26 March 2020
 ONLINE MATERIAL TO BE MADE AVAILABLE
At AMIGA we distinguish ourselves from other childcare centres because we truly believe an outstanding education is essential in determining a child’s future opportunities and wellbeing. We consider that this belief is shared by all the parents that choose to attend our centres.
As such, from the end of next week we will be making available ONLINE MONTESSORI MATERIALS for your children to complete at home. This will allow your children to continue to learn and grow during this essential stage of their development. These online materials will be given to all parents enrolled in our centres. They will be provided through our online learning portal Tapestry. Materials will be provided each Monday and Wednesday. More information about the specifics of this program will become available at the end of this week. Together our community will endure through the coronavirus, and we believe this measure will ensure the least disruption to your children’s growth and development during this time.
 POSSIBILITY OF A STAGE THREE LOCKDOWN
Recent correspondence from the Victorian government has raised the possibility that a move towards a stage three lockdown within Victoria may occur. This would include the forced closure of childcare centres. In this scenario, we would be required to shut our doors, send all children home and stand down all our staff until the lockdown is lifted. There is no concrete information yet as to whether this lockdown will occur, when this would happen nor how long it would last.
In the event of a lockdown:
- All enrolled children will retain their spot in the Centre;
- They will continue to receive online learning materials; and
- All GAP FEES WILL BE WAIVED.
In this scenario, though parents will pay no out-of-pocket fees:
- Children will continue their learning via our online materials despite no fees being paid by parents;
- AMIGA will continue to receive essential CCS funding from the Government for each child enrolled, to pay our staff, and
- Our community will endure through this trying time.
 HEALTH AND HYGIENE:
At AMIGA, the physical and psychological health and well being of our children and staff are always our primary concern. In order to mitigate the risks posed by the current COVID-19 situation, we have increased our already stringent hygiene and safety measures to protect our staff and children.
The measures we have implemented include:
Introducing mandatory temperature and health checks on each child upon arrival. This is an unprecedented preventative measure that will achieve a far greater degree of safety
- Adhering to our robust public health approved infection control procedures, with ongoing training for all staff
- The provision of hand sanitisers upon arrival and throughout the centre
- Heightened enforcement of children and staff hygiene, such as regular and thorough hand washing in-line with Government advice
- Our centres have always been, and will continue to be cleaned with hospital grade cleaning products by experienced teams at the conclusion of each day
- Some children may be feeling a heightened sense of anxiety or stress during this time. However, enabling them to continue with their normal schooling routine in their familiar environment will lessen these effects. In addition, our staff are trained to speak with children calmly and reassuringly about any form of stress or anxiety they may be suffering.
Exclusion Policies and Social Distancing:
- The suspension of all incursions and excursions for the foreseeable future, and the exclusion of all non-essential visitors
- The enforcement of social distancing for all essential-visitors, including ensuring they do not remain in the centre for longer than necessary
- Enforcing a strict exclusion policy for children or staff that exhibit any cold or flu like symptoms
- Enforcing a strict exclusion policy for any child or staff member where they:
- have recently returned from overseas; or
- have had contact with someone who recently returned from overseas
- Requiring written medical clearance from a treating doctor for any child or staff member who has previously exhibited cold or flu like symptoms prior to their return to the Centre
What Is the Montessori Method ?
Montessori is a method of teaching developed by Dr Maria Montessori in 1907. Her educational methods are based on scientific observations of children’s natural learning tendencies and willingness to learn in prepared environments. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed the “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities.
What is a Prepared Montessori Environment ?
Each classroom is divided into 5 main areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Cultural Enrichment, all of which are designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child.
What is a Montessori Practical Life Area ?
Young children respond to practical life materials and exercises which allows them to:
- develop physical coordination (pouring, scooping and sorting activities);
- develop care for themselves (personal hygiene, dressing activities, grace and courtesy);
- develop care for the environment (looking after the classroom, looking after the garden); and
- learn the skills of washing a table and food preparation to develop hand-eye coordination.
What is a Montessori Sensorial Area ?
The Montessori sensorial materials provide a range of activities and exercises for children to experience the natural order of the physical environment, including such attributes as size, color, shape and dimension. Examples of these materials are:
- the pink tower (series of ten sequential cubes, varying in volume);
- knobbed cylinders (wooden blocks with 10 depressions to fit variable sized cylinders);
- broad stairs (ten wooden blocks, sequentially varying in two dimensions); and
- color tablets (colored objects for matching pairs or grading shapes of color).
What is a Montessori Mathematics Area ?
In the Montessori Mathematics Area, the materials experienced by the children demonstrate such basic concepts as numeration, place value, addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. For numeration, there is a set of ten rods, with segments colored red and blue and “spindle boxes”, which consist of placing sets of objects in groups, 1–10, into separate compartments. For learning the numeral symbols, there is a set of sandpaper numerals, 1–9. For learning addition, subtraction, and place value, materials provide decimal representation of 1, 10, 100, etc., in various shapes made of beads, plastic, or wood. Beyond the basic maths materials, there are materials to show the concept of fractions, geometrical relationships and algebra, such as the binomial and trinomial theorems.
What is a Montessori Language Area ?
Montessori language materials provide experiences to develop use of a writing instrument and the basic skills of reading a written language. For writing skill development, the metal pencil insets provide essential exercises to guide the child’s hand in following different outline shapes while using a pencil. For reading, a set of individual letters, commonly known as sandpaper letters, provide the basic means for associating the individual letter symbols with their corresponding phonetic sounds. When the child is proficient with the majority of the sounds, he or she can create words using moveable letters from the “moveable alphabet”. When the childs’ hand is strong enough from using the metal pencil insets and other materials, he or she may write words with a pencil using the shapes he or she learned from the sandpaper letters. Following writing with the movable alphabet, the child begins to read words. Montessori language materials have also been developed to help children learn grammar, including parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, articles, prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions and pronouns.
What is a Montessori Cultural Subjects Area ?
The Montessori classroom may also include cultural subject materials and resources which allows the child to learn subjects such as:
- geography (map puzzles, globes, cultural suitcases containing country-specific materials);
- science, such as biology, which includes the naming and organizing of plants and animals; and
- music and art.
What are the Montessori Materials for Development ?
The items found on the shelves in the classroom are referred to “materials” rather than “toys.” The children “work with the materials” rather than “play with the toys.” This allows the children to gain the most benefit from the environment by giving them a sense of worth. In the Montessori classroom, learning materials are arranged invitingly on low, open shelves. Children may choose whatever materials they would like to use and may work for as long as the material holds his or her interest. When they are finished with each material, they return it to the shelf from which it came. The materials are also self-correcting. When a piece does not fit or is left over, the child easily perceives the error. There is no need for adult “correction”, resulting in the child being able to solve problems independently, building self-confidence, analytical thinking and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment.
AMIGA Montessori sets itself apart from other child care service providers in that it offers a structured learning platform to stimulate and nurture young minds. The proven and acclaimed Montessori philosophy and system, is delivered under a structured curriculum including practical life skills, sensorial experiences, mathematics, language (including reading and writing), cultures and sciences.
The scientifically based Montessori method was developed by Dr Maria Montessori, a graduate of the University of Rome, in 1890. Dr Montessori became the first woman to enter medical school in Italy. With the theme of Education and Peace, Dr Montessori ultimately received her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949.
Our highly skilled team of teachers and centre staff are trained to deliver the highest quality Montessori education for your child, in an engaging, safe and stimulating environment.
When you visit one of our centres you will immediately see the difference in our learning model. We encourage families and children to see our centres for themselves and welcome centre tours. If Dr Montessori’s scientific research doesn’t convince you, come and experience it for yourself.