Perth Children’s House’s (PCH) program, philosophy and approach to working with children is inspired by Maria Montessori and as such, is built around independence, a sense of order and completion of tasks.
PCH is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charitable organization with a parent-run board. For the Casa program, PCH is licensed under the Childcare Early Years Act (CCEYA) and follows How Does Learning Happen (HDLH), Ontario’s pedagogy for the early years.
PCH will promote the health, safety, nutrition, and well-being of all children and are considerate of each child’s emotional, physical, and psychological state. Teachers and support staff will provide, supportive, positive, and responsive daily interactions.
Nutrition – Healthy snacks are provided daily (Casa program only) and a Healthy Hot Lunch program is available for students at an extra cost. Teachers and support staff monitor lunches to ensure that the students are eating healthy foods.
Safety – All teachers and volunteers have Vulnerable Sector Checks completed before being on-site. The staff and students practice fire drills on a monthly basis to understand what to do if a fire happens. Students line up and remind themselves to be safe with their saying “…Children hold partner hands, keeping them safe and walking carefully” while walking to the library and other outings.
Health – The school provides quiet time for resting and recovery; outdoor play providing gross motor movement, fun, exploration, and recreation; practices safe and regular hand washing to ensure germs are kept at bay.
As part of our Grace and Courtesies curriculum, students will be taught self-help tasks (i.e. blowing nose, independent toileting, doing zippers, washing hands for cleanliness and to prevent colds and germs from circulating). PCH staff will ensure that healthy foods are served and that lunches sent from home are full of healthy, balanced foods.
The one-on-one teaching time, as well as constant observations by PCH teachers allows a more intimate knowledge of each child’s emotional, physical, and psychological state. Staff are conscious of modelling positive interactions and using kind words to reflect the core values of the Montessori Philosophy.
PCH views all children as competent, capable, curious, and rich in potential. All children develop at their own pace and will take different cognitive and social skills from our Montessori program. Each child will experience their own unique and individual journey while attending PCH and will be given equal opportunities.
The school offers a Casa Montessori program, which has as a fundamental tenant; a child learns best within a social environment which supports each individual’s unique development. The Casa program is a 3-year program which includes first year (preschool), second year (Junior Kindergarten), and third year (Senior Kindergarten).
The PCH Casa difference:
- 1:8 ratio in the classroom for ages 30 months to 6 years
- Montessori trained and registered ECE staff
- Ability to have close involvement in your child’s development and learning
- Child-led individualized learning
- 8:30am to 4:30pm school day
PCH offers children:
- a carefully prepared child-centered environment
- mixed-age groups
- an opportunity to progress at the child’s own pace
- activity-based learning
- freedom and responsibility
- co-operation and collaboration – not competition
The Montessori program provides opportunities, challenges, and experiences through which the child acquires co-operative and self-guided skills, initiative, and self-expression. In addition, there are a variety of games, songs, drama, arts and crafts, and outdoor play to stimulate the child’s interests and development. Individual progress in learning and enjoyment are keynotes of the program.
Our care of the children should be governed not by the desire to ‘make them learn things’, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within them the light which is called intelligence. – Maria Montessori
The Montessori method allows children to develop skills at their own pace. There are also different “works” which promote learning of the same skill in different ways. Progress is tracked individually and encourages proceeding through each skill at its own appropriate pace. Students are to be designated a day of the week to be taught materials or more often if possible.This ensures all students are given opportunity with new materials and have one-on-one teacher time. PCH staff invest time with and give their attention to each child, allowing relationships to grow and a better understanding of each child’s learning style and individual needs.
PCH fosters ongoing engagement and communication with families regarding our Montessori program and their child. Communication will be ongoing with the use of the HiMama app as well as through attendance of the First-Year, Second- and Third-Year Orientations that are organized for the parents each year. There are also many other events throughout the school year (BBQs, Board and Committee meetings, fundraisers, a wine and cheese evening, etc.), which encourage families to become engaged with the school and it’s membership. PCH visits the public library monthly, skates weekly at the local arena during the winter months, and participates in community events.
All educators participate in collaborative reflective inquiry and ongoing opportunities allow educators to engage in critical reflection and discussion with others about pedagogy and practice to support continuous professional learning and growth. All educators attend professional learning conferences and workshops to stay current in the field of Montessori and Early Childhood Education (ECE).
Outside the classroom, we strive to provide a diversity of activities in keeping with the philosophy of learning through play. We are active in our community with monthly visits to the library, and in the winter there is the weekly trip to a skating rink. We also have a variety of field trips throughout the year.
As a parent, you can expect ongoing feedback on your child’s progress, an invitation to participate in many aspects of school life, and an environment where parents/guardians and teachers support each other with the desire to help your child be successful.
All educators are to use electronic documentation (HiMama) to document (pictures and written explanations of observations) and communicate with families. Staff will show on a bi-weekly basis, or more frequently if possible, how learning happens in our Montessori Classroom. A monthly curriculum for outdoor play and monthly activities will be posted and implemented into our yard. An “Art Wall” or display area is also offered outside for completed works and to show how learning happens in our yard.
PCH will provide an environment that will allow children to take manageable risks, while allowing active play and exploration. Encouraging children to initiate and seek out their interests and actively explore and investigate their surroundings will promote a healthier growing sense of self.
In collaboration with promoting peace in our learning environment, PCH staff will observe outdoor play and allow freedom to explore their indoor and outdoor environments. PCH staff will judge if a child is in distress or needs a teacher to intervene. Our PCH philosophy is to promote and provide child-initiated and adult supported play, as well as to observe and prevent abusive, controlling, or intentionally harmful or cruel behaviour. PCH supports a stimulating, active, and interesting environment where a child may establish a true sense of self and where self-regulation is encouraged.
All educators are to participate in collaborative reflective inquiry and ongoing opportunities for educators to engage in critical reflection and discussion with others about pedagogy and practice to support continuous professional learning and growth.
PCH staff attend planned bi-weekly reflective practice meetings, monthly staff meetings, and monthly board meetings. Discussions are initiated by THINK, FEEL, ACT videos prepared by the Ministry of Education and follows the How Does Learning Happen pedagogy, as well as daily student observations, books, and literature which allows teachers time to reflect on their work and to further observe the classroom and learning experience.
PCH Educators promise to students and parents/families of PCH to ensure that all of the above stated approaches that are set out in the program statement are implemented into the daily curriculum.