The Caterpillars group welcomes children from the age of 12 months to about 2 years to come together in a community atmosphere.
Our aim for this stage is to
- aid the children’s development in gaining confidence and independence
- build on their developing self-esteem and social skills
- learn appropriate skills to move onto the next phase of their development with confidence and enthusiasm
- encourage and stimulate a love for learning
This room has been planned and designed for the little ones to move around safely in a clean and caring environment. We have designed the room in a way that the little ones would be able to sleep in comfort if they choose to. There is a strict “no outdoor” shoe policy in this room. The Caterpillars Room has its own multi-sensory section to encourage children to use their senses to explore the environment. Each child is assigned a Key Person and we try to follow any routines you have established at home. We will also complete a diary for your child detailing your child’s activities and progress.
We do this by providing an enabling environment that gives the children the freedom to move and explore, according to their inner needs, learning about their world from their surroundings and developing their communication, integration, co-ordination and motor skills.
The “Practical Life” skills in the Montessori environment are a delight at this stage. The child learns self-control and develops a healthy self-image by participating in real activities, such as washing-up plates and washing clothes; hanging on a clothes line; cutting fruit and vegetables used for their own snack or cooking; sorting grains; folding cloths; sweeping and dusting. In the Fountain toddler environment, the child will discover that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, which answers to the need of every young child – for order, of both time and place.
This is also a time that visual discrimination and hand and eye coordination needs to be stimulated. The children will find materials they love to work with ranging from simple shapes and colours, things to put into containers; threading large beads; knobbed puzzles and other materials that allow them to refine their pincer grip and which, indirectly prepares them for writing and other fine muscle activities later on.
Quality and beauty is very important in the Montessori environment because children in the early years literally absorb the life around them in its detail. Fountain’s environment is especially suited to small children with child-sized furniture; materials; pictures and shelves.
Parental involvement is essential to each child’s successful transition, continued happiness, and well-being at Fountain. Beginning with a sensitive orientation, together, the parents and the children gain trust and security in the environment.
The relationship between the child, the directress, and the prepared environment is interrelated and interdependent. The adult’s relationship with the child is one of assurance, which is established and sustained through individual attention and sensitive interactions. With guidance, the child is allowed to follow his own interests and readiness in choosing activities.
The Butterflies’ room for children aged 2 to 4 years is our pre-school program at Fountain Montessori Colindale. The primed environment is carefully designed to facilitate the development of the child’s independence and responsibility for care of one’s self, the environment and each other.
The child’s natural curiosity and love for learning between the ages of two and six years experiences a dynamic curriculum, in a Montessori environment that fosters independence, concentration, coordination, order and creativity.
Butterflies Program Objective
From this early experience, the young child is prepared for the challenges of elementary school. Fountain Pre-school education helps to develop a child who is:
- Intellectually curious
- Coordinated in movement
- Refined in social graces
- Cultured in arts and music
- Academically skilled
The Butterflies classroom is a thriving social and learning community. In a multi-age, interactive setting the children learn shared responsibility, compassion, and respect for each other. Older children reinforce lessons they have learned by sharing their knowledge with younger children, while the younger children observe the work of the older children and are motivated toward these future experiences. Together, the children grow to be independent learners and thinkers and to become socially capable.
Both programs offer a lunch time together where the children help to lay out the table using china plates and cloth napkins and take turns to pass the food and serve each other at the table encouraging them to practice and learn their grace and courtesy skills. There are a mixed age range children and staff at each table, so lunch is an opportunity to also socialise with a wider group of friends.
An interdisciplinary curriculum meets the needs of each child at his/her stage of development. As a guide to learning, the directress acknowledges the child’s initiative, pace, and readiness. Individual and small group lessons are presented with great enthusiasm which entices the child to learn. Teaching concepts when the individual is ready promotes continual success and motivation.