Meraki (n.) the soul, creativity, or love put into something; the essence of yourself that is put into your work.
Our Curriculum and Guiding Principles
At Meraki Montessori we offer a broad curriculum based on the Montessori Method and individual and developmental needs of the child. We have seven curriculum areas which are implemented through the use of our six guiding principles.
Botany - Matai Tipu
"The children and nature movement is fueled by this fundamental idea: the child in nature is an endangered species, and the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseparable." -Richard Louv
At Meraki Montessori we are lucky to have an amazing outdoor environment for the children to interact with. We have a bush walk onsite, numerous fruit trees and a large playing field. Our Botany curriculum allows children to be connected with their surroundings. Children study leaf shapes, ecology, classify different types of plants and participate in gardening and caring for the environment.
Zoology - Matauranga kararehe
"Our task must be to free ourselves.by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures - Albert Einstein.
At Meraki Montessori we are passionate about animals and the learning that can arise from having them included in our environment. We are lucky enough to have guinea pigs and a pet dog as part of our community. We also have a beehive onsite and numerous native birds that frequent our grounds. We study the timeline of life and how animals evolved and the different classifications within the animal kingdoms. We also learn how to care for animals and what habitats and environments they live within.
History - Hitoria
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." - Isaac Newton
The study of history is closely tied to the study of geography and ignites in the child an empathy and gratitude for those who have come before us and what their impact might be on the future. History helps to provide context to other learning areas and holds many fascinating stories to help ignite the children's imagination. We study timelines on differing subjects, looking at calendars and how time and human's relationship with it has changed throughout history. We also learn to tell the time and study different civilisations that existed in our past and what we have learnt from them.
Language - Reo
"Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Language, reading and writing form a vital part of our curriculum and stretches across all subject areas. Wherever possible it is integrated and taught in context with an experience it relates to. Language is only taught as a separate subject when a child has to understand special points that center around areas such as spelling, word study, handwriting, grammar and punctuation. Language is a means of human expression and we visit it in many different forms including dance, drama and music. Here at Meraki Montessori we are also lucky enough to experience other languages such as German or French and enjoy celebrating our bilingual heritage here in New Zealand by embracing Te Reo Maori throughout our day in the form of customs, language and cultural expression.
Math/Geometry - Pangarau
"The things that he sees are not just remembered, they form a part of his soul" - Dr Maria Montessori
The Montessori math curriculum is extremely visual and tactile. It moves from the concrete to the more abstract but always allows children the opportunity to manipulate materials to further absorb mathematical concepts and attain a deeper understanding. The materials are introduced at an early age to allow for indirect preparation for higher level concepts. The math curriculum also isolates concepts to their greatest simplicity to help children build on their knowledge as they work their way through materials. Geometry is also a large part of our math curriculum and is often interrelated with other subjects such as art and botany. The work in Geometry is arranged so that children can wherever possible discover the relationships, theorums and formulae themselves.
Health - Hauora
"To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."
At Meraki Montessori we place great importance on good health and well being because we know that this is essential for growth, development and learning. We view health as a holistic area, encompassing social, emotional, physical and spiritual learning. We foster an environment that values and encourages healthy eating, as we know that this nourishes the body. Discussions around food choice and what the body requires, with the practical application of making food that promotes good health are common as we enjoy morning nourishment and lunchtimes in each others company. Our students learn to prepare and cook snacks for others by using practical life skills in the kitchen. By participating in classroom responsibilities the students are also learning about how they can make important contributions to their school community, increasing their sense of confidence in their own abilities. We have an active sports programme that invites experts in the field to share their skills with the children, while encouraging daily exercise and activity. The children visit the community to practise and learn skills that our school environment cannot cover, such as swimming and skiing at the local Snow Planet.
Geography - Matai Matawhenua
"The stars, earth, the stones, life of all kinds form a whole universe in relation with each other and so close is this relation, that we cannot understand a stone without some understanding of the great sun!" Maria Montessori
Being a scientist Maria Montessori was very passionate about areas such as Geography being included in the primary curriculum. The study of Geography is made up of several different connecting areas including physical, political and economic geography and also a mapping and graphing perspective. Children learn about their universe, stories about how it formed, the planets that exist within it and the science that happens around us on a daily basis. They also do in-depth studies into countries and earth systems science.
We offer a curriculum that...
Encourages Sustainability - Te akiaki i te oranga tonutanga
Sustainability plays an important part in the decisions we make here at Meraki Montessori. Where possible we have partnered with businesses that have an ethical and sustainable business practice. We use My Mojo recycled stationary, recycle our used paper into notepads, have book bags and presentation folders that are made of recycled billboards and bus shelter ads and encourage litterless lunches and healthy eating. We believe using products that have sustainable stories behind them sets a good example for our tamariki and encourages them to think about our environment and world when making decisions in their own lives. Sustainability is also viewed at from a health perspective and we make frequent check-ins with our staff, families and children to ensure everything is ok and if there is anything we can do to help.
Fosters Independence - Poipoi ana i te motuhake
At Meraki Montessori we promote independence and the child's ability to think and do things for themselves. When a child can do something without being dependent on others the sense of confidence and pride that arises within themselves in invaluable and helps to break cultures of low aspirations and low self-esteem. Our environment is prepared with this in mind and we have self-correcting materials across all of our curriculum areas which often hold a control of error allowing children to independently asses their work. As our children are ready we introduce a learning journal which helps them to take ownership and responsibility for their work choices and development across the curriculum. Children also actively participate in learning to care for our environment through classroom responsibilities and practical life learning experiences. Whenever possible we give children the time, opportunity and support to discover their own solutions to problems that occur within the classroom and school environment
Inspires Self Belief and Confidence - Whakaawe Whakapono Whaiaro me te maia
At Meraki Montessori we know that self-belief and confidence are an integral part of both your child's learning and an education for life. We provide a supportive environment where your child is valued for their individuality and what they bring to our community. Children have the ability to participate in student led research projects and grow in confidence through working with others and outings within our local and wider community. We are passionate about creating a safe environment where your child feels able to take risks and has the opportunity to become friendly with error and the rich learning it can provide. We do not follow reward or punishment systems but instead foster the intrinsic motivation that lies within every child given the right environment. We provide strength based assessment and conferencing that allows children to realise their own potential and set goals that are relevant and meaningful to their personal learning journey.
Is Connected - Kei te hononga
At Meraki Montessori we believe learning should always appear in a meaningful and relevant context. We aim to connect children's learning to a practical application, the wider world or a personal experience. Our brains are wired to learn by hands on interactions with the physical world and wherever possible we try to make this happen. Montessori education is known as an 'education for life' and through connecting it to meaningful experiences we believe we can stay true to this vision. We also encourage a connectedness between the home-school relationship and children often bring in items for news or projects to share with others in our classroom community. We are lucky enough to be leasing our land of the local iwi Ngati Whatua and are passionate about staying connected to Te Reo Maori throughout our learning and the bi-cultural heritage we feel privileged to be a part of in Aotearoa.
Is Community Focused - Hapori arotahi
Community lies at the heart of Meraki Montessori's vision. Whenever possible we partner with community programmes to help children get to know their local community better and give them the skills needed to be a confident and active member. During research projects children are encouraged to contact people within the local and wider community to learn more about their topic and build relationships that may help to enrich their project. We are also passionate about connecting our parent community and hold regular parent education evenings where parents can meet and learn more about their own journey within Montessori education. Our classroom community is an integral part of our prepared environment and through class meetings, group projects and afternoon activities we help children work together to build a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.
Is Individualised - Te ako takitahi
Every child is unique and has many wonderful gifts that they bring to our community. We offer individualised learning plans and learn from each other by dealing with any issues that arise due to differences as a supportive and understanding community. Children are given a voice and choice within their own learning which we also use to enrich our reporting to parents. Our dream is to remain relatively small so that we can stay responsive and flexible to the needs of our community in an ever-changing world. We also offer an open work cycle every second week so that families can come and share their individual talents and interests with the classroom and school community.