Jo’s School Beginnings

The Foundation celebrates the life of Joanne Lesley Warrington (1975–2004), a talented and dedicated Montessori pre-primary school teacher with a profound love of small children. Jo’s School helps those who were closest to her heart.

Jo’s School opened its doors in October 2010 to its first little pupils from Vrygrond, a disadvantaged community near Muizenburg, plagued by unemployment and drug and alcohol abuse. Jo’s School has gone from strength to strength and is now a well-run, fully equipped, Montessori pre-school for 50+ Aids-affected and vulnerable 3 to 6 year olds and a wonderful celebration of Jo’s precious life. These children are a constant source of inspiration to us. Truly against all odds they come to school each day and embrace all that is Jo’s School and are happy in the stimulating, secure and caring environment created for them by our dedicated staff. – Yvonne Brown

MONTESSORI METHOD

Children learn best when they are enthusiastically engaged with purposeful materials/activities, rather than being fed information. Maria Montessori realised that in order to properly educate the young child, we need to focus on the “whole” child, and allow him opportunities and skills to develop his physical, intellectual/cognitive, language, emotional, social and spiritual growth. Montessori classrooms have mixed aged groups (0-3 years, 3-6 years, 6-9 years, etc.) which allow the younger ones to learn from the older ones either through observations or the older ones showing them how to do an activity. It gives the older ones a sense of responsibility, purpose and determination to help and model the appropriate behaviour. It likewise gives the older ones a sense of pride and allows them to validate and consolidate their knowledge.

MONTESORI PRINCIPLES

Jo's School is a supportive community that champions respect.

We focus on scholastic development, personal growth, and ethical enrichment.
Below are a few principles of the Montessori method:

• Follow the child – observe the child to find out what their needs and interests are.
• Respect and encourage the child’s sensitive periods and absorbent mind.
• Allow the child the freedom of choice – this means that children are free to choose what they are going to work with.
Freedom within limits – damaging, breaking, or abusing of materials is not acceptable behaviour. As long as they are not
causing any harm to themselves, or others, allow the child the freedom to explore their environment.
• Children learn best when they are actively engaged in the activity. Allow children as much hands-on experience in order
for them to absorb information.
• All equipment, tables, chairs, shelves, etc. need to be child size and real (glass, wood, etc. – as little plastic as possible).
• The environment needs to be neat, attractive and orderly. The materials/activities need to be whole/complete or
they need to be removed from the shelf.
• When a child is involved and concentrating on an activity it is important not to interrupt or correct them.
• Montessori does not believe in rewards or punishment. Children are motivated by their own inner drive and
determination, the activity/result is all a child needs to feel a sense of satisfaction.

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