In the past, when Mankind’s store of knowledge was relatively fixed and limited, the most efficient care and education consisted of some form of “baby-sitting”, drill, and/or memorisation. In today’s world, an era of such technological revolution and socio-economical change, the foundation of a good care and education is to learn how to learn as an individual.
Our programs encompass the essence of the traditional care and educational curriculum, where we guide children how to concentrate and to learn to think, to follow their thoughts, express themselves well in speech and writing, and to put their skills and knowledge to practical application. Montessori Stepping Stones has structured the learning development as an inclined spiral plane of interwoven and interdependent learning areas, rather than a traditional model in which the curriculum is compartmentalised into separate subjects, with given topics considered only once at a given time or level.
In Montessori, activities and lessons are introduced simply and concretely in the early years, and are reintroduced several times over the years at increasing degrees of abstraction and complexity.
Development and learning an integrated thematic approach that ties the separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience.
This integrated approach is one of the great strengths of Dr Montessori’s method, and forms the foundation of our philosophy of child care and education.
As an example, when our children learn about the pre-historic times in world history, they also hear about dinosaurs in biology, botany, or other parts of the sciences. The arts, history, social issues, and the learning of technology all complement one another in our curriculum.
In preparation for school, we consciously teach children how to develop effective work habits and strategies.
Our goal is to help children develop themselves into individuals who are recognised for their individual character, team spirit, academic abilities and leadership.
Our approach is consistent with current brain research and research based on longitudinal observation of young children, which indicates that children learn best through play, using their senses, needing many opportunities to initiate learning on their own, and needing periods of choice that alternate with periods of guidance. Rather than present children with loads of right answers, we keep asking the right questions, and lead them to discover the answers for themselves. Learning becomes its own reward, and each success fuels a desire to discover even more.
We encourage children to do their own activities/tasks, analyse what they have found, and come to their own conclusions. Our goal is to care and lead children to think for themselves and become actively engaged in the learning and developmental process!
At Montessori Stepping Stones, children learn to not be afraid of making mistakes. They quickly find that few things in life come easily, and they can try again without fear of embarrassment. We help children set gradually higher goals for themselves so that they can take pride in the quality of their growing skills and knowledge. We want them to discover and reach the potential their abilities.
As we support children to develop a meaningful degree of independence and self-discipline, we also set a pattern for a lifetime of good work habits and a sense of responsibility. Our children take pride in doing things for themselves carefully and well. Independence does not come automatically as we grow older; it must be learned. At Montessori Stepping Stones, even very small children can learn how to tie their own shoes and pour their own milk. At first, shoelaces turn into knots and milk ends up on the floor. However, with practice, skills are mastered and the young child beams with pride.
To experience this kind of success at such an early age is to build up a self-image as a successful person, and leads one to approach the next task with confidence.
As our children develop, they learn all sorts of everyday living skills, such as cleaning, sewing, cooking, planning parties, decorating a room, arranging flowers, and gardening. We build many opportunities into our curriculum for our children to gain hands-on experience. These are activities are known as Practical Life Exercise.
We teach our children advanced skills, such as typing, doing simple repairs around the environment, planning their own outings, caring for animals, using public transportation, caring for plants and a garden.
We consciously teach our children ethics and interpersonal skills from age of two. Even the youngest child is treated with dignity and respect. As a close-knit community, children at our Montessori Stepping Stones Centre grow up in an atmosphere of caring, warmth, safety, and mutual trust.
Even our youngest children constantly see others working courteously with one another. Their natural tendency is to do the same. They quickly learn that they may not interfere with someone else’s work unless asked to join. They learn to walk through the room calmly, to speak politely to friends, and to clean up after themselves. While they may work alone or with friends, they may not disturb others.
Over the years our children learn to accept more responsibility and handle themselves in a wide variety of situations. Learning how to live and work together with others in a peaceful and caring community is, to us, the most critical life skill that we can give your son or daughter.
We aim to provide a caring and supportive community for children, staff and parents, custodians and families. There is a real sense of partnership. We encourage families to participate with their children when possible, get involved in the planning, and give us as much information about family traditions, routines, rituals, relationships, habitat and dynamics as possible.
We work closely with our families through day-to-day verbal communication and interaction, as well as continually adding information and photos to each child’s individual EarlyWorks profiles. We encourage parent and family participation in the broader life of the centre. Because we get to know our children so well, we can carefully monitor and evaluate their development within the broader context of their unique talents and personalities.