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Piccolos Montessori Integrated Kindergarten Program

What is kindergarten?
Kindergarten in Victoria is an early learning program providing 10 – 15 hours of pre-school instruction per week over a 40 week period per year. The purpose of this program is to reveal children socially and introduce them to basic academic concepts. The intention of the program is to assist children in the transition to primary school over the year.

Who sponsors kindergarten in Australia?
In Victoria both state and federal governments assist kindergarten programs. This is done by way of supplementing funding for Kindergarten Teachers and pre-school children.

Does Piccolos receive government recognition for the integrated Montessori kindergarten program?
Piccolos surpasses all governmental regulatory kindergarten requirements and outcomes within our Montessori program therefore it entitles us to receive some of the funded subsidies to support and enhance our Montessori program. This funding ensures Piccolos Montessori program is sustainable and delivered to a high standard providing excellent staff, facilities and resources.

What are the benefits of Piccolos integrated Montessori kindergarten program?
Piccolos provides a long day care Montessori program from 7:30 am – 6:30 pm. Children attend during these hours for 3 – 5 days per week. Throughout this time Montessori education and values are taught and practiced.
Thus providing:

• Greater exposure to academic education enhancing skills in literacy, maths, science, culture, arts, music and sports.
• Greater opportunities for socialization and shared experiences with other children.
• Greater chances to develop emotion skills in order to control feelings and understand others within a multi-aged setting.
• Greater opportunities to gain self-confidence within a multi-aged setting that both extends and nurtures ones identity.
• Greater chance of transitioning to primary school smoothly due to enhanced academic, social and emotional abilities coupled with good concentration skills.
• Greater possibilities of developing a ‘love of learning’ for life long achievement.

What is the difference between traditional kindergarten and an Integrated Montessori Kindergarten Program.?

 

Traditional Kindergarten                                              Piccolos Integrated Montessori Kindergarten

10 – 15 Hours per week Integrated into the longer day care hours providing greater exposure to ideas, methods and concepts.
Free play model Purposeful play model – during core Montessori times. “A child’s work is play”
Inside and outside environments are set up according to the day. There is little emphasis on keeping the environment orderly. Environment is structured and the curriculum areas are defined. The children are taught to always put things away exactly as they found it so the next person using the equipment or activity knows where it is and can enjoy it.
Children’s toys dominate the environment and a lot of imaginative play toys are used. For example a pretend kitchen is often set up with pretend cooking equipment and pretend food. Montessori educational equipment dominates the environment. There is an emphasis on real life equipment to promote real life experiences. For example there is a small kitchen in all classrooms with a real dishwasher and sink. Real equipment and ingredients are used when cooking.
Traditional kindergarten lacks the support of the Montessori curriculum and the specialist equipment and activities to promote academic achievement. Montessori curriculum provides many choices in the form of specialist activities and equipment for the children. These are designed to stimulate the child’s interest and build on previous experience from other activities. As a result a child’s academic abilities are developed through experiences and practice.
Design and delivery of the curriculum is teacher dependent. Curriculum guidelines are broad and open to teacher interpretation. Activities are presented differently by individual teachers. The curriculum is already designed and trailed successfully for decades. The children learn through the activities and equipment and the teachers direct and support the child’s interests. All teachers present the materials in exactly the same precise manner to ensure the child is not confused.
Teachers are trained in early childhood (kindergarten). Teachers at Piccolos are trained in both Montessori Methodology as well as early childhood (kindergarten).
Traditional kindergarten teachers encourages discovery through an open free play model. Outcomes are dependent on the child’s interpretation. Montessori teachers guide the child to discover what has been discovered before them. Outcomes are already defined.
Traditional kindergarten is dependent on the attributes and beliefs of the individual teacher and their own interpretation of these. Montessori Teachers are trained and expected to deliver the program with emphasis on the sense of order, manners and Montessori core values.
Kindergarten teachers work only under national guidelines for Early Childhood. They are required to develop their own individual methodology according to their own experiences and beliefs. Montessori teaches instruct children according to the Montessori methodology and curriculum ensuring consistency and achievable outcomes for all children.