We thank you for your interest in The Glen Junior Primary. The Junior primary offers education for year 1 (7 year olds), year 2 (8 year olds) and year 3 (9 year olds), equivalent to Grades 1 to 3.
The Primary School is an extension of the pre-school and the quality and method of education you have come to know and love will continue as your children grow in this Foundation Phase. This Foundation Phase will be Montessori based and is a pre-requisite for children joining our school.
The Maria Montessori Method
The Montessori approach emphasises equal importance of the child, the teacher and the prepared environment. The child is respected as an individual, with unique developmental and learning needs. The directress (teacher) is not just an ‘expert who imparts knowledge’ but rather the connecting link between the child and the material that is best suited to meeting his/her needs at a given time.
The approach is based on the guiding principle of freedom within limits and structure. The child is free to choose, to move, to explore and to interact socially but very importantly each child is also free from interference. Disruption and disturbance by others is therefore limited. Each child learns the routine and structure of the classroom and daily activities.
Montessori education is based on the provision of a specially prepared environment that consists of materials constructed to meet a child’s developmental needs and learning at various periods of sensitivity. The prepared environment is aesthetically pleasing and reflects peace and tranquility. The setup is logical, simple and not over stimulating.
The materials and surroundings of a Montessori environment are, as far as is possible, natural and real.
The Montessori environment is social. There is freedom to interact and children develop compassion, empathy, teamwork and leadership. Spontaneous grouping takes place whilst disturbance to others is minimised. The children benefit from the modelling that stems from vertical grouping (multi-age setting). In a mixed age class children can always find peers who are working at their current level. To accommodate the needs of individual children, the prepared environment includes materials that cover the entire span of interests and abilities, up to and beyond the oldest and most accelerated child in the class. This creates a highly enriching environment. The younger children are stimulated by the interesting work of the older children and observation thereof only adds to their growth. The continuity within the classroom leads to a sense of community.
Importantly, the environment is geared towards the overall development of the child, including intellectual growth. Intellectual development occurs, in a large part, through exploration of the specific learning materials. The Montessori philosophy enables children to trust their own abilities and solve problems independently. Each apparatus has a specific learning purpose and self-correcting nature so that the child learns through experience with the support of his / her directresses.
The directresses have a key role in ensuring the environment is well prepared and that all children are being supported to grow in accordance with their developmental needs to reach their potential. The directress gets to know the children extremely well, therefore enabling her to motivate the individual to higher levels of competence.
Foremost in Montessori education is to enhance a sound work ethic and a love for learning!
The 6-9 year prepared Montessori environment at The Glen Junior Primary
The class and educators
Brenda Smith is the class Directress. She has many years experience as a Primary School teacher and has completed a further course in 6-9 Montessori education.
Brenda Ncube, who has been a part of the Glen staff for many years, will assist in the classroom.
The learning environment will be set up to include the 6-9 year apparatus and the curriculum will prepare the children over the three year period to enter Grade 4 or a 9-12 environment at a Montessori school.
The routine / class schedule
The school day starts at 7h45 with a group meeting time and daily planning session. A three hour work cycle will take place until 11h00. At this time the children will pack away and they will then eat together and have a break. A snack table will be set out and available to the children during the morning should they wish to eat something from their snack box.
Group lessons such as, but not limited to, Afrikaans, Zulu, PE, Art and Music will take place after break time between 12h00 and 13h30.
Optional aftercare will be available until 16h30.
Physical education and extramurals
PE will be given by Brenda who has significant experience in doing so at various schools. From time to time a guest will be invited to the school to give a lesson on his / her specialisation. We have two half hour lessons included in our schedule each week.
Music, Drama and the Arts
Although there are materials within the prepared environment that cover Music, Drama and the Arts these are areas that require instruction and practical application. Drama will be incorporated in the curriculum on an ad hoc basis.
In our digital age it is essential that children learn how to use computers and related technology efficiently. Later on much learning takes place on computers and tablets. We outsource computer literacy to a reputable educator that provides each child with a computer or tablet in a weekly lesson. This is paid for by the parents
The movement between the Pre-school and Primary school
In the first plane of development, between birth and six years, a child is like a sponge absorbing at a rate and in a way that is not equaled again. There are sensitive periods for order, language, refinement of the senses and movement. It is characterised by concrete thinking. The child grows physically but the fundamental character of the person is also formed at this time. The child’s independence grows and thus the motivation to achieve a sense of “I can do it myself!” The child is free to work independently within a structured environment doing real activities with an intelligent purpose. The children advance to year 1 from pre-school with a good grounding across the five areas of the pre-school environment, namely Practical Life, Sensorial, Culture, Language and Mathematics. The skills acquired in these areas are integrated in the child during this time and this knowledge and skill forms the basis upon which their further education is built.
In the second plane of development, between six and twelve years, there is an intense thirst for knowledge. The child wants to know about his /her place within his / her environment and the world and can appreciate the interconnectedness of all things and people. The child is interested in knowing about the universe – what exists outside the prepared environment. This phase is characterized by reasoning with imagination and logic. The child’s intellectual independence grows and the child achieves a sense of “I can think it, myself!” The environment is prepared to include materials that embrace this development. The Primary school consists of three key academic areas, namely Language, Mathematics and Culture.
The hands on tools apparatus for learning through discovery rather than rote or explanatory learning conducted by a teacher. The material is designed in such a way that the child can explore with relative independence and learn through self-discovery so that learning is ‘real’. It involves and is based in true understanding. Each individual apparatus plays an intentional role in holistic understanding and mathematical development. Concrete understanding of complex mathematical processes and truths forms the foundation for later abstraction. Natural, child-led, progression through the materials will result in the child arriving at his own abstraction.
In the Foundation Phase of primary school children learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide. This is done, for example, using the golden beads of the decimal system. The children then complete static and dynamic algorithms with ‘big’ numbers while using concrete apparatus. Various apparatus is used either sequentially or simultaneously in each of these arithmetic operations to solidify understanding. This work is then abstracted only once a concrete understanding is firmly in place.
During pre-school the child learns the phonetic alphabet and the key phonograms using the sandpaper letters and accompanying materials, and begins to build words. He/ she has incidental exposure to some variants in spelling, as well as to grammar and punctuation. However, through using the Montessori materials spelling and grammar are now formally included in the 6-9 classroom setup and teaching.
The child knows the base phonograms, for example, sh, ch, ee, ue, and so forth. For variation of spelling a word with the base phonogram is placed on the front of a folder or box, for example, for –or- fork will be on front of the folder or box and a picture of a fork. Inside are small booklets, lists or cards with single words of ‘sound alternatives’. Each booklet or list contains an alternative – au, aw, ou, ore – on the front with examples of words containing that particular spelling of the sound. One full folder is one lesson. The child works with these folders and then refers to the ‘sound families’ chart as he / she then continuously increases his repertoire.
Children are introduced to the grammar symbols, their definitions and usage. They practice identifying and using these.
Reading and writing become main focal points in the primary foundation phase. Children need good reading skills in order to learn in all areas. It is essential that the children are given as much encouragement and practice in this area as possible. Opportunities in many shapes and forms using Montessori materials and general reading materials will support this effort.
Culture includes content across the subjects of Science, Botany, Zoology, History, Geography, Anthropology, Music, and the Arts. The environment is geared to cover these topics in a way that develops an understanding from the broad to the specific such as: Geography-related topics will include, but is not limited to, learning about the Planets, the Earth, including structures, weather, and so forth, the Continents, Africa, South Africa, The Provinces, The Cities, ‘my city’, ‘my suburb’, ‘my home’, ‘my family’. Thus the child acquires a ‘cosmic’ understanding from the broad to the specific.
Emotional and social development and Grace and Courtesy
Montessori philosophy is based on the premise that children have an intrinsic motivation, love for learning and naturally guide their own development if provided with the opportunity and resources to do so. This continues to be supported in the 6-9 environment. There are developmentally appropriate expectations placed on the children to challenge themselves in accordance with their individual potential and developmental phase. Children work in all areas within the structure without interference from others. As this happens the children increasingly take responsibility for their daily learning. In this environment the children plan their day with the directress after the morning ring. In their planning book they record their experience in an age appropriate way – through a picture or writing – after completion of an activity. They then continue with their plan. Children need to work in all three areas of the classroom on a regular basis. In this way their confidence and independence grows. They feel inwardly accountable to do their best and feel proud of their efforts. They learn to make choices every day. Because the children are grouped vertically they ‘compare’ themselves with children at different levels, thus basing their achievements more on their own improvement than against others. The directress works with the children at each opportunity to develop their social and emotional coping skills, increase their ability to express their needs and feelings, apologise sincerely and place themselves in the shoes of others.
The structure and method enables spontaneous group work. A sense of community, respect for the individuals and team work are highly valued in the class setting. Children are constantly exposed to working together to learn together or achieve a common goal. In physical education they are also introduced to goal directed teamwork. ‘Grace and Courtesy’ is considered a Montessori ‘subject’ and emphasis is placed on the social interactions and acceptable behavior in these contexts. Grace and Courtesy extends to outside the school in the junior primary phase. Because learning is now extended to include outings on a more or less termly basis, the children have increased opportunity to view modelled behavior in a variety of settings. They learn to be out of the school grounds within a group of their peers and practice learnt and discussed social skills. Because the children now learn more deeply about other cultures and languages they naturally become increasingly knowledgeable and respectful of differences between individuals and groups of people. This is a natural time of looking outward at the world and those around them.
Importantly, the children have fun with each other, the directresses and the apparatus as they learn and play.
Physical Education (PE) at the Junior Primary level sets the general foundation for further specialization. PE aims to increase body control, awareness and refinement of movement in the general sense. It aims to cover specific skills such as hand-eye coordination, using a bat / stick / racket and ball, kicking throwing, catching. In this way different sports such as cricket, hockey, netball, soccer, tennis and so forth will be introduced. It will introduce concepts such as team work and competition, sportsmanship, aims of the games and so forth. Athletics and Basketball will be introduced to the children.
The school day begins at 7h45 with a group meeting time and daily planning session.
A three hour work cycle will take place until 11h00. At this time the children will pack away and they will then eat together and have a break.
A snack table will be set out and available to the children during the morning should they wish to eat something from their snack box.
The children in the pre-school and primary school have different break times with a slight overlap.
Group lessons such as, but not limited to, Afrikaans, Zulu, PE, Art and Music will take place after break time between 12h00 and 13h30.
Optional aftercare will be available until 16h30.
Aftercare Until 16h30
This service is provided daily, excluding mid-term and termly break up days.
An aftercare roster is available to fill in at each classroom. Daily or weekly bookings are made ahead of time.
Pupils go to aftercare when their day ends, all the children who have not been picked up are taken to the Orange Environment. A register is then taken and parents are billed accordingly at the end of the month. Once the register has been taken the set daily fee applies. There is an exit time at 14h00 and another one at 16h30. Fees vary according to these exit times.
Children making use of this facility bring an additional lunch box as they all have lunch together. The children are supervised on the playground and take part in set activities on some days. The facility is not an extension of our educational hours. The aim is to provide quality supervision and fun for the children. The younger children have an opportunity to nap.
Children are collected by parents or significant others from the Orange environment no later than 16h30.
Entry into “big school” is an adjustment for any child but with the correct preparation, life skills and support, a child will cope with the changes and challenges they are faced with.
The Montessori approach is geared towards the enhancement of all facets of the child’s being – physical, emotional, intellectual, social and moral. From reading the website’s information you will have an idea of how this is achieved and should allow yourself the opportunity to see this in practice if you have not done so as yet.
On a daily basis the child’s development is observed and the directresses support the child’s learning needs so that his / her potential and overall age related development is reached. Because the children are with us for a number of years, where a child may take time to grasp a concept / achieve a learning goal, individual time and attention may be given to this. Where a child may excel in an area the child is given the opportunity and individual attention to do so. One area is not focussed on at the expense of another. Thus by the time the child is ready for Grade 0 / 1 their overall development is established for the age-related expectations of Primary School.
One of the key differences between a Montessori school and a traditional school is the degree to which the teacher formally leads and instructs in a group setting.
Practically, due to different approaches and educational methods, our school has implemented additional opportunities that prepare the children for the more concrete changes in approach to teaching and societal functioning as a whole going forward e.g. group instruction at school level, university and in the work place.
As you will have read in the ‘daily and weekly routine’ information, “horse groups” (Monday activities) rotate over the course of a number of weeks and the children are thus exposed to different teachers, environments and activities. This provides them with fun learning activities and essentially exposes them to ‘change’ and variety which prepares them for Primary School where they will often move from class to class and other areas of the school.
In our bi-weekly art and craft, and gross motor lessons children learn to follow and carry out group instructions. These group lessons prepare the children for the traditional school setting.
Importantly we appreciate any feedback from our local Primary schools, to which we are a feeder school, and consider it in light of our approach and our wish to best prepare our children, not only for Primary school, but for their future life in general.
At a young age children are naturally inclined towards discovering reality. All things are real to a child and they have difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy. A child spontaneously mimics reality. The Montessori approach discourages exposure to adult created fantasy. Depending of course on the content of adult created fantasy, it can expose a child to scary, mythical creatures and violence as a way of solving daily social challenges. As adults we have the ability to clearly tell what is real and what is fantasy but a young child is not able to do so. These creatures and coping skills become a reality in their world.
Imagination can be defined as the process of forming mental images of objects in the absence of concrete stimuli. For example, I can imagine a tea party with my friends even if they are not present. I can thus transform my world creatively.
Imagination is based on reality, whereas fantasy is unrestrained by reality.
Montessori believed that opportunities for real experience which form the basis of imagination should not be sacrificed for fantasy in the child’s early years. Imagination, however, should be embraced!
From the age of five onwards, depending on the individual child, a child will steadily develop their ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy.
The Montessori teaching in the pre-school years thus excludes fantasy based content.
The Montessori Method promotes freedom within structure. The children learn the routine of the school day and school week and benefit from the security and familiarity that this offers. It affords them freedom of choice and movement within a structured environment. You will have discovered, through reading the website’s information on our school, that our daily and weekly routine is consistent and there are set expectations regarding how the children relate to the apparatus, the directresses, each other and their environment.
The rules of “walk”, “whisper” and “work” are emphasized when necessary in our environments. These are based around the Montessori principle of – ‘freedom from disturbance / interference from others’. We use these positives rather than “don’t run”, “stop shouting” etc and thus request that the child demonstrate the positive behaviour rather than “stop” the negative behaviour.
Modelling within our environments has a hugely positive effect on good behaviour in our classrooms. The children remain with us over a three year period therefore as ‘new’ children enter our classes they observe what already exists – how the children relate to the apparatus, the directresses, each other and their environment. Older children naturally assist by modelling good behaviours and guide the younger ones.
Registration of The Glen Junior Primary and accompanying formalitles
The Junior Primary will be registered with The Department of Social Development, The Department of Education and The Department of Health. SA Child Care is currently assisting the school with the registration process. The school can be fully operational while the registration is being finalised.
The Directresses at The Glen are, and will continue to be, qualified and registered with The SA Council for Educators (SACE ) and accountable to abide by its’ Code of Professional Ethics. The teachers are also members of The Montessori Association of South Africa (SAMA) and have the opportunity to attend SAMA workshops as part of their continued professional development (CPD).
The school is immediately accountable to The Department of Education to produce a service of quality and cover the minimum standards and content outlined in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). Record is kept of each child’s achievements in accordance with these and an audit may take place at any time.