“It is in his early years that a man is made” (Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, 1966:4). The fundamental significance of the early years in a child’s life is now a widely accepted concept. However, the importance of a child’s first years in the education system has long been undervalued. As adults, we need to respect this truly special time in a child’s development and give it the recognition, attention and importance it deserves.
When working with children, it is impossible to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach and expect it to suit everyone. We are all unique individuals and expect to be treated as such, it is exactly the same with children…they need and desire to be recognised and treated for who they each are as individuals.
That is why here at WWHP, we adopt an approach that encourages and celebrates diversity as well as the freedom to experience learning and growth at an individual’s own pace and according to their own internal drives. We do this in several ways:
Brain Body Heart
- Firstly by adopting the Montessori approach of having one mixed age-group (2-5) whereby children learn not just from experiences, but also through interacting and assisting one another, much like in a family with many siblings of different ages. In this way, no child is expected to be where another one is with his or her learning, but rather respected for their own level/stage of development. Whilst having a structure and set activities set for the day, we also allow for freedom of movement and choice of activities (also a Montessori philosophy) particularly for the youngest members which also caters for different learning interests/levels.
- This set-up is possible due to the excellent adult-child ratios we keep. By keeping our intake/numbers low and having a large, knowledgeable staff body, we are able to run meaningful and enriching group activities, whilst at the same time allowing for separate individual needs to be met – supervision of different activities/learning opportunities taking place at the same time (e.g. younger members who may leave an activity, seeking out another activity or learning opportunity in the same moment or older members receiving extension lessons in different learning areas whilst younger ones do a separate activity).
- We keep track of each and every child’s progress as twice a year we provide parents with an extensive report on all areas of their child’s development. It is an opportunity for parents to be as aware and involved in their children’s early education as possible and also a way that we ensure we are always providing what each child needs in terms of their individual learning and development.
- We have a holistic approach to each child’s development, which means we concentrate on all areas as equally important to a child’s learning and progress. Every learning opportunity, whether it is cognitive (brain), emotional/social (heart) or physical (body), is valued. We utilise an original 3 year curriculum that focuses on providing a broad range of learning opportunities during these crucial formative years, with the aim of ensuring each individual develops a solid foundation and strives to fulfil his/her learning potential. This means that children are wholly encouraged to develop or pursue their own passions, drives and talents in a way that strives to foster a true love of learning.