About The Glen Montessori School
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) would come to know and love will continue as your children grow in this Foundation Phase. This Foundation Phase (will be) is Montessori based and prior Montessori education is a pre-requisite for children joining (our) the Glen Junior Primary from another school.
The learning environment includes the 6-9 year apparatus and the curriculum will prepare the children over the three year period to enter Grade 4 at another primary school or a 9-12 environment at a Montessori school.
“Our aim is to provide the best possible prepared environment, according to the Montessori philosophy, in order to promote physical, social, emotional, moral and intellectual development. The children are free to learn, thereby enabling them to reach their potential.”
The Junior Primary
The Glen Montessori Pre-School is situated in the tranquil suburb of Glenferness, located between Beaulieu and Lonehill, near Kyalami.
The school opened its doors in 2001 and has grown to be a well-established provider of quality Montessori education to children between the ages of 18 months and 9 years.
These well equipped and carefully prepared environments enable the children to be continually exposed to activities and guidance which support the motto of the school: “Free to learn”.
There is an optional early drop off at 07h00.
The Green Environment’s school hours are 07h45 to 12h00 (18 months – 3 years).
The Orange Environment’s school hours are from 07h45 to 12h30 (3-6 years).
The Junior Primary’s hours are from 07h00 to 13h30 (6-9 years)
There is an optional aftercare service until 16h30.
The school calendar is based on the three term independent school calendar. Slight variations may exist.
The school day
Our official school starting time is 7h45 but children may arrive at school from 07h00.
In the Orange environment (3-6 years )and Junior Primary (6-9 years) the children place their belongings in their lockers and enter the classroom independently. They then begin their work cycle.
In the Green environment (18 month -3 years) the children enter the classroom with their parents. They unpack their snack and water bottles and place their bags in their lockers. Initially they do so with their parents and a teacher but as the year progresses they learn to do so independently. They then begin their work cycle.
The children generally select work that ‘settles’ them into their school day. This is unique to each child.
One of the key components of the Montessori approach is the unlimited, undisturbed work cycle. This is the time when children utilize materials to achieve their learning potential.
Throughout the work cycle children select and carry out activities that have been presented to them and then return materials to their correct place. They do so independently. However, the directresses actively engage with the children throughout their work cycle. The directresses ensure that the classroom is free of disturbance and that constructive learning takes place daily for each child and in accordance with their learning needs and potential. They work across all areas of the classroom, namely practical life, sensorial, mathematical, language and cultural .
All individual apparatus is packed away and a group lesson takes place ‘on the ring’ at approximately 10h15 for the Orange environment (3-6 years) and slightly earlier for the Green environment (18 months -3 years). Facts are shared, presentations given and discussions are held on the theme of the week. The Junior Primary concludes their work cycle at approximately 11h00. Their group discussion are held ad hoc.
The children then eat snack together on tables outside. When they are finished their snack, the children play outside under the supervision of the directresses for approximately one hour.
After break time group activities take place. Please see the weekly routine for further information about each environments group activities.
Drama takes place on a Monday. Lessons are given by The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy as part of the curriculum. A group lesson of Life Orientation or cultural subjects also takes place.
Optional extramural: Swimming (half hour lessons throughout the morning, according to the termly timetable)
PE takes place in the form of games and associated skills takes place on a Tuesday. This is followed by isiZulu.
Optional extramural: Dance Mouse (half an hour, after snack time)
‘Show and tell’ takes place on a Wednesday. There are three to four Wednesdays per term that have set ‘show and tell’ topics known as ‘special show and tell’. On the other Wednesdays, children may bring any item of interest, with the exception of live animals and dangerous items. This is followed by Afrikaans.
Compulsory extramural: Computers with Brainy…
PE takes place in the form of Playball on a Thursday. This is followed by isiZulu.
Puzzles and games form are purposefully played on a Friday as part of the curriculum. Afrikaans takes place after break.
Learning within the work cycle takes place in English. Group Afrikaans lessons take place twice a week for thirty minutes each and are given by Kim Leech. Group isiZulu lessons take place twice a week for thirty minutes each and are given by Brenda Ncube. These are aimed at learning conversational language
Physical Education at the Junior Primary level sets the general foundation for further specialization. The two half hour session that take place each week, namely PE and Playball, aim to increase body control, awareness and refinement of movement in the general sense. They aim 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, basketball, athletics and so forth are introduced. They introduce concepts such as team work and competition, sportsmanship, aims of the games and so forth.
Music, Drama and the Arts
Although there are materials within the prepared environment that cover Music, Drama and the Arts these are areas that also require instruction and practical application. In light of this music, art, speech and drama lessons are incorporated in the curriculum.
Weekly drama lessons are given by the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy.
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 the only compulsory extramural that is funded by the parents.
There are optional extramurals available to the children at an additional cost. Currently, these are Dance Mouse and swimming with Aquativity.
Swimming with Swimsational at Aquativity
Half hour long Learn-to-Swim classes are offered year-round with a low three-to-one maximum student-to-teacher-ratio to ensure that the children receive the most patience, supervision and guidance. The attentive instructors are passionate about showing children just how fun it can be to learn a life skill that’s as important as swimming.
Aquativity pool is based nearby the school and a transport option is provided by Aquativity.
Website link: www.swimsational.co.za
The Dance Mouse syllabus is aimed at boys and girls. It introduces various dance forms with a focus on body conditioning and pilates techniques.
The primary aim is to encourage children to enjoy dance expression and to increase the passion and love of dance in South Africa. It allows the child technical training, spatial awareness, rhythm and exercise. It builds this through self-confidence and is fun.
Aftercare Until 16h30
This service is provided daily, excluding mid-term and termly break up days.
At 12h45, all the children who have not been picked up join aftercare at 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 fees apply. There are two charge options depending on collection time – between 12h45 and 14h00 and between 14h00 and 16h30. 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 while they make use of the aftercare materials. 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.