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The Gower School’s approach is strongly informed by the Montessori philosophy, now widely recognised internationally as helping to educate young people to the highest modern standards and giving them a life-long love of learning.
The Montessori approach to education was first developed by Italy’s first female medical doctor, Maria Montessori, a century ago and was based on her own direct observations of children.
Children flourish in our child centred environment, which allows them to work at their own pace sequentially through the Montessori curriculum. Children achieve very good results in the Montessori setting, and make excellent progress – our teachers know them very well through their individual observations and assessments. Visitors often comment on the independence, the confidence and the happiness of our Montessori students.
Today Montessori schools educate children from birth to the age of eighteen and are found around the world. The approach is holistic, child-centred and inclusive. Based on a profound respect for children and understanding what they are capable of. The ethos promotes enthusiasm and joy in learning and enables children to realise their full potential. Maria Montessori believed children should be encouraged to be custodians of the planet, and to have respect for all around them. This ethos remains relevant over 100 years on!
We like to celebrate each child’s birthday milestone. We also use the opportunity of birthdays to help children understand the importance of giving, as well as receiving. To help develop their concept of time, from their third birthday onwards each child presents a pictorial timeline showing their development from a young baby and through each year of their life, as well as anecdotes such as their first words, favourite foods and significant moments in their life to the present birthday.
Children are also invited to donate a book of their choice to the school library in their name, labelled with a school bookplate.
The Gower School believes that grace and courtesy promote intellectual and physical development, enabling the children to respond to their environment. This lays the foundation for later academic achievement and is an integral part of our school community.
Children are expected to use their manners, open doors for adults, tidy up their materials and help their peers. Children are expected to use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as well as saying ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’ at the beginning and end of the day. We encourage children to use the names of adults when speaking to them and to make eye contact. Looking after their personal appearance, using table manners and good behaviour on outings are all key areas of grace and courtesy that children learn throughout their days at The Gower School.
Each child gets the opportunity to be ‘Special Helper’ on a regular basis, giving them the opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility and initiative, and boosting their confidence. The role involves helping at lunchtime, bringing in a healthy snack, a music CD or favourite book to share with the class and other tasks, such as taking messages and counting children for the class register. The children love the system and are very excited when their turn comes round!