The Athena School is an existing independent Primary and High School in Newtown. Our Prep class (Kindy minus 1), utilises the philosophy of Maria Montessori, with a fully trained Montessori teacher to ensure a gentle transition into school life for the young ones.
Here at Athena we provide a safe and friendly environment. We focus on helping our students to truly understand their materials, so they can apply in life what they have learnt at school.
Enrolling in Montessori Prep:
When can a student enrol in The Montessori Prep class at The Athena School?
In NSW, children can start Kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they turn 5 on or before 31 July in that year. All children must be enrolled in school by their 6th birthday in NSW. There is large variation in when children start school in NSW. Some children start at 4½, others at 6.
Prep is the undercut to Kindergarten so a student may enrol in our Prep class the year before they would be enrolling in Kindergarten.
In our Montessori Prep class our aim is to guide the children to be confident and independent learners in preparation for the Kindergarten class.
To enrol children in the Prep Class it is imperative that they have the following skills to be able to be a part of the group and develop confidence and self-esteem.
The child should be able to move and carry small objects easily.
The child must be able to dress and undress themselves as best as they can. Some help is given with jackets etc. when needed.
The child must be able to take care and identify their personal belongings e.g. bag, lunch box, hat.
The child must be able to sit for snack and lunch at the table and be able to use cutlery and feed themselves.
Must be fully toilet trained – be able to ask and go to the toilet by themselves. Be able to take off their undies/shorts/pants or dress to use the toilet. Be able to wipe themselves, flush and wash hands. The toilet block is away from the classroom, however it is easily accessible and some toilet cubicles are designed for younger children.
If the child has an occasional toilet accident a staff member will be most willing to help out. But they are not able to accompany and help the child on a daily basis at school.
As the exercises of Practical Life and Grace & Courtesy are an integral part of our Montessori philosophy and curriculum, we encourage the child to be able to do things independently, like clean up after themselves, pack away activities and take care of the materials in the room and their own personal belongings. It would be wonderful if parents could follow through on these life skills at home too so that there is a continuation of what we do in school. This would also help the child in their all-round development.
In the classroom the child is given the freedom to choose, to move and to communicate at all times. To be able to help them to perfect certain skills and prepare them substantially for Kindy, the freedom to choose activities have limits so the Teacher gives presentations and guides the child to make appropriate choices.
The Montessori Curriculum:
The areas of learning are as follows:
Practical life exercises - Activities that are familiar to the child (e.g. carrying, rolling and unrolling mats, sweeping, dusting, pouring, preparing a snack, watering plants, flower arranging, scrubbing, polishing, learning how to do dressing frame see picture). These exercises fall into three categories: care of oneself, care of others and care of the environment.
Sensorial - Montessori sensorial activities are those which refine the five senses – tactile, visual, auditory (hearing), olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) senses. The materials are presented independently to the child progressively and parallel to the practical life activities. The materials are constructed so that the child is able to self-correct and explore.
Language - We begin with language enrichment and games to develop the ability to hear and manipulate the sound structure in language known as phonological awareness. The letters of the alphabet are presented phonetically (using the sandpaper letters and movable alphabet). Once they have learnt about ten letters by sound, they begin to build or write out using the movable alphabet. The book corner encourages love of reading, where the children can browse, read, rest and be read to.
- Maths - The Montessori maths materials help the child to learn numbers in a concrete and visual manner. We begin with the understanding of fixed quantities from 1-10 and then progress to loose quantities, tracing numerals and then matching the quantities. Geometry is also presented in a concrete and sensorial way; the materials allow the child to explore the world of shapes.
Cultural - Children learn about the world and its inhabitants in a very concrete way. The globes, continent maps, flags, botany shapes are just a few to mention.
All these experiences are further extended with stories and group discussions.
Grace and courtesy is interwoven into all areas of the curriculum and is encouraged throughout the day.
Snack (Crunch & Sip) - Children will prepare their own snack of vegetables and fruit and some rice crackers. We ask that they bring a piece of fruit or vegetable each day (apple, pear, carrot, cucumber or celery is ideal, or an orange for juicing).
Art and craft, science activities and sometimes cooking will also be done.