Our Specialist Subjects
- Health and Physical Education
- The Arts
- Loose Parts Programme
Casa Mia Montessori School offers lessons in the French language to children from the age of three, in the Early Learning Centre, delivered by a native French speaker.
Children have a particular sensitivity to language from birth to around 6yrs old. To meet this window of opportunity, Casa Mia has a strong emphasis on the development of language, supporting and enhancing the children’s experiences in many areas.
Our children’s first language and the language development they have achieved by the time they enter the Early Learning Centre, is honoured and built on.
In the classrooms there are many structured and unstructured experiences to support the children in their continuing French language development. In the Early Learning Years the children learn French songs, play games, learn early vocabulary and listen to stories.
As the children grow older, their engagement becomes more structured in the French classes, moving from listening and speaking to reading and writing French.
In the general classroom setting the teachers incorporate awareness of other languages in the cultural studies, language and date and time activities. The children learn where words in the English language have come from such as octagon from the Latin ‘octo’; in the word study activities the children learn which languages the root words, prefixes and suffixes have come from; in music the children learn Noongar songs and songs from other countries.
Health and Physical Education
The Casa Mia staff are very aware of the strong relationship between the brain, senses and muscles and that the relationship is connected to mental activity and provided the movement is purposeful, to learning.
Purposeful movement at Casa Mia takes various forms – those provided by the design of the classroom and the movement associated with organised fitness, sport, games, dance and drama.
Since it is the child’s work to learn, the teachers are mindful to incorporate purposeful movement into the learning programmes.
In the Early Learning Centre, the children take a break when they need it, to water the plants or sweep. As the children grow older there is less of a need for breaks but there are the possibilities for working off their physical energy in the garden; going for a run or sweeping the verandas provided they inform their teacher where they are going.
In all our classrooms the children to have many opportunities to be active. For example, the children have the option of working on the floor, spreading out and taking more space than if they were confined to a desk, using a floor desk or just being conventional. The children are free to move about the classrooms to gather their materials, have a snack or take a break.
The Montessori walking the line activities help the children develop their balance and precision whilst walking with exercises of increasing difficulty.
Our specialist sports teacher gives formal movement lessons to all the classes. The Early Learning Centre have perceptual motor movement lessons – fundamental skills such as fine motor skills catching, throwing, hop skip and jump.
In the Lower and Upper Primary classes, the children begin to learn the specific skills for various sports such as football and basketball. Over three mornings a week, they do a fitness session, a cooperative games session and yoga before starting morning class.
Social and emotional health
The development of the children’s social and emotional health is a cornerstone of Casa Mia’s educational programme.
Each class is run as a micro community that is part of the macro community which is the school. Each class has a span of three years in it. This is a deliberate arrangement to provide a community in which there are children to look up to, children to take care of and opportunities to take on a tutoring role and to be a leader.
The school is a small school providing the children with many opportunities to practice their relationship skills. When best friends fall out, there are not enough children to find another friend too many times, so it is important to learn how to make up and get on.
All the adults are addressed by their first name. This can and does lead to the occasional disrespectful behaviour and the staff use the incidents to help the children learn how to speak to people and adjust their tone and language choice.
In the classrooms there are practices and activities to help the children learn the rights and responsibilities of living in a community. Chairs are always tucked under tables to give people a clear passage; tables are for food and working at; equipment is put away in the manner in which it was found so the next child will have a good experience with it; children and staff greet each other each morning and shake hands when leaving the classroom at the end of the day; mats are put out to denote a work space to be respected and to delineate work space and aid focus. Grace and courtesy lessons are given on the mores and manners of society – saying thank you, excuse me and apologising for offensive speech and behaviour. Class charters are discussed and agreed on.
The children learn through the Silence Game activities, the sound of silence and restful feelings that come about from moments of stillness and quiet.
Through these varied practices and activities, the children at Casa Mia develop strong social and emotional skills which stand them in good stead as they move into the larger high school environments.
Loose Parts Programme
Whilst not a specialist subject area, the Loose Parts Programme is a culmination of many of the elements of the Casa Mia education programme providing our children with opportunities to explore and share ideas.
Loose parts are materials in the playground that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials will no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.
The staff actively encourage the children to use the resources, stepping aside as the children engage, letting the children take the lead. The children playing with the loose parts are using more creativity and imagination and developing more skills and competence that they would playing with most static playground fixtures and plastic toys particularly socially
As a school for Early Childhood and primary children, the staff take care to introduce our children to elements of the Arts, giving the children a chance to discover their own innate talents and interests. Often the different elements of performing arts, visual arts and music are brought together in the end of term assemble performances.
Performing arts – the combination of drama, music, dance and theatre as a creative activity, performed in front of an audience is integrated into the curriculum throughout the School. These performances are delivered at the end of term assemblies.
Visual Arts - Artistic expression is one of the fundamental needs of humans and man has been communicating through the ages with pictures as the children discover in their Aboriginal Studies. Artistic expression requires fine motor control of the hand and observation skills of a high order. ‘To confer the gift of drawing, we must create an eye that sees, a hand that obeys, a soul that feels; and in this task the whole of life must cooperate’. Dr MM.
Through the multisensory educational approach at Casa Mia, the children develop the necessary skills they need to communicate in various visual art forms. They explore language, visual skills, technologies and processes using materials and technologies. The teachers further inspire the children when they share the art works of famous and well know artists through the ages and discussing the possibilities of creating different and unique works while using knowledge, skill and techniques developed by others.
Music- The six elements of music – rhythm, pitch, dynamics, form, timbre and texture are explored throughout the school in various ways and in all styles from pop, to classical, soul and nursery rhymes. Singing, movement, rhythm and listening continue to be part of the children’s programme in lower and upper primary with a specialist music teacher delivering the more formal aspects of the music programme which are reported on in the semester reports.