Viewing time: 13 minutes
By Montessori at Home, Hapa family, Ashley
Ashley describes the top things you should be looking for in a Montessori preschool.
“A Montessori classroom is very different from a traditional classroom as the children are encouraged to become independent and self sufficient and confident from as early as possible.”
Ashley explains that the Montessori name is not controlled and any school can use the name without being truly Montessori. She says it is best to have tour of the school. Accreditation is a good indicator that the school is applying the Montessori method in their curriculum.
The classroom and premises should have child size furniture, low shelves and Montessori materials. The atmosphere will be quieter because the children are focused on activities.
Most teachers should be trained Montessori teachers. In a tour you may observe teachers working one-on-one or small groups. Teachers acting more as guides rather than traditional teachers.
You should see self directed learning at each child’s pace with children self selecting materials. The children should have a long period of time to work and play without interruption.
Important differences between the US and UK
Age in preschool
In Denver Colorado children must be 5-years-old on or before October 1 of the year of enrollment to be eligible to start Primary school. In the UK most children start in the September after their fourth birthday. This means that Ashley’s children may spend up to a further year in preschool when compared to our children. This is a significant amount of time in a child’s life. The older American children will be performing at a much higher level that their younger UK counterparts. They may be engaged in different activities and have different needs.
Whilst the Association Montessori International (AMI) does have a presence in the UK of about 30 preschools most of the 700 Montessori preschools in the UK are affiliated to the Montessori Schools Association (MSA), which is part of the Montessori St. Nicholas Charity which has it’s training school Montessori Center International (MCI) based in London. The main accreditation body in the UK is the Montessori Examination and Accreditation Board (MEAB) which is part of the MSA. There are 124 accredited Montessori preschools in the UK and only two of them are in Orpington:
By: MONTESSORI AT HOME, Hapa family, Ashley
Viewing time: 11.33 minutes
This video is by Ashley, a mum of two young children in Denver Colorado USA. Ashley has used the Montessori method in bringing up her children. She begins with the story of how Dr Maria Montessori started the Montessori movement with her first Children’s House in a poor suburb of Rome in 1907.
Ashley explains how Montessori is practised. She talks about the prepared environment in her home and shows us the changes she has made to support her children’s learning. She talks about toys and Montessori materials and respect for the child and the environment.
Finally, Ashly explains why she uses Montessori in her home, how this helps her as a parent and the advantages she believes her children will gain.
Viewing time: 3 minutes 34 seconds
This video provides an overview of Montessori education. It starts with how Dr Maria Montessori started her first school and what she discovered by observing the children. She observed that children showed episodes of deep concentration and multiple repetitions of the same activity. Dr Maria Montessori created the materials after she realised that children understand better when all their senses are engaged.
Montessori is used in a variety of settings and age groups. There are some common features:
There are ten Nurseries in Orpington. Some times a nursery is referred to as a Full Daycare Nursery to describe the extended hours it is open. Most nurseries also offer part day sessions and one even calls itself a Preschool Nursery to emphasise the mixed service they provide. In this article I have listed all childcare settings in Orpington offering more than 38 weeks a year childcare. This is also know as all year round childcare.
Map of Nurseries in Orpington
How to use the map
For parents with children going to Reception in September there is the Graduation to look forward to. The children that are leaving dress up in their graduation gowns and caps. and receive a certificate of achievement from the Manager. A professional photographer visits the preschool for the all important graduation photo and we have a party for the children.
The children are part of the way through Early Years Foundation Stage which ends at the end of their first year at Primary School which is Reception. The Primary school will assess your child using classroom observations. They have been very well prepared at Rushmore House Montessori preschool to start Primary School. Throughout their time at the preschool teachers have been recording their progress using the My Montessori Child Ipad system. Teachers will generate a leavers report as a pdf document and email it to parents and their chosen Primary School.
Staying in touch
It is always lovely to hear how our former children are progressing in Reception and beyond. Your children can still return and attend our, Holiday Club, in the school breaks.
This map shows the location of all preschools and nurseries in Orpington. Preschools are childcare settings that provide childcare and preschool education for 38 weeks a year. Nurseries provide childcare for longer, typically 50 or 51 weeks per year.
Both Rushmore House Montessori preschool and Orpington Montessori preschool provide 38 weeks per year childcare and Montessori preschool education. However when combined with our Holiday Club they can provide nursery style all year round childcare.
How to use the map
Select an icon to show more information:
The preschools follows the Bromley school term calendar with slight differences. There are three terms each with its own cultural and preschool events. In the school breaks children can continue to go to our own holiday club, which is run in the Rushmore House premises, for children from both preschools and their siblings.
For the new starters this term is about settling in to their new preschool and making friends. Our returners are now big enough to go to Forest School which is a joint activity with children from both Rushmore House and Orpington Montessori preschool. Please request a place to ensure your child experiences this wonderful outdoor activity.
In this term we celebrate Diwali, Bonfire Night and of course Christmas. We have a Christmas Nativity Play where all children and parents are welcomed, we also organise a Christmas Party for the children.
The children are excited to get back to their preschool and be with their friends and teachers after the long Christmas break. This term we celebrate Chinese New Year, Mothers Day, Easter and Noruz, the first day of Spring.
We are privileged in our preschool to have teachers and parents from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. This helps bring our cultural celebrations to life. We encourage parents to help us celebrate cultural days that are important to them. They bring in special food and talk to children in circle time.
In the Summer term children continue to spend time in our lovely garden which has sunny areas and parts shaded by the trees which are now in full leaf. Water is always available on a table in the garden and on the snack bar in the classroom. Teachers continue presenting activities to children both individually and in small groups that are at the same stage. The older children are now prepared for Reception and are continuing to develop in all their skills.
The sports day is another opportunity for parents to visit the preschool to see their children. This is planned far in advance so working parents come and support their children in their teams. We have a Stay and Play session for parents with children starting in September to meet the teachers and for their children to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings.The Family Funday brings all parents and children together for a day of fun and games at the preschool. For children leaving the preschool there is a graduation ceremony with gown, mortar board and lots of photos.
Montessori and EYFS
The preschool program is based on the Montessori curriculum which encompasses and delivers the EYFS curriculum. Each learning area of the Montessori curriculum is supported by it’s own specialised space in the preschool. Together these spaces make the Montessori prepared environment that your child will use to satisfy their developmental needs.
Our aim at Rushmore House Montessori Preschool is to create an optimum Montessori environment to enable each child to realise their potential and to become an independent, self-motivating, informed, and compassionate member of the world community. We aspire towards excellence in the education and inner wellbeing of each child. We accomplish this by giving your child a loving, nurturing and stimulating environment. We instill in your child a passion for learning.
The minimum number of sessions your child may attend is three.
It is important your child attends regularly. If your child is ill and unable to attend the preschool let us know by phoning the office. The telephone number is in the bottom section of every page on this website.
Your child will be assigned a Key Worker who will be primarily responsible for your child's wellbeing and development.
We will keep you informed by regular newsletters which are emailed to all parents, notices on our noticeboard and website. We encourage you to communicate any concerns in the first instance with your child’s Key Worker. If necessary they can make an appointment for you to talk to the preschool manager.
Partnership with parents is how we keep in touch with parents to share knowledge and experiences. At the preschool parents have the opportunity to talk to teachers when they collect and drop off their children. The preschool notice board has a printed copy of the planned activities for the week. This is also available from the preschool's website. At least one event is held each term to give parents an opportunity to talk to their child's key worker and the preschool Manager.
Parents can track their child's progress via the My Montessori Child Parent's Website. Parents can view observations of their child's activities. This is usually a photo with a text description. Parents can see a summary chart that highlights the three main areas of the curriculum their child is active in. They can send messages to the preschool. The presence of a message is flagged up on the registration page. The website also gives parent's advice on how they can support their child's development at home.
At Rushmore House and Orpington Montessori preschool we use the "My Montessori Child" information system to manage our record keeping and next steps planning. iPads are used to access the secure web based system in the classroom.
Children enter themselves in the preschool register by selecting their photograph on the iPad as they enter the preschool.
Teachers use My Montessori Child to enter observations of the children, both photographs and written descriptions. These observations are the activities and achievements of the children. They act as both a record of what the children are achieving and are used to plan the next steps. This is much faster than making paper records so teachers can spend more time focused on the needs of the children.
Managers use My Montessori Child to see an overview of progress in the preschool and to focus on groups of children at the same level. Managers can check that next steps plans for each child in each area of development are being made and achieved.
You can use the My Montessori Child parent's secure website to view your child's recent achievements and see tips on how you can help your child at home.
All permanent staff at both Rushmore House Montessori and Orpington Montessori Preschool have been trained in Pediatric First Aid and Epi-pen.
Some of our new teachers need to be trained and our established staff's certificates were coming up for renewal. So we decided to run our own First Aid course at Rushmore House with a First Aid trainer. Because we organised the course ourselves we were able to tailor it to the needs of our preschools. This included instruction on how to use an Epi-pen and an emphasis on treating choking, CPR and anaphylaxis. We have been running our own in-house training for all of our staff since November 2004.
The EYFS states that only one person on the premises needs to be trained in Pediatric First Aid. But what if that person it not immediately available? What if they were in the outdoor play area when the emergency was in the classroom or hidden away in a storeroom? Vital seconds could be lost trying to locate the first aider. We decided to train all our staff not just to ensure that we met the EYFS requirements but so that all staff in close contact with the children would be able to provide immediate assistance to a child in need.
We need to be able to get in touch with you quickly. That is why it is important to keep your contact details up to date. Use this form to update the contact details for parents and people you have authorised to collect your children. We aim to send you an acknowledgement within 24 hours during term time. During the school breaks we may take longer because of our own family commitments and holidays.
If you are not contacted please text or phone the preschool on 07957 324314.
Government funding and tax breaks are available to help you with preschool fees.There is some funding available for 2 year old children in special circumstances. However most families do not receive government funding until the term after their child is 3 years old. There are four schemes:
FEE, or 15 hours funding
The government FEE funding is 15 hours a week. We offer this over 38 weeks for 3 to 4 year old children. This covers school term time which is why Rushmore House Montessori preschool and Orpington Montessori preschool follow the Bromley school term times. Orpington Holiday Club, which is open in the school breaks, is not eligible for this funding. More information is available on this web page:
30 hours funding
You can receive funding for 30 hours per week if both parents are working and in special circumstances if one parent is working. This funding is for children that are 3 to 4 years old. There are lots of rules for eligibility, the following web page explains them:
You will need to apply on the government website. From this application you will be told of your eligibility for both the 30 hours funding and Tax-Free Childcare. Rushmore House Montessori preschool offers 30 hours funding places, Orpington Montessori preschool does not offer this funding.
2 year old funding
Government funding for 2 year old children is available under special circumstances. These are explained in this web page:
Most families do not receive this funding.
The Tax-Free Childcare scheme replaced the former Childcare Voucher scheme. In the current scheme the government pays part of your childcare costs. This makes your childcare costs tax free. This scheme can be used to help with payments to both our preschools and Orpington Holiday Club.
Most families can use this scheme. The eligibility rules are listed here:
How to pay
The best way to pay is by internet banking. Our account details can be obtained from the preschool office and are at the bottom of each invoice. Please do NOT use these details to pay in cheques and cash via your bank. Our bank charges a fee when this is done and we will ask you to reimburse us. We also accept cheques, made payable to "Natural Learners Ltd." and cash given to a member of staff.
The minimum number of sessions attended is three per week. Requests for changes must be made in writing, email or text, all reductions in sessions, including leaving the preschool, require one full terms notice.
For information about:
FEE, or 15 hour funding
30 hours funding
2 year old funding
See: What government funding is available for preschools?
Rushmore House and Orpington Montessori Preschool are Closed.
All preschools have been told to close to help stop the spreading of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Further information is available from government websites:
Whilst we had to close the preschool we still support our children's learning journey by providing activities that children can do at home. These activities are chosen to support each child's next steps in their learning journey. Parents can save photos and record the progress of their child through the Parent's portal of our My Montessori Child system.
Getting in touch
If you are looking for a preschool for your child for September 2020 we can still answer your questions. You can get in touch by email or phone using the contact information at the bottom of this page. You can also sign up for our priority visit and preschool re-open emails:
Snack and Lunch
Your child should bring a healthy snack with them every day in a named box. This should not contain any sweets, biscuits, nuts or juice. If they are staying all day they should also bring a packed lunch. Water and milk is provided
Your child will spend time in the garden every day so make sure they have a coat, scarf, wellies. In sunny weather your child should have a hat, suitable shoes for running about and climbing and you should apply sun cream before they come into the preschool.
If your child is still using nappies you must provide two new nappies, nappy sacks and wet wipes in a named bag each day.
Attach name labels to all items of clothing and belongings so they can be easily returned to you if they become separated from your child.
This page has information about the snacks we provide your child during the day. We have a snack table where your child can sit with their friends and eat a healthy snack. Your child will be shown how to collect a plate and a cup and take food that has been prepared, for example chopped fruit, small portion of pita bread, cucumber slices. The preparation of the food is an activity in it's self. Each day the teacher on snack table duty will invite a couple of children to sit with her and prepare the food for the class. You child will be encouraged to use a knife, fork and spoon. Sitting with a teacher and their friends the teacher talk to them about their snack, remind them of any rules they may have forgotten such as washing their hands before they eat, pushing their chair in when they leave the table and washing their plate and cup when they are finished.
What is in our snacks