- Child's Day at Otrada
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If children are living in an adult environment, they are dependent on adults. For a small child even to open the door could be challenging. At IMC Otrada a child enters the room himself, opening his own a small door, which is just his size. For him this means, “I am entering the school. This is my school, a place, that was created for me”.
From the very beginning the building and classrooms were designed to be proportionate to the child. There are low, small sinks and toilets, which can be easily used even by toddlers, and everything for children in order to do as much of work as they can themselves. Chairs, tables, bookshelves, even a dishwasher are proportionate to the child.
Being in this appropriately sized environment, your child becomes independent and self-assured. At our center children themselves set the table, wash the dishes, and hang their clothes in the closet after coming back from a walk.
Children themselves choose their activities and organize the environment around them. In the classroom there are lots of different plants, which children themselves take care for, including a Venus flytrap, which is intriguing for children.
When a child doesn’t have to worry about reaching something or putting a lot of effort to reach it, his mind is free for other, more important things. The early years in child’s development play a key role, and our purpose is to create an environment in which everything supports holistic development.
Spacious and light-filled classrooms with authentic Montessori materials of the highest quality become powerful tools for learning and development. Placing the materials in the environment is the task of our AMI-certified teachers. Their purpose is to organize space in the best way for productive work and play.
The building of the International Montessori Center at Otrada was designed with the collaborative participation of experienced Montessori pedagogues, architects, and interior designers. Their purpose was to create a place full of warmth and light, where the environment will promote child development in a safe and comfortable setting.
The building has 8-meter high panoramic windows, is equipped with air conditioning, and has soft lighting and attention to the last interior detail. Engineered systems regulate the temperature precisely by keeping it at 22 ° C and humidity at 50%.
Only natural materials were used in the construction of the building: natural stone of lime stone and Brazilian slate, wood of oak and pine, and a mosaic made out of glass and natural stone.
Heated floors in all of the facilities mean that children are free to play and crawl on the floor. The environment needs to be safe, so there are no sockets or wires within reach, but the children can easily reach the light switch in the toilets and in the reading zone.
Panoramic windows provide natural light which is optimal for working with Montessori materials. For example, when working with the colored tablets, a material in which children need to find the matching pair or make a gradation of colors from lightest to darkest, natural light gives optimal conditions for working with this material and enhances the child’s sensorial development.
We know how much children like to observe the view from the window. Their view from our huge windows includes a forest of trees and horses passing by. This creates a calm mood, which stays with children no matter the activity. As the child is reading, or working with materials the math area, or painting, birds and butterflies are passing by the window.
Immediately surrounding the center is our own playground, spacious, safe, and fenced. The playground is equipped for physical development (large motor and hand-eye coordination) and active games, such as balancing beams, swings, slides, sandboxes etc.
In Montessori, focus placed on scientific research of the natural world. In our courtyard we have beds for growing vegetables, flowers and other plants, and a place to produce compost from organic waste. All these activities give children an understanding about our connection to, and processes in, nature.
At summer, when the weather is good, the doors of the classrooms can be opened to the terrace, where there are chairs and tables, which the children can use to work outside. They can take a small brush and sweep the leaves, or bring a carpet outside to work with Montessori materials in the sunshine.