Early Childhood Development

St James & Montessori

The St James Ethos dovetails perfectly with the Montessori pedagogy.

Both believe that the child already has the knowledge of the universe within and that their schooling/formal learning environment is just a "tool" to give the child simple information about the world and his relation thereto. In so doing He will Realise his place and purpose in the Creation.

Profound respect is given for the child's sincere/innate ability to learn and a holistic approach to the child's development is taken.

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Characteristics of the Montessori Classroom

Encourages concentration

Three Hour Work Cycle

The work cycle gives the child opportunities to delve into the work he or she is drawn to and become fully involved in the work, oftentimes to the point of being able to ignore all activities going on around them with deep concentration.

Leaders blossom

Vertical Age Groups

Children in the younger years often seek advice from older peers on subjects they need revision on. This sense of collaboration is almost automated in a Montessori classroom and leaders blossom naturally.

Fosters exploration

Prepared Environment

The environment, in addition to the student and the classroom guide, is the “third teacher.” Children are natural explorers, and in the right kind of environment, that tendency can seed a lifelong curiosity and a real benevolence toward a world that they know is full of excitement and beauty.

Builds self-esteem

Independence in Daily Living

By giving a child the ability to make their own choices, providing gentle guidance and allowing them to learn through play at their own pace, independence is cultivated, and this in turn builds self-esteem.

These 6 fundamental Montessori Principles guide and support the Mission Statement of St James Preparatory Schools Early Learning Phase/Preschool/ECD:

  • Freedom: to explore, move around, socialize and freedom of choice encourages responsible independence in little children.
  • Structure and Order: the truth about structure and order supports freedom in the environment. It helps children feel safe and secure whilst at school in order to prioritise learning.
  • Beauty: Our classroom is beautiful and simple. Attention is given to each detail ensuring it is inviting the child to engage with and care for his environment. 
  • Nature and Reality: A natural aesthetic connects the child to the creation. Everything in our environment is child-sized - the shelves, furniture, utensils and garden equipment- a world just for them.
  • Social Environment: The vertical age grouping of 3-6 years allows your child the opportunity to develop a strong sense of empathy, compassion and communication skills. Older children are given a chance to mentor whilst a 3 year old has "goal" in sight. Individual attention is also given to each child from the adults in the environment.
  • Academic: with the above 5 principles in place, the intellectual development of the child naturally follows. 

Our Ethos, Environment and Directress will undoubtedly support your Child's natural inclination to master his world!

A holistic approach ensures that each area of development is attended to. 

The Montessori Environment and materials are designed to engage children in all areas of human experience and educational learning, including language and literacy, mathematics, visual and performing arts, music, science, biology, geography and history. We follow the Cosmic Education Curriculum for ages 3-6, thus the curriculum runs over a three year period beginning from the big bang all the way to now thus covering history, science, botany, zoology, geography. Each theme is extended into the 5 Key learning areas which are:

  • Practical Life - where the child learns to perform activities of daily life to develop independence and fine motor skills.
  • Sensorial - here the child develops and refines his senses and perceptual skills as well as expands his vocabulary.
  • Mathematics - the sensorial foundation is built upon and number sense and mathematics concepts are mastered using concrete montessori materials allowing for the child to eventually be able to abstract math concepts.
  • Language - here the child moves seamlessly through the language curriculum, everything being phonetic and concrete. They learn to spell before reading and many children are able to read from the very early age of 5.
  • Culture - Where we learn about the creation whilst incorporating the above 4 learning areas into our activities building curiosity and respect for our world whilst also becoming a contributing member of society.

All activities in the environment have a purpose and are prepared bearing the child's needs in mind. Our classroom is neat and orderly throughout the day as the children care for and respect their environment.