Montessori sessions are incorporated into the full day care.
Maria Montessori’s theory promoted the idea that children have a greater ability to learn when they are taught via a practical approach in a carefully formulated environment.
While we work very much with this philosophy we strongly believe that the social aspects of pre-school are paramount. Play helps children to plan and use their initiative, to use their language and social skills. If the environment is too structured this may cramp these experiences.
“High quality preschool programs are characterized by playful environments in which children have strong relationships with their caregivers and are engaged in active learning” Galinsky 2005
Aistear – the Irish National Framework for children 0-6 years promotes the benefit of play to the holistic development of the child. This has been seen to majorly benefit children in other European countries. Most pre-schools in Ireland have adopted this approach.
Well-being – children being confident, happy and healthy within themselves, in their family, community and society. With this in mind Giggles was one of the preschools to take part in the pilot Healthy Smart Start Programme in 2014/15. We continue to practice the various themes that came out of that programme. Identity & Belonging – children developing a positive sense of who they are and feeling that they are valued and respected as part of a family and community. Communication – children sharing their experiences, thoughts, ideas and feelings with others with growing confidence and competence, in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes. Exploring & Thinking – children making sense of the things, places and people in their world in connection with others
Giggles run a play-based approach in conjunction with Montessori. Children nowadays have far less opportunity to play for the sake of play. They are involved in many activities from a young age and are under pressure to perform both in and out of school. Much of their play is adult led. What we tend to forget is that children gain an immense amount of knowledge through play. They learn to develop their own judgement and reasoning skills through hands-on experience. They develop a healthy body and mind through physical activities such as playing football, climbing and chasing each other. Free play does not mean a ‘free for all’ but we believe children learn to figure out things for themselves and have a deeper understanding of what they are doing. They are more motivated by having created ideas and games for themselves. These play activities should not be turned into work by over instruction or by making them too competitive or serious. For children play is work! Learning should also be about the process not the end product.
In our setting we provide opportunities for the children to recycle, reinvent, and at present are all engrossed in renewable energy as we are heading towards receiving our ‘Energy’ 2nd Green Flag.
As we continue through this year and into next year we will continue our Montessori approach incorporated with a play-based approach. We want above all to see our children develop a strong sense of who they are – sociable, independent, confident and happy little human beings.