienced teacher with an assistant who is also qualified in child-care.
A structured daily programme which runs from 8.00 am to 1.00pm. and caters for children from the ages of 4-5 years in Pre-Grade R and from 5-6 years in Grade R. The child is developed holistically, that is, spiritually, morally, emotionally, aesthetically, socially, physically and cognitively. This is done by developing each learner individually, according to his her ability through constructive play by making use or different pieces of educational equipment, educational games, as well as different teaching methodologies and using conceptual language in order to achieve this goal. Our programme caters for all learners with different learning abilities. We use themes in order to bring across basic concepts so as to make learning more interesting and fun for the child.
This programme covers three subjects namely: English Home Language, Mathematics and Life skills as it is the beginning of the Foundation Phase.
We offer a variety of private extra murals, namely: clay play, ballet, drama, karate and play ball.
Our basic daily Programme consist of: bible stories, moral stories, mathematics, language development and enrichment, educational games and puzzles, creative activities ( technology, lock building and construction toy), story time, snack time, music and movement, computers, swimming, emergent reading and emergent writing.
One hundred years ago, when education was little more than rote learning on hard benches, Maria Montessori recognized and studied the individuality of children. She saw the child as a lover of work for whom education should be an active discipline which originates within the child and is not imposed from without. Given an appropriately prepared environment, she saw that children could take delight and find satisfaction in learning.
The Montessori classroom is full of interesting things that draw the child to them. The directress’s role is to give guidance to the child’s natural curiosity and energy by encouraging her/him to learn by doing. Each child learns at her/his own pace. No child flounders along trying to keep up, and no child is held back to wait for others. The directress observes each one carefully and introduces new activities and ideas to individuals or small groups as they are ready. The Montessori equipment is designed to allow the children to explore the world at their own pace. Much of the work is self-correcting – the emphasis is not on ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but on the process of learning and self-development.
This is the philosophy that is followed in the SJM Montessori classroom. Each class accommodates children for a three-year cycle, from 3-6 years, 6-9 years and 9-12 years. Children must start their Montessori education in the Montessori 3 – 6 class, preferably in the first year of the cycle but no later than in the second year. The three-year cycle allows the directress to become involved with each individual and it allows the child to experience the nurtured role of the youngest child, the freedom of the middle child or the responsibility of the oldest. Self-discipline is highly valued – the child is expected to respect others while having respect for her/himself. The Montessori classroom is not unlike a family home where, while each is busy about his/her task. There is mutual respect and accommodation for the interests and capabilities of all.
Montessori classes cover the full WCED curriculum as well as exploring many other areas that children find fascinating.
Montessori Q & A
What is so different about Montessori education?
Maria Montessori said: “Follow the child” and that is what we do. The children are encouraged to think, make decisions, work independently and take responsibility for themselves. The teachers are known as directresses as they guide the children.
What do they learn?
They learn all the skills that are taught in a Mainstream classroom – literacy, numeracy, life skills – but they learn it in a different way. With a range of specialized Montessori educational equipment, the children are able to learn by discovering for themselves.
And if they decide not to learn?
The directresses observe each child with great care. They guide the children to the activities that are relevant to their levels of interest and development. They are enticed into activities that develop self-esteem and give them opportunities to succeed. Before long the child is thirsting for further challenges.
Are there children of different ages in each classroom?
Yes. Children stay in a class with the same teacher for three years. In a Pre-school class there is a group of u\younger children (3 turning 4), a middle group (4 turning 5) and the older group of 5 and 6 year olds. It is like a family where different things are expected of different members, but all share the same home with respect and dignity. Grades 1, 2 and 3 share an environment as do Grades 4, 5 and 6.
What about discipline?
Self-discipline is extremely important in a Montessori classroom. Children respond to trust and responsibility, appreciating the independence that it allows them. The younger children learn from the older ones, just as the new baby learns from his brothers and sisters. Of course, they need to be reminded on occasion and our directresses don’t hesitate to intervene gently but firmly.
How do Montessori children adapt to a regular classroom?
They have learnt the same skills and so academically they adapt easily. Their ability to work independently, thinking through tasks and taking responsibility for themselves allows them to flourish in the new Outcomes Based Education classrooms. They have skills that equip them for life-long learning inside and outside the classroom.
How do I know if my child would benefit from a Montessori education?
Does your child
- ask many questions?
- enjoy discussions and finding out about things?
- like to be busy, to get involved with a task?
- dislike being interrupted when busy with something?
- observe carefully?
- work and play co-operatively?
- like to help you and do things her/himself?
Yes, then your child would love a Montessori environment.
Should you have any more questions, please do come and observe in a Montessori classroom. Each class has an observation chair where you can sit quietly and find out more.
Please contact our Admissions office on (021) 685-6715 to arrange an observation.