Montessori offers alternative

Angela Baldock Millie Buck 2 and a half years at Araluen Montessori preschool

Montessori offers alternative

February 2016 | David Claridge

IN DECEMBER last year, Prince William and Kate announced that their son George would be attending a Montessori preschool. While we don’t expect to see Prince George there, a home-based Montessori preschool has opened in Blackstone Heights.

The Montessori approach to teaching was developed one hundred years ago by Dr Maria Montessori. Her philosophy was based on her own anecdotal observations of children during her experiences as a physician and teacher. Modern research has confirmed her beliefs.

The Montessori Australia website states that ‘The approach fosters children’s love of learning and encourages independence by providing an environment of activities and materials which children use at their own pace.

This helps to build self-confidence, inner discipline, a sense of self-worth and instils positive social behaviour.

The approach forms the basis for lifelong learning.’

Teacher of the new school, Angela Baldock wants to bring this approach to the community.

Mrs Baldock, an educator of eight years within the preschool level, became interested in the Montessori philosophy while working as a kindergarten teacher overseas.

“There were Montessori schools operating in many countries and I was intrigued by how an educational approach could cross cultural and language differences,” Angela explained.

“I began studying a Montessori teaching certificate with United Montessori Association in Seattle last year via distance and have completed observation periods in Melbourne as part of that study.

“The more I learnt and saw, the more my teaching practice was influenced to the point where I resigned from my position of Early learning teacher to focus on a pure Montessori Preschool in my own home.” she said. Angela is adding to the growing use of the Montessori philosophy around the world.

“The North American Montessori Association estimate that there are over 20,000 Montessori schools world-wide.

“I have spoken with two Montessori teachers in Hobart. One is operating a family day care for all ages, another has recently opened a preschool for the three to six age group also.

“The children see a space in which they are free to choose how they spend their time, there are fun things to do, quiet places to relax, spaces to create art and music and there is a teacher who is available to them at all times. A caring, encouraging grown up, who treats them as the equals that they are. Teaching children how to ‘do it themselves’ empowering them to absorb the knowledge of their world.”

The preschool is welcoming students Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The preschool day is from 9:15am to 2:30pm in Blackstone Heights.

People interested can contact Angela on 0457 986 401, or by the preschool’s Facebook page ‘Araluen Montessori Home Preschool’.

 Mike Moores