- The Montessori school of learning (is a child-centered educational approach)
- The Waldorf school of learning (is a play-based approach)
- The Reggio school of learning ( is a project-based approach)
- Specialty Enrichment
- Emergent Curriculum
All five approaches vision children as vigorous creators of their development, strongly influenced by dynamic, natural, self-righting forces within themselves, opening the way toward growth and learning
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children have a lot of potential and are born with some knowledge that needs to be discovered. During her time of being a Doctor, she studied how exactly children learn and what impact the environment has on a child. She believed that the environment impacts the child’s development and intelligence. According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children are their own unique individual and do not think like adults but will eventually learn to. She also believes that children mature at his or her own pace and there is no need to force development, just assist it. A child’s development happens in stages, from one, preparing to the next.
Within our school, you will find a prepared environment which has been created in order to meet the developmental needs of each child. It is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that a classroom is a place of comfort and interest to each child. The primary years for the children up to the age of 6 are very important and the mind is said to be “absorbent” according to Dr. Maria Montessori. From the ages of 12 months to six years, the child is very sensitive to stimuli. Montessori provides a stimulating environment for the child, which will in turn help with the development that each child goes through. Montessori teaches the child discipline in addition to academics and socializing. Montessori has proven to be an aid in child development, as the child excels in school and the child has more chances of going to university. The setting of the Montessori is vital, as it involves a natural environment and each child is given the opportunity to learn whatever they are able to.
The Montessori Method is based on the idea that the child should develop and learn at his or her own pace, this is also called “spontaneous development.” This method applies from infancy through to adolescence. It is mainly comprised of self-directed activity, with the teachers, also known as, the directress, who observes each child in order to let the child develop at his her own rate and to provide assistance when required, as well as, to introduce the material and special auto-didactic equipment to each child. This method involves a structured environment where the child can choose the activity that is most appealing to them.
Practical life which concentrates on the child’s fine and gross motor skills. It teaches them to care for themselves and the environment, in which they live, develops concentration and coordination, social skills and independence. This area develops concentration, hand – eye co-ordination, social skills, and independence, concentration, patience and encourage them to become self-sufficient.
Sensorial which involves the five senses and the brain. It prepares the child to organize, categorize and systemize the impressions that they already have and will develop and train their senses. Sensorial exercises aim to refine the senses with the help of scientifically prepared, didactic material. These exercises allow children to learn similarities, differences, gradations between sizes, shapes and colours thus refining their understanding of dimensions and chromatics. A carefully prepared Montessori environment offers hands on manipulation and exploration through materials.
Math, which is concrete and hands on, counting 1-1000’s, skip counting, and arithmetic. Our goal is to have each child develop a love for numbers, problem solving strategies, and have confidence in using numbers in everyday life. Little children are naturally attracted to the science of number. Mathematics, like language, is the product of the human intellect It is therefore part of the nature of a human being. Mathematics arises from the human mind as it comes into contact with the world and as it contemplates the universe and the factors of time and space.
Language which involves reading and writing phonetically, vocabulary development, preparing the hand for writing, introduce the sounds of each letter of the alphabet, and learning verbs
Within the area of science, children will learn about nature and how it affects their everyday life. Children are natural observers. They are fascinated by the phenomena found in the natural world. To capture their interest and ignite their curiosity, Montessori environment offers ample hands on opportunities for them to explore every day science in order to develop a taste for scientific concepts.
Reggio Emilia originated in Italy, in the wake of Italy’s post WW II freedom from fascist rule. Loris Malaguzzi, the pioneer of the approach, was a middle school teacher, who collaborated with families to develop a new system of education for young children. His system was intended to be child-centered, identifying and honoring the uniqueness of each child. This method believes that children are strong, competent and powerful from birth.
The Reggio environment is made up of a natural environment comprising of soft colors, natural material, natural light, quiet music and natural material for furniture. Reggio Emilia schools are known for a project-based approach, which many preschool programs have borrowed. In a project-based curriculum, lessons are based on the interest of the students, for example, if children playing outside encounter a flower and start to ask the teacher questions about how it grows, instead of directly answering the questions, the teacher encourages the group to “find out together”. The class may then build a garden and learn all the entails, while acquiring other important pre-math, pre-reading concepts. Another example would be setting up a business in the classroom based on the class’s interest on playing in the kitchen. Reggio Emilia programs are also known for documenting what children do, taking photos, making videos, writing observations. Then children and teachers can review what they’ve done throughout the year. The areas of learning in the classroom would be art, construction, light and shadow play, dramatic play, sensory, creative expression, etc.
This approach, based on an understanding of child development was originated by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy. Its pedagogy strives to develop pupils’ intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner. The cultivation of students’ imagination and creativity is a central focus.
- Children have to learn using all senses: according to Stenier, people have twelve senses, the traditional five along with language, thought, movement, balance, warmth, life and individuality and so his approach of teaching targets all these senses.
- Imagination: the classroom under this approach incorporates storytelling, fantasy, art, drama and crafts. One of the toys in a Waldorf classroom is an old fashioned, faceless doll which is believed to stimulate creative thinking in children.
- Life-skills are essential to a complete education: in his approach, the students are also taught arts like sewing, wood carving, sculpting and gardening. These extra-curricular activities provide the students a sense of accomplishment and enable them to learn more complex skills later in life.
- An enduring love for learning can be completed through the arts: This feature provides a sense of wonder about different subjects for example; mathematics can also be examined through graphic-art projects.
Emergent curriculum is a way of planning a curriculum that is based on the children’s interest and passion at a certain point in time Children thrive and learn best when their interests are captured, learning occurs naturally.
At Zebra Crossing Academy, a plan for an emergent curriculum requires observation, documentation, creative brainstorming, flexibility and patience. Children do not learn because they are taught. They learn as a result of their own doing. through actions, relationships, inquiries, opportunities, and repetition.
Zebra Crossing Academy purposefully employs an Emergent Curriculum approach that ties in closely to the Reggio and Waldorf schools of learning and specialty enrichment as well. The curriculum is developed day by day and week by week with teachers making plans that draw on children’s interests and developmental needs rather than a teacher-dominated curriculum planned weeks or months in advance.
The most effective learning does not take place in a vacuum, but in a rich landscape of cross-curricular connections. Zebra Crossing Academy offers cultural and artistic enrichment through dedicated Specialty Programs, which include Physical Education, Music, Spanish Language, Visual Arts and Culinary Arts. These programs are seamlessly integrated into the academy’s curriculum and are a vital part of learning.
The Specialty Enrichment Classes at Zebra Crossing Academy are divided into 5 programs that are uniquely designed to challenge the children and to have them learn fundamentals of life in a fun and inviting way.