A Gratifying Year of Learning and Growth

Despite the challenges that the island and the school community experienced due to Covid-19, we have had a very enjoyable year at Montessori By The Sea. It has been especially gratifying to be able to work in all of the classrooms and witness the Montessori ethos and values in action across all the age levels. From the Toddler environment, where they are learning to do things for themselves under the nurturing care of three wonderful teachers, guiding them in their increasing independence, to the Casa classroom where they are starting to count, read and write, as well as practise important life-skills in a carefully prepared environment. In the Elementary program it has been wonderful to witness the supportive, inclusive community where older children support the growth and development of younger children through socialization, assisting with new work, and teaching skills they have mastered themselves.

The students who have attended Learning Support, both in their classroom and in the Learning Support Room, developed in a wide range of areas such as Language, Social-Emotional Learning, Fine and Gross Motor Skills, Sensory Learning and Executive Functioning Skills.  

Through specialised programmes, Learning Support enables children to use their own individual strengths and interests to allow them to fulfil their full potential. The Learning Support programme at MBTS endeavours to build children’s knowledge, understanding, confidence and interests. As well as supporting students academically, Learning Support aims to enable students to take responsibility for their own learning and develop strategies that they can apply independently. 

Executive functioning skills (self-control, discipline, flexibility, and creativity) are important in the Montessori classroom and support was given to help Elementary students organise and plan their independent activities as well as initiate tasks. Gradually over the year, students used the tools and strategies that they had learnt to plan and manage their time independently to complete tasks effectively. 

In Language support, we focused on developing phonics, reading, spelling and writing skills through evidence-based and multi-sensory programmes such as the Wilson Reading System, Wilson Fundations, Toe by Toe and the websites Raz-Plus and Reading Eggs. To see the progress made by these students over the year has been especially rewarding and it has definitely been the highlight of my year. 

Fine and Gross Motor Skills were developed through a range of different activities in collaboration with external agencies such as an Occupational Therapist. Manipulating Theraputty, squeezing, threading, cutting, pinching and many more activities were explored to strengthen children’s muscles in their hands and improve manual dexterity, while also preparing them for handwriting.  

We all thoroughly enjoyed the Emotional Literacy programmes ‘Zippy’s and Apple’s Friends’. As well as equipping Casa and Lower Elementary children with necessary social-emotional skills such as coping with difficult feelings and conflict resolution, it allowed me to also get to know the children outside of Learning Support. We had such a fun experience engaging in all of the learning opportunities.  

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