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.