At The Gower School’s Montessori nursery in London, children are welcomed into Les Papillons (The Butterflies) from three to five years old. There is at least one Montessori teacher for every eight children.
Les Papillons is a Montessori classrooms equipped with the very best resources. Our learning materials are scientifically designed to a high standard by Maria Montessori and are made from natural materials. Les Papillons, led by Miss Zahra Kasmani, is a large class with around 30 children. Miss Kasmani has worked at The Gower School since 2016 and is the Head of Group.
Montessori learning is split into five different areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Culture. Our Montessori teachers work closely with each child to develop an individual plan of activities based on their preferences. Each child makes progress in planned, small steps and gains inner confidence about themselves and the way that they work. Working individually and in small groups, each child builds up their own repertoire of activities and is encouraged to make independent choices.
Our teachers are all highly-trained observers and they are committed to providing each child with an individual plan of work that challenges them and follows a steady learning programme. Each classroom at our school is very well-resourced with high-quality learning materials to enable a wide range of learning through practical activities. This ensures that the foundation skills of numeracy, literacy and investigation are well-developed in a quiet, firmly controlled, yet happily informal atmosphere.
Children work on a one-to-one basis with their teacher each day, who introduces them to new concepts and Montessori learning materials. Children move at their own pace and teachers support them if they find an area challenging. Equally, children are not held back and are guided and encouraged to achieve their full potential.
Once they are confident enough to use the materials alone, the activities form part of their regular work cycle. Freedom of choice is a key theme, but children are guided to ensure their individual learning is balanced. They have the freedom to choose their work and to organise themselves during their work cycle.
The length of the work cycle is key. Children are uninterrupted for several hours as they work and concentrate on quite complex tasks, allowing their personal knowledge and interests to develop.
We meet all of the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and our experience shows that children who start off in our nursery are usually assessed as being ahead of national standards by the time they reach reception class.
Encouraging children to be independent and self-reliant is at the heart of the Montessori ethos. In Les Papillons, a snack table is available where children can prepare their own healthy snacks throughout the morning. Each day a child is appointed as the Special Helpers for that day. This role that comes with particular responsibilities. The Special Helpers assist with serving lunch and bring in a healthy snack to share with their friends. They can also bring in a favourite CD or book. Each week there is also a Flower Helper, who brings in flowers to decorate the classroom.
Specialist professional teachers visit each week. The children enjoy music lessons with Sarah Wilkinson, French with a native French speaker, guitar with Louise Loft, tennis, athletics/sports skills with our Head of PE and Sport Mr Luca Bishop and football with Coach T. Many of our specialist teachers also teach at our Primary school. There are also weekly trips to the Islington Tennis Centre for tennis lessons.
All our staff are trained in yoga and we run a weekly optional yoga session. There are trips to the library, park, arts and crafts and cookery lessons.
In Les Papillons, children build up to a five-day week. We expect them to attend every day for a minimum of six sessions (five mornings and an afternoon or three full days) by the term after their third birthday. Each Friday, we also have an ‘Open Morning’ between 8am and 9:30am when parents are encouraged to come into the classroom and spend time with their child. Children in Les Papillons wear a simple uniform in preparation for school.
The Gower School is very proud to offer parents ‘My Montessori Child’, a secure record-keeping system for Montessori schools. Parents are able to log into our system securely to see their child’s progress and development in real time. The Principal also sends all parents a fortnightly school newsletter and an annual report on your child’s progress.
Ready to apply? Begin an online application for our Nursery to join Les Papillons.