At Little Earth early learning centres, we follow the philosophies of Maria Montessori, empowering children to become confident, caring and independent.
We provide high quality education in a stimulating, welcoming environment that is safe and secure, delivering a programme that takes a holistic approach to each child’s development – socially, intellectually, physically and emotionally.
The Montessori classroom is designed to invite children to follow their natural interests and is divided into the following main areas:
Children are encouraged to learn practical skills such as caring for the classroom, managing zips and buttons, pouring drinks and setting the table to give them greater independence in the classroom.
Children build up an impression of their world through their senses - sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Activities help children to sort, match and compare objects by length, texture, height, size, weight, density, colour, loudness, pitch and geometric form. These early sensorial impressions boost children’s powers of observation and discrimination, broaden their vocabulary and contribute to their understanding of formal educational concepts.
Montessori language materials are based on a carefully structured phonic approach to writing and reading. Conversations and vocabulary development are encouraged through group activities and individually. Young Montessori is a literacy rich environment where all areas of language development are fostered.
Essentially mathematics is about understanding relationships in the environment and being able to express them in mathematical terms. Through the manipulation of specially devised materials children are able to visualise the whole structure of our number system. Materials are ordered and progress from simple to complex, concrete to abstract.
Montessori continually emphasises the importance of presenting a whole view of the world to build children’s understanding of other countries, cultures and people, and the natural world. We value and respect cultural identity and recognise and celebrate New Zealand’s dual heritage. Our commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi guides our tikanga and te reo Māori practices for an authentic commitment to Te Ao Māori. In addition, music, dance and drama are incorporated into the day and we invite guests to the preschool to share their talents and cultures.
Movement primes the brain for learning, fostering the neural pathways that form the foundations for cognitive, physical, emotional and spiritual learning. Montessori children develop physical and social skills, coordination and confidence through sand, water, climbing, carpentry and many other resources. Caring for the garden and pets helps to form a bridge between children’s knowledge of the immediate world and the wider world. We also like to include occasional educational excursions in our curriculum.
At Little Earth children learn to be aware of their natural surroundings and to take care of those surroundings by participating in them. Our centre has a strong ecological focus and includes such features as recyclable and renewable materials, rainwater harvesting, native grasses and perennials, and an extensive deck area that breaks down the barriers between outside and in. Our curriculum is based on environmental awareness and nurtures natural love and respect for the Earth. It focuses on teaching children ecology and the interconnectedness and interdependence of everything on the planet. Each day children go outside to explore and interact with nature. They develop tools for environmental responsibility, ecological understanding and recycling awareness through gardening, animal care and environmental care.