The Montessori vision
The philosophy of Blue Gum is based on the Montessori approach to education, which embraces the development of the whole child, fosters a love of learning in children, helps them to develop self-confidence, inner discipline and a sense of self-worth, and guides them towards positive and desirable social behaviour.
While encouraging independence, self-reliance and a questioning mind, respect for others and the environment is also developed.
This is achieved in the orderly prepared environment unique to the Montessori classroom under the guidance of specially trained teachers.
The younger children are interested in practical activities, such as the tasks they see accomplished at home, and which they wish to imitate, eg: pouring, polishing, washing and squeezing.
These Practical Life activities are satisfying in themselves for the children and also develop concentration, orderly work patterns, hand-eye co-ordination, gross and fine motor skills - all essential skills for later writing and reading.
In addition, children learn to care for themselves and their surroundings, and how to interact in a respectful, inclusive and courteous way.
The Sensorial materials break down abstract concepts into concrete activities.
Concepts such as dimension, colour, form, texture, volume, weight and shape are easily understood using materials that clearly isolate each concept.
Children spontaneously choose to work with these materials because they fulfil their desire to explore their world through all their senses.
The indirect preparation for writing is further enhanced through manipulation of these materials.
The Language area builds on the ability of the child to distinguish the sounds that make up his language, and the fine motor skills already developed.
The Sandpaper Letters allow children to "feel" the letters, and the Moveable Alphabet allows children to make their own words and stories even though the may not yet be able to write clearly.
The satisfaction achieved in this way then inspires the child to use a pencil to create more permanent stories, and the child begins to write without having been "taught".
Other materials follow which present the intricacies of non-phonetic spelling and grammar.
The children know what they have written and begin to read back their own stories. They come to reading by themselves, having already absorbed the necessary keys.
The Mathematics area also introduces abstract ideas and relationships through the use and manipulation of concrete materials.
For example, through the materials a child can physically see and feel that "1" is smaller than "1000".
The concept of "10" is emphasised in many materials, as our whole number system is based on this.
The child is introduced to the functions and operations of numbers, learning to add, subtract, multiply and divide, all through the use of the unique Montessori materials.
The Cultural area includes natural science, geography, history, art and music.
The children use puzzle maps and flags to learn about their own and other countries. Music is explored both by participation and listening.
A variety of art materials is available at all times - children may choose activities such as drawing, painting, pasting or playdough.
Nature is explored both in the classroom and in the school garden.
Each term external visitors are invited to share areas of special interest with the children.