Here are the three students, engaging in Constructive Play as they complete the Colour Tablets Box 3!
SJMS merges the Montessori Method with the DAP's (Developmentally Appropriate Practices) for the Preschool Whole Child. This means, in addition to teaching the Montessori Curriculum using the Montessori teaching style, we also include ECE Practices to support each child Physically, Cognitively, Socially and Emotionally.
Our students will use Materials like the one pictured both in two ways, if choose to:
First, as Independent Lessons presented using the Montessori Method. This is to ensure they are receiving the full educational understanding of the Material.
The second way is during small group work. This happens after they have Mastered the Material independently. By encouraging, and more importantly ALLOWING small group work in our classroom (which not all Montessori's do, and some that do allow it limit which materials can be used for this purpose) we are providing our students ample opportunities to enhance their Cooperative and Constructive Play Skills.
This is crucial to a preschool child's healthy development, as this is where Socio-Emotional Skills like Problem Solving, Conflict Resolution, Entering Play, Delaying Gratification, Turn Taking, and Expressing Views and Opinions to Peers are learned, refined, and enhanced!
Without opportunities to engage in meaningful Cooperative and Constructive Play with small groups, the preschool child does not have the necessary required time to work on these Developmental Milestones - which are crucial in the healthy development of the Whole Child!
This can be why some Montessori students have trouble adjusting when they begin traditional elementary years following a Montessori preschool; they have missed the crucial windows of development where these social skills are grown, and it can be very overwhelming for them entering into these new environments where peers are demonstrating skills which they have not yet learned or gained proficiency in. They are at times faced with social situations where they have not have the experience in learning and refining how to interact and participate with their peers in constructive play. This can cause they at times to feel isolated, and even lead to behavioural situations (as often children show frustrations via behaviours).
Our goal at SJMS is to provide each student with the highest quality of early years education, through BOTH the Montessori Method (which is an OUTSTANDING educational teaching method), and DAP's (which supports each child in the developmental growth not incorporated into traditional Montessori practices).
This way, we are not only meeting their entire early years educational needs, we are also preparing the foundations for what they will need in the next stage of their educational journey - elementary school! Maria Montessori advocated for this herself, when she stated that (and I am paraphrasing here) we as educators need to look at the child's ENTIRE educational journey - from nursery to university - when determining our curricula in the early years.
Merging the Montessori Method with DAP's may seem overwhelming for educators when first considering it; but it really does flow seemlessly when it is done with thoughtful intent based on a strong understanding of the development of the preschool child!