The Castlecrag Montessori School follows the educational philosophy of Dr Maria Montessori. Montessori based her approach on the belief that real learning occurs through the spontaneous activity of children in a co-operative, non-competitive environment, which promotes a joy of learning and the development of self-disciplined, self-motivated independent learners. The Montessori approach to education is child centred and is based on mutual regard and cooperation; the child is treated with the same respect that adults would show to another adult. Children are appreciated as individuals and nurtured in an atmosphere of acceptance and trust.
The Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment that facilitates self-learning; where activities performed at an early age are an indirect preparation for a later skill.
The Director does not teach in the traditional sense, but observes and guides children’s progress, helping them to help themselves. Montessori education fosters independence and responsibility.
Montessori classes operate in three-year ‘cycles’; the child attends the same Montessori classroom for a full three years. Children experience a positive sense of community, develop responsibility for themselves and respect for others.
The Montessori program is carefully planned and sequenced over the three-year period to give children a solid foundation for future learning. Attendance for the full three years supports the child in becoming a confident and socially aware individual. Extended Day is the final, and most rewarding, year of the Montessori program and is equivalent to Kindergarten. It offers the child the opportunity to build on and consolidate skills, to realise the potential of the Montessori materials and to extend and enrich his/her understanding of the world. Older more experienced children take on the role of peer mentors, reinforcing their own skills, and experiencing the responsibilities of leadership through helping others. Extended Day offers an opportunity for focused, small-group attention and provides the perfect bridge to elementary education. Commitment to the three-year cycle is therefore essential.