Montessori Methods at The Old Rectory Nursery

Our educational philosophy is based on an approach called the Montessori Method.

Briefly, this method of teaching focuses on helping children become independent learners, able to think and make decisions for themselves and concentrate deeply on work that interests them. (Montessorians call play, ‘work’, precisely because that is what it is to a child.)

The classroom is laid out so that children can take responsibility for themselves. All activities are complete and accessible on open shelves. Tools & furniture are child-sized. Rules are easily understood & followed and consistently but gently enforced. Teaching materials are carefully designed to teach skills and concepts by way of graded activities that logically build & follow on from each other.

Once children have been introduced to a new concept/skill they are free to work with the materials for as long as they want before moving on to the next step. Materials also make use of all the child’s senses, recognizing that all children learn through different channels. Most importantly, all learning is hands-on, so if you ask a child who taught them a particular skill, they are most likely to answer that they learnt it by themselves.

As teachers, we have extensive training in child development as well as our educational curriculum. Through observing the children in our care, we can determine what materials/activities we can present them with to further their interest and learning. Running alongside all this industrious activity is the over-riding aim that we hope to achieve by giving our children this type of education. We want them to grow up as peace-broking guardians of the planet, and it is precisely this idea that won Maria Montessori (medical doctor, child psychologist, educator & founder of the method) three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

We mix all age groups together because there are many benefits to having mixed-age groups. For example, older children gain confidence and empathy, while younger children gain greater aspiration to join in and have access to more challenging resources. It can be ‘incredibly advantageous’ for supporting sibling relationships too.

‘It is a most unnatural and cruel thing to put people of the same age together. It is one of the cruel things we do to children; it breaks the thread of social life, there is no nourishment for social life.’ Maria Montessori, 1949

“My daughter started here last month and has settled in so well, we are delighted! The Old Rectory Nursery captured our hearts from the moment we arrived, the setting is wonderful, safe and inviting. Miss Libby made us feel confident in her and the ethos of the nursery – the children have access to an amazing garden, where they can grow their own fruit & veg, my daughter can’t wait to eat her own strawberries! We feel very lucky that our daughter has the opportunity to be cared for it such a wonderful nursery and have no hesitation in recommending The Old Rectory Nursery ”