In line with the beginnings of the original John Scottus Primary School in 1985, John Scottus Old Conna began with a pilot school in September 2018. Ironically we had four children in 1985 and we had four children in 2018. Because the most recent set up involved children of mixed ages, we looked to the Montessori system to help us get off to the most propitious start. It turned out to be profoundly useful and has inspired us to incorporate some of the Montessori Principles in our Primary and Pre-School starting in 2019.
Maria Montessori’s emphasis on learning as being a uniquely individual journey fits in very well with the ethos of John Scottus School. Our new Primary will be open to children from three to twelve years of age. As we have done in the past, we aim to provide the children with an education, which draws on the best within them and equips them to live a life that is satisfying, challenging and in touch with a deep and unwavering self-confidence. The Montessori method enables us to do this even more effectively than we have done in the past because it gives us a way to care for the mixed age groups. The advantage of small mixed aged classes relates to the developmental periods in a child’s life. In terms of school experience 3-6 is the first phase, then 6-9 and the 9-12 period completes the Primary School experience. Allowing children the space to reach particular milestones over longer periods honours each child’s unique journey of learning. The pilot scheme showed us that when children learn at their own pace, pressures are relieved and obstacles, normally considered as inevitable, can be overcome. Montessori discovered this in her original school and saw amazing progress among her pupils. Some of these pupils had anything but a propitious start to their lives.
The combination of Montessori methods with the philosophy and ethos of John Scottus promises to be a dynamic feature of our Primary and Pre-school education on offer in September 2019.