Alto aims to provide high-quality care and education services to our children and their families.
The Montessori Method is a child-driven and teacher-guided method of education, and its goal is to support and promote the child’s optimal intellectual, physical, emotional and social development to unfold.
The Montessori curriculum and materials are designed with purpose, having a clear beginning, middle and end, and are available to be discovered and mastered by the child. Through the process of experiencing, experimenting, and studying the Montessori curriculum and materials, the child uses her imagination, curiosity, attention and natural desire to learn, to tease out the knowledge that will support her in her development and her future.
While the Montessori Method is the spearhead of our education efforts, we also provide other extracurricular activities proven to support the child’s development. We have developed our music program, where our musically trained educator teaches the fundamentals of music to the children. We also provide a sports program through which the children learn and practice the core body movements, which will assist them in navigating this world.
We are happy to provide the ALTO Prosocial Behaviours Program, through which we introduce the children and guide them through practice and lived experiences on what governs their emotions and behaviours, and how they can regulate and manage them. Through the ALTO Prosocial Behaviours Program, the children learn and understand the effects of their behaviours and those of others as the scaffolding of society.
The Alto curriculum incorporates the Montessori Method of Education with the Early Years Learning Framework and Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. A kindergarten program facilitated by qualified kindergarten teachers is also incorporated into our daily schedule. Alto children enjoy the opportunity of discovery through a fully integrated curriculum. The child’s natural desire to learn is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained facilitator. Children are taught practical life skills to develop independence and self-esteem, using specifically designed equipment, each task leads to a greater understanding of nature, music, dance, sports, gardening, culture, arts, maths, language and science.
As adults, we have assimilated knowledge into our everyday lives to such an extent that we have forgotten how complex what we know is. Maria Montessori, through her experience and deep understanding of our way of learning, including the strengths and limitations, developed her Method of Education breaks down essential skills into their fundamental components, making them easier to be understood and absorbed by the children.
Within the Culture area of Montessori education, ALTO introduces the children to a variety of human intellectual capabilities and achievements, such as art, music, science, customs and social behaviours, biology and botany and many others. In Culture, the child acquires knowledge about their immediate environment, all the way out to the solar system and our galaxy.
This area of the Montessori Method introduces the child to an array of skills of significant practical importance to the child. The Practical Life area is designed to provide the child with the skills they need to develop their self-esteem and become independent. Included in this area are fundamental skills, such as gross and fine motor skills helping the child to complete activities of self-care, food preparation and cleaning, to socialisation skills, helping the child to develop graceful and courteous behaviours and to be prepared to integrate into society effectively.
Our senses are the connection between the world and our self. We use our senses to translate the information around us so that we can understand our environment and make appropriate and necessary decisions.
The Sensorial Area of the Montessori Method assists the child in understanding the stimuli a child receives from the environment in greater detail, assisting the child in making high definition categorisations and classifications. Within the Sensorial area, the child will learn to evaluate the stimuli received from the core senses, such as vision, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory stimuli, but also the secondary senses, such as the understanding of space, heat, and others.
The use of language serves the critical function of externalising our thoughts and needs and is pivotal to one of the fundamental psychological human needs, to be understood. Language is a complex structure of sounds including intonations and other qualities; images; feelings; meaning, which altogether provide us with the tool to communicate with others and, very importantly, ourselves.
The materials and methods to learn the language are concrete and assist the child in a multisensory way to acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills for reading and writing.
The Mathematics area of the Montessori Method is designed to bridge the abstract with the actual, to make the idea of numbers into material that the children can see, feel, and manipulate. This way, learning basic mathematic skills becomes experiential and more easily comprehensible. The materials and methods work hand in hand to support the child in their learning of basic mathematical concepts.
ALTO’s Prosocial Behaviours Curriculum guides the children through age-appropriate talks, role-playing and demonstrations aimed to introduce the children to what governs their emotions and behaviours. The goal of the curriculum is to provide skills and tools to the children that will assist them in managing their emotions and regulating their behaviours. Through the ALTO Prosocial Behaviours Curriculum, the children learn and understand the effects of their behaviours and those of others impact their immediate and extended environments.
Sports and exercise are universally known to benefit the child who is actively involved in them. Apart from the health benefits, which of course on their own provide ample reason to exercise, there are associated benefits of exercise and learning, cognitive ability, behaviour regulation and the development of friendships. ALTO provides a sports program that takes the children through all the major movements present in most sports.
The benefits of learning music appear to be many, as learning music has been associated with personal and social developments, the ability to navigate through the world, working memory and many other cognitive and sociological aspects. Here at ALTO, we have musically trained educators that supplement the Montessori Method with music sessions that the children.
The Montessori Directress
The role of the Montessori educator is a unique one and very different to the traditional teachers’ role, warranting the use of a different term altogether. The educator of the Montessori Method is best described as a Director / Directress.
The Montessori Method and materials have been designed in such a way that they are self-correcting, they contain within themselves the control of errors, which makes auto-education possible to each child. Maria Montessori best outlined this with one of her most characteristic writings, that “What is the greatest height of a Montessori teacher's success? To be able to say: "
Now the children work as if I did not exist ".
To achieve this, the Directress is guided by the Montessori Principles to ensure the child is presented with the appropriate environment and conditions to immerse themselves into the learning that happens when their attention is fully occupied.
The Directress also ensures that the children are treated with respect, are uninterrupted when concentrating, and are given the opportunity to practice, allowing the children to be led by their intrinsic motivation, explore their freedom and grow their independence.