Most children start in our primary school reception group, Les Hiboux, where they complete their Early Years Foundation Stage. Our teachers in Les Hiboux are Miss Bedford (Head of Group), Mrs Carey (Montessori Teacher), Mr McCarthy (Montessori Teacher) and Miss Wooldridge (Montessori Teacher), who are all supported by Miss Costa (Montessori Teaching Assistant).
Les Hiboux usually accommodates approximately 25 children and is a large, light space with a language room off the main classroom. There are five members of staff. The class uses the science and nature garden, where Ginger the guinea pig lives, and there is a pond with fish. The space also acts as an outdoor classroom where children can explore their physical development through digging and other activities. Please see Facilities page for more information.
The classroom is fully equipped to teach using the Montessori method, working sequentially through materials. Children are also introduced to a broad range of knowledge through project work.
The Foundation Stage follows the six areas of learning from the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (the National Curriculum for Early Years pupils), as well as the Montessori method. Three mornings of the week there is a three-hour Montessori work cycle, followed by lunch and playtime in Grimaldi Park. On the other two days the work cycle is in smaller intervals. The children also take part in ‘Show and Tell’ presentations, where they put together a little talk for their friends on a topic of their choice.
In the afternoon there is a range of traditional activities and specialist-taught lessons, including French, cookery, science, ICT and music. Music covers singing, percussion and music appreciation. As part of the London Symphony Orchestra education programme, the children are taken to concerts at the Barbican. Please see the Extra Curricular page for further details.
The Gower School is also very proud to offer parents the ‘My Montessori Child’ facility. This is a bespoke secure record-keeping system for Montessori schools. We use this throughout our nursery and primary classes, and parents are able to securely log into our system to see their child’s progress in real time
The children in Foundation Stage are offered physical education through different activities throughout the school week. All children who are five years old take part in weekly swimming lessons, commencing the term after their fifth birthday. During these lessons, the children are split into four different swimming groups, enabling differentiation throughout. This allows the children to feel either comfortable or challenged, depending on their individual needs. Children also participate in two PE lessons each week. These last 30-45 minutes and teach the foundations of movement, balance and co-ordination through gymnastics. These skills are later developed into full team sports, such as football and handball. Activities change regularly, so the children get the opportunity to experience a broad range of different physical activities.
When your child leaves Foundation Stage they will be reading and writing, have an understanding of mathematical concepts and be working independently.
Each child also has an ‘Individual Learning Plan’, which details their interests and provides extension work in areas that require further development, building on their current knowledge and understanding. These plans are revised every half term to ensure that children are given opportunities to progress.