Children at Casa look happy and at ease as they move about freely. Teachers gently step in to show them how something is done or help them make good choices. The Nido (under-3s) and Casa (2 ½ - 6 years) environments are organised and attractively minimal spaces with a large variety of activities that appeal to the distinct interests of each age group.
All children have a regular daily routine incorporating long, uninterrupted blocks of free play and rich indoor and outdoor environments. There is also a dedicated quiet room so they can have a sleep when they need to. The large walled garden features natural elements and open-ended play materials. Children love the risky play opportunities and use loose parts such as logs, tyres and planks to create their own physical challenges and social play. Group activities centre on practical projects like cooking or making festive ornaments.
Sustainability is a big part of Casa’s ethos, and the setting is run with a zero-waste agenda affecting all aspects including nappies, cleaning methods and food. Toddlers and pre-schoolers get involved in recycling and repurposing materials and learning about where food comes from. With veggie beds and fruit trees, Casa children grow their own while attracting insects and birds so they can learn about ecosystems first-hand. Local outings are planned as extensions of the classroom topics, which in turn follow the children’s interests and the seasons.
Casa’s social responsibility extends to their highly qualified team, who work democratically with every teacher leading in their area of expertise. A strong respectful communication policy integral to Montessori practice means teachers are responsive to the child’s inner drive, and nurture social skills through day to day activities such as food preparation, setting the table and taking care of the classroom, of themselves and each other.
Within the security of this consistent approach children in their critical early years can develop their fullest potential, equipping themselves as productive, world-embracing citizens.