Our curriculum is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in a Montessori Setting. The principles of Dr. Maria Montessori continue to be a basis of our teachings at Ladybird Nursery. The EYFS expresses these principles in the following terms which are both familiar in a Montessori setting and form a basis for our teachers and staff in their daily interactions with our children:
• Communication and language
• Physical development
• Personal, social and emotional development
• Understanding the world
• Expressive arts and design
Communication and Language
Children are given a wide range of opportunities to develop listening, communication skills and vocabulary. They have the freedom of speech and opportunities for conversation. Children’s attention, listening, understanding and speech development is enriched using books, storytelling, conversation, song, rhyme and phonics games.
Children develop gross and fine motor skills, a high degree of hand eye coordination and balance through “Practical Life” exercises. Utilizing both the indoor and outdoor environments, physical development becomes a natural part of the child’s activities in our settings. Music and movement also form an important part of the child’s development where they are given opportunities to practice their gross motor skills via dance, obstacle courses and movement games. Children are encouraged and empowered to care for themselves and to be independent in their self-care skills.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children will be introduced to “Practical Life” lessons. Simple exercises such as threading, pouring and fastenings help children to concentrate, to be confident and to be independent. Children are given a wide range of opportunities to understand the rules and the feelings of others using a range of role-play and pictorial cues. Children also have the freedom to develop positive friendships and self-confidence through independence and freedom of choice.
Literacy lessons introduce phonetic sounds of the alphabet in an array of methods to lead the child towards writing, reading and developing their understanding and expressive skills. The methods include the visual representation of sandpaper letters, rich music, communication and rhyme, the moveable alphabet and short phonetic reading tasks. Insets for design are used to prepare the child for handwriting and development of pencil control alongside a range of “Practical Life” exercises and mark-making tools such as making dough, using chalk, painting, drawing and sand play.
Sensorial methods introduce the basics of mathematics into the child’s learning. They learn to count, combine, share, compare and really learn to understand mathematical concepts. Sensorial materials are designed to educate and train the senses of the child. They encourage the child to compare, contrast and to differentiate. They include activities with shapes, sizes, sequencing and patterns alongside the exploration of their environment. Water, sand and exploration of a wide range of materials facilitate the child’s awareness of texture, volume, length and capacity. Counting activities are offered in a mathematically-rich environment ranging from rhymes and games, to sandpaper numerals and spindle boxes. The children explore the recognition of numerals using the sandpaper numbers and are offered the opportunity to relate number to quantity using Montessori materials.
Understanding of the World
Cultural subjects such as geography, science and history, which enrich the child’s understanding of the world in which he/she lives, are an important part of our teaching. Opportunities to explore and care for the environment both indoor and outdoor are provided. Life cycles and nature are a common theme within the nursery where children learn about the natural world. Use of materials found in the natural world provides the foundations for art and creative work. Children are introduced to celebrations from around the world and the child will be encouraged to understand and value diversity in the world.
Expressive Arts and Design
Creative activities such as dance, acting nursery rhymes, role play, storytelling, art and design, junk modelling, painting, cutting and sticking, collages and drawing. A range of natural and man-made materials are offered for exploration. Weekly Music and Movement activities encourage the development of free expression and ideas. The children use their bodies, scarves and ribbons to interpret sound and rhythm. Children are offered a range of activities that include small world, role-play and a puppet theatre to develop their imaginative play and their creative minds.