Little Engines’ philosophy is to prepare children for a life of learning and fulfillment – building their self-esteem, cultivating a belief in themselves, in others and in the endless opportunities life offers us. We aim to develop a ‘love of learning’ in each child and provide skills for life in a nurturing, wholesome and respectful environment. Our programme will develop children’s knowledge through educational planning and stimulation, providing an appropriate range of activities that cater for the learning and developmental needs of each child, both socially and educationally. We value open mindedness and aspire to continuous improvement.

We ascribe to the aspirations of Te Whariki, “For children to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society”.

Little Engines is a Montessori pre-school adhering to the principle of “follow the child”. We strongly believe in the children’s inner natural guidance – their natural inquisitiveness, curiosity and imagination – and that play is a child’s work. Through observation, we simply attempt to guide the child as they, themselves, direct their course of learning.

Physical play is considered a core part of the curriculum. Young children love to play actively. Physical play is good for them in a number of ways; it benefits their growing bodies, gives them a healthy outlet for their abundant energy, and when they play with others, it encourages positive social development.

Contact with nature provides rich learning experiences and is vital for the healthy development of our children; “to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature”.

Respect is integral at Little Engines – respect for oneself, each other, the natural world and environment. To respect oneself, children need to understand their emotions and feelings and those of others. We embrace every opportunity to help children learn about their emotions and understand those of others, fostering an environment full of love and empathy. Diversity is celebrated and the uniqueness of each individual is appreciated.

Little Engines plans activities that are appropriate, challenging, educational and of interest, to extend children’s learning and development. Teachers work closely with children developing child initiated discussions and extending children’s ideas and interests.

To find out more about the Montessori approach please feel free to visit the Montessori Association of New Zealand website atwww.montessori.org.nz.

The video here from the folks at Montessori Madness gives a lovely account of the merits of the Montessori method of education:

Also, feel free to watch the trailer to an upcoming movie about Montessori education at www.buildingthepinktower.org.

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