At The Gower School, the Montessori ethos informs our curriculum and classrooms for inspirational learning.
The Montessori classroom is divided into several areas by low, open shelves: one for Practical Life exercises, one for Sensorial, one for Language, another for Maths and other areas for Culture – art, music, geography and science.
The Montessori curriculum is an integrated, thematic approach that ties the separate disciplines together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature and human experience. In this way, one lesson leads to many others.
Each material or activity in the classroom isolates one concept or skill. They have been designed especially so that the children are drawn naturally to want to work with them with little or no nudging from adults. Additionally, they are designed so that a child can check their own work; we call this a built-in “control of error”. Truly, the intention of the materials is not to keep the children dependent on these artificial learning aids forever; they are used as tools to help children work and learn at their own pace, to see abstract ideas presented in a very concrete, three-dimensional way and to help them grasp and understand what they are working on.
Montessori students learn not to be afraid of making mistakes. They quickly find that they can try again without fear or embarrassment.
Practical Life is designed to invite the young learner to act and work on real-life tasks. This fosters independence, co-ordination, order and concentration. It is, in a sense, the doorway to the Montessori curriculum.
The Practical Life area is where a child may first choose independent work. This area contains many attractively-displayed objects familiar to the child. These include a variety of items used in daily life for eating, dressing and cleaning.
They offer the child meaningful modes of activity. The materials are also designed to help teach skills involved with caring for the themselves and the environment. Additionally, they encourage responsibility and autonomy, and promote high self-esteem.