Within a Montessori facility, the children’s groups or modules are structured according to the child development phases described by Maria Montessori: the period that interests us is “early childhood”, which ranges from birth to the age of 6. Within this period, we distinguish between infants and young children 0 to 3 years of age, and children 3 to 6 years of age:
Infants enter the crèche from the age of 2 months, and through until they learn how to walk, around the age of 24 months, they are hosted at the Nido. This ambiance consists of three spaces: the sleep space, the meals space, and the activities space: spoken language activities, visual activities, and grasping activities as well as co-ordination, balance and locomotion activities.
Then, with this applying up to the age of 3, the children are integrated into the Children’s Community. This ambiance also consists of several spaces: the care and cloakroom space, a space for development support (locomotion, balancing, hand/eye co-ordination, etc.), a spoken language space, an artistic space, and spaces for practical living and sensory experiences.
Après 3 ans, les enfants peuvent rester (jusqu’à 4 ans révolus, âge de la scolarisation obligatoire) à la Maison des Enfants. Cette ambiance propose en plus du groupe précédent, un espace pour les mathématiques et un espace pour l’enseignement cosmique. Ces apprentissages se poursuivent dans les écoles Montessori jusqu’à 6 ans pour ensuite continuer dans l’enseignement primaire.
After 3 years (and up until the end of their 4th year, which is the age for compulsory schooling), the children may remain at the Children’s House. In addition to the previous group, this ambiance offers a space for mathematics and a space for cosmic education. These forms of learning are continued in Montessori up to the age of 6 so they can then be continued in primary teaching. Although these groups differ in terms of their resources and forms of learning, they do however fulfil all of the child’s needs: autonomy, movement and the freedom to act. They are true places for socialisation, within which we fulfil one of the key points of our educational approach: “Grace and courtesy”. For Maria Montessori, respect for the human being is essential… offering greetings, making way for people, thanking them, and apologising to them. This aspect of our teaching gets the child to participate in the rules of life in society. This socialisation process will lay the social and individual bases for the child, who will gain self-confidence and self-esteem through the unconscious work involved in autonomy
The main goals of this group are to awaken the senses and to acquire the skill of standing upright. All of the various living spaces offer different references for the child, as well as the possibility of creating a social link in order to enhance the child’s socialisation.
Developing their movements, their fine motor skills, and their spoken language, as well as respecting their environment and others are some of the forms of learning tackled in the Children’s Community in order to make progress towards autonomy.
The Children’s House enables in-depth development of what the child has learned, arousing the child’s curiosity, and broadening the child’s skills. Indeed it opens the children up to new forms of learning and new resources in order to prepare them for entry into nursery school.