This Preschool is set in the green heart of Sandton

Today’s children don’t get outside a lot. When I was a child I used to walk up the road to see a friend but I can’t imagine doing that today. In the city we don’t roam the streets for security reasons with the result that kids are cooped up way too often.

Are you looking for a preschool in Sandton? A way for your child to return to nature in the middle of suburbia? Beyond the shopping malls and high walls lies a park with a Montessori preschool, perfect for little ones to play, and more importantly, to be surrounded by nature.

“When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them up in cupboards.”
– Dr. Maria Montessori

Montessori was a firm believer in how the outdoors was an extension of what she was teaching inside – a rich sensorial experience and a way to ground the children, finding their humble place in her cosmic education.  

At the Field and Study Montessori the children are in a unique position to go for regular nature walks. I think that this has been my highlight of working at the school. Seeing the children’s excited faces as they run across the field. Playing in the autumn leaves as we sing our autumn songs. Looking at the fishes in the river.  Scooping up mountains of pine needles. Having a nice long walk to go and look at the horses on the other side. Watching the kids pick up stones and clink and clank, making their own instruments. 

Most of all I have found these walks change all of our attitudes. I can feel the stress melt away. Outside, the sun shines and the children are happy. We also have three security guards right there and one will always be near and often walk with us.

 

Apart from the rich sensorial experience we have in the middle of this park, founder Julia Gorham is also a firm believer in motor co-ordination and music and movement.  She loves dancing with the kids to vibey music, all the while doing specific moves to enhance their gross motor.

She loves art too and we paint, colour or paste every day. We even have a blog dedicated to our arts and crafts – it’s called “Children’s Kickstart.” We also have a holiday program with a craft activity every day.

Other highlights for me have been watching Nicky whizzing around a big tree for bike day, making foil streams in the garden with water and tin foil, slathering shaving cream foam all over the large tin tables and enjoying the kids playing with it.  (We do regular sensorial activities).

The Montessori materials themselves compliment the whole set up. Children work at their own pace, from the toddler pouring beans to the preschooler tracing sandpaper letters.

We have thrown pine cones into baskets, listened to the sounds of the birds. touched the rough barks of trees and chased bunnies hopping all around the school.

I don’t think think the kids realise how lucky they are to have this.

But I do.

 

For more info go to the Field and Study Montessori’s website here. I also wrote a post about their history last year here.

 

 

 

Arts and Crafts Holiday Program (2-5yrs) (3 Term Holidays)

holiday program ice cream sticks craftAre you wondering what to do with your child in the holidays? Especially if you are a mom trying to figure out what your child will do in the holidays, I have a solution for you. A holiday program which has arts and crafts every day as well as other activities.

The Field and Study Montessori is having a holiday program which will have crafts and other activities every day from 7:30 till 12. Any preschool child (age 2-5)  is more than welcome to attend.

The holiday programme includes:

  • A daily crafts activity
  • A gross motor skills lesson.
  • Free painting, drawing, play dough, puzzles, board games, wooden building blocks, and lots more.
  • Outside water play and games.
  • Fruit juice and biscuits will be served daily

Here is the arts and crafts programme:

 

Would you like your child to join in the fun?
All you have to do is fill in the booking form here
Advanced booking is essential as places are limited.

 

Your Child Reading in Four Weeks? And Make Your Mark on the new Monopoly

Two children are playing on the floor together; isolated on the white background

Every now and then some interesting items come into my inbox and today I’m taking the time to share them with you. The first is an opportunity for your child to learn to read in a month, and the other is to take part in choosing the street names for the new Monopoly game.

I guess there is a lot of debate about early literacy, whether children should rather have the time to play in preschool or be learning their ABC’s. I do think every child is different and a parent knows their child best; in much the same way that you choose a suitable preschool on the grounds of academics or free play.

Those of you who know me well will remember that I am a Montessori teacher who taught at a school which taught four year olds to read, at least on a phonetic level, and non-phonetics by six year old. We were even teaching them dynamic multiplication, but I guess that’s a post for another day… I think the school I am at now has a better balance of allowing for more play, while also exposing the children to the fundamentals.

There are many programs out there which teach children to read. In a class situation it might take a few months to teach the alphabet and another few months to blend those sounds into words at a 4/5 year old level. Six year olds may progress faster, I could probably get a Grade One kid reading at least phonetically, by the end of a term of four months. I guess six months could be a fairly accurate estimate of how long it may take to read in a normal educational environment.

So I was interested to hear about Adventure Phonics, which claims it can do the trick in four weeks. They work with preschoolers and primary school kids up to Grade 3. In a concentrated program at Spotlite Education Learning Centre in Midrand, they use games and other entertainment to reinforce the educational concepts. It involves a multitude of fun, interactive games and exercises that emphasise skill in spelling, reading and writing.

Spotlite Education is looking for two boys and two girls between the ages of 4 and 7-years-old, who are struggling with English or perhaps cannot even read at all.  The package is worth R1500  and comes highly recommended by speech therapists and is endorsed by The Gauteng Department of Education.

Interested? The closing date is the end of April. Fill in the form here.

***

monopolyI have very fond memories of playing Monopoly as a child. I think it always seemed to land up that one member of the family would land up with all the houses and hotels and draining the rest of us of our money until the game was over (or was that me? hehe).

Well Monopoly Mzansi is set to be in stores by the end of the year, and you have a chance to influence which streets will feature in the set. You can also share your vote on social media afterwards using the hashtag #votemonopolymzansi.

You know what’s super cool about the Gauteng selection? Two of the items are set to be our blogger meetup places! We are having our #JoziMeetup at the Maboneng Precinct, and for #Blogfest for next year we are looking at Vilakazi Street.  I also love Montecasino, I think it’s a beautiful piece of architecture and we’ve been to the bird garden a few times. The cradle of humankind is the site of human history and the Kruger Park a landmark for animals. It’s a tough decision but I’m counting on you to make it – vote now here!

Voting closes on the 31 March.