As a natural progression from the Preparatory School, children graduate to the larger campus that also accommodates the Grammar School in Stoneygate, Leicester.
In this way, children are introduced to a more formal academic setting, whilst a protective environment is maintained. Not only does this allow them to benefit from the facilities of the Grammar School and the experience of its teachers, it eases the transition to Grammar school education later. Through their individual class teacher, all children are monitored and assessed continuously, in cooperation and consultation with all staff by whom they are taught.
This, we believe, is the most crucial period of an individual’s personal development. It is important that children of this age be placed into an environment in which they are shown kindness, warmth, self-control and humility - in short, one in which they can feel secure, productive and happy.
Pupils who are happy at school try hard; if they try hard, then they succeed, and if they succeed then their self-esteem rises and success comes more easily.
Our aim is to nurture your children into becoming confident and able students.
Many of the attitudes that have been fostered earlier during the Upper Preparatory years are extended and exploited as the learning experience broadens. As formal grading of tests and essays begins, children will learn to refine the demands they make upon themselves. Success and effort are recognised and rewarded by the ‘Merit-Mark’ scheme and appointment to House Captain or Prefect.
The School Day
The school opens to receive children at 8am, and formal lesson time ends at 3:30pm. They may remain after this time in the charge of the School for recreational activities and clubs, to be collected by 5:30pm when the School closes. Children spend most of their school day with their form teacher, who will be the first point of contact for the parent.
There are seven lesson periods per day, although it will be only occasionally that the children venture to a classroom other than their own form, to visit specialist teachers for subjects such as Information Technology and foreign languages. This gives an opportunity for the children to become more independent, whilst retaining the security and stability of the single-class environment. The children are served a nutritious snack at mid-morning breaktime, a hot lunch, and a light snack at mid-afternoon.
Communication Skills and Courtesy
Effective social interaction is encouraged by the maintenance of high standards of courtesy from children as they interact with teachers and with each other. Behaviour is monitored during recreational periods as well as in the classroom, without being oppressive or inhibiting the children’s self-expression.
It is the aim of the Schools that a smooth path through the child’s educational development be created by allowing the transition between schools to be as seamless as possible.
A commonality between campuses of both staff and students encourages prior familiarity with the next stage of education as pupils progress. Rather than becoming fearful of the change to a new educational environment, children are often eager to embrace a Grammar School for which they are already prepared. Their prior exposure to a formal timetable of lessons lends great advantage to the children as they enter the Grammar school and its structured environment. They will be familiar with the staff whose lessons they will attend, and who are now able to introduce them to more specific material that will, perhaps in short order, lead to a formal examination grade at GCSE or Certificate of Achievement.
Another of the many benefits of continuous progress between schools is the consistency of contact between teachers and parents, and between one teacher and another as a child passes from class to class. The small size of the teaching and tutor groups allows staff to maintain close monitoring of the young students, effective communication of assessment and continued progress of each child.
Core Subjects and the National Curriculum
Whilst adhering to the Key Stage structure, it is the opinion of the School that the aim of the education of a young child is twofold - it should prepare the student for rigorous study of well-defined academic subject areas, whilst allowing broader development of personal interests and talents. The prominence of English language and Mathematics is maintained, with the expectation that these skills will ease study across the entire curriculum.
Health and Safety
The development of ‘common sense’ and instinctive regard for personal safety is recognised as a crucial part of the education of a young child. Teachers take every opportunity to demonstrate awareness of hazards and instruct the children in these areas throughout the school day.
The Leicester Montessori School is strong academically, and achieves impressive results at all age levels. At the root of this success is the size of the classes. Even by Independent Sector standards, class numbers are very small. At the time of writing, for example, the average class size in the age range between 5 and 11 is between 12 and 15 children. In comparison, the present government has undertaken to reduce set sizes for younger children to 30 or less in the state sector over the next few years. At GCSE and in the Sixth Form, class sizes are smaller still, because of the different options open to the students. The consequence is that the children receive individual attention, and can develop at their own optimal pace.
The government’s White Paper on education (1997) concedes that “Research evidence shows the importance of class size. Smaller classes mean teachers can spend more time identifying each child’s individual needs and difficulties”. At The Leicester Montessori School, teachers do not have to teach at the pace of the ‘average’ pupil and each individual child can be coaxed towards the achievement of his or her own potential. Children who accelerate through the curriculum are helped and encouraged to excel, and a student of ‘A’ grade potential is expected to fulfil such potential. Equally, the school is extremely proud of the success of its less able students.