French, Music, Yoga and Art are developed in an integrated way in the Montessori classroom. We further enhance these disciplines by bringing the children together in small groups on set days each week for further exploration from September to June.
We are very lucky to have Linda Attin teach French to the children and substitute in our classroom when needed. Linda is originally from Trinidad, West Indies, where she attended a British-run Kindergarten, Junior School, and High School, where she did advanced studies in English and French. She did her Montessori training at the Montessori Training Institute A.M.I. in London, England in 1967 and worked in Montessori schools in England and Canada for the next 12 years. In 1985, Linda began teaching in the Vancouver Public School System, working with students in Grades 1 to 4 for the next 21 years. During that time she obtained another degree in English Children’s Literature. Linda continued studies in advanced French conversation classes at the Alliance Francaise and has spent time visiting Paris and the south of France. She has spent her whole life working in education. Linda has enjoyed working with young students and watching them grow and reach their full potential to become lifelong learners. Linda believes that very young children enjoy learning French through songs, stories and games. They respond to theatrical, active, sensorial experiences. They are able to naturally learn different languages at the pre-school age.
We are fortunate to have Katrina Lam as our music teacher. Classes are playful and creative yet structured. Through vocal and instrumental exercises, musical games, activities, and songs the students work on learning the very foundations of music including but not limited to:
-keeping a steady heartbeat on our bodies (clapping, tapping our knees, nodding our head)
-keeping a steady heartbeat on percussion instruments (drums/claves)
-keeping a steady heartbeat in various tempos (eg – adagio, larghetto, or allegro)
-building confidence in singing
-singing in tune
Later in the school year we gradually build upon these basic musicianship skills and the students learn more advanced musical elements such as:
-differentiating between the heartbeat and rhythm
-performing rhythms on instruments
-reading musical notation
-performing musical notation on instruments
-singing with solfege
-understanding the concept of the musical rest
-performing the musical rest within songs
-reading the musical rest in rhythmic notation
-understanding Italian terms for dynamics
-performing with dynamics
These are essential tools to have if a student chooses to continue their musical education beyond our class. Many past students have enrolled in various extra-curricular music programs as well as private instrumental or vocal instruction. Children at the Montessori Daycare are treated as individuals and challenged at their own level but above all, they are encouraged to have fun with music.
Our very own Executive Director, Jasmine Howes, practices Yoga with the children once a week, using the Rainbow Kids Yoga curriculum. The main principles of Rainbow Kids Yoga is to impart yoga to children and families enabling the child to have fun and play with yoga, co-create (make up their own poses and create the class together), build community by doing partner and group yoga poses, incorporate, songs, literacy and games as part of the yoga experience as well as having a quiet time at the end of the class for relaxation. Another aspect of the training was to incorporate lots of props that make yoga more creative and engaging for the child: for example: yoga cards, bells, stuffies, feathers, scarves etc. The basis of all the classes are to focus on the following aspects: FUN, CO-CREATION, COMMUNITY and RELAXATION.
Exposure to the visual arts is a time for children to experiment with different ideas and mediums. Little direction is offered other than a few words to motivate the child to begin experimentation. Before carrying out an art project, we ensure that the child can physically handle the materials. Ample workspace is provided to aid the child’s creativity. A child will not be pressured to produce a recognizable piece of work. Such pressure may lead to standardized expressions. Children’s art expresses the reality of their emotions and mental constructs. The emphasis is on process rather than product. Children develop artistic talents through exposure to different images. We offer exposure to different media. Artistic activities enhance a child’s creativity, freedom of choice, spatial organization and fine motor skills. A child involved in creating art is working on several levels. The child is striving to understand the world and one’s place in it. We respect this as a personal time.