This educational approach, developed by the Italian physician and educator Dr. Maria Montessori, lays emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural, psychological, physical, and social development. It is a “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction. Uninterrupted blocks of work time, specialised educational materials, freedom of movement and choice of activity within the environment are some of the key features.
At CMR National Public School, there are five environments, with children belonging to mixed age groups ranging from 21⁄2 or 3 to 6 years. Each environment of 30 children includes two adults, giving each adult the responsibility of 15 children.
2-year programme for children aged 4 and 5 years
The name kindergarten was coined by Friedrich Froebel, whose approach greatly influenced early-years’ education around the world. A kindergarten literally means children’s garden and is a preschool educational approach that advocates freedom, play and joyful learning. It focuses on self-expression and involves self-activity, creativity and social participation. Education is imparted through playing, singing, and practical activities such as drawing, writing and social interaction.
Sand play: Sand is an excellent tool for exposing children to a wide range of sensory experiences. It is a great sensory material for kids as they explore their sense of touch and play and discover the wonderful texture of sand. There are hours of fun and learning to be explored with sand as it promotes and encourages imaginative play. Sand allows and encourages the making and creating of an imaginary world and stories. It helps in the development of fine motor skills and eye & hand coordination. It also promotes creativity and imagination through role play and developing stories. Playing with sand is a social activity requiring speaking and listening, also developing language skills and vocabulary.
Play area: Play is an essential part of childhood. It allows the child free rein to explore and experiment the world around. During the preschool years, children start to interact with each other. As they do this, they learn to negotiate, cooperate and share. Play area at the CMR campus facilitates various types of physical play that help develop different skills: For example, skipping takes balance, climbing monkey bars builds strength, and sports activities involve coordination.
Gardening: Children learn from growing things. At CMR, emphasis is laid on gardening to help children learn new skills, have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden, tending plants. Most children enjoy being outdoors and love digging in the soil, getting dirty, creating things and watching plants grow.
Assessment at Pre-Primary level is an on-going process. Worksheets are prepared for various concepts in English and Mathematics. These are given to students regularly to understand the learning acquired by each child. Children are assessed through these worksheets. Report cards are issued to parents twice a year. Open Days are also organised to display the learning of every child. Parents are invited to review the learning and discuss the progress with the respective teachers.