How does sport fit into the Montessori environment? Montessori education does not teach through competition because competition encourages reliance on an external reference point for value and self-worth. Instead, Montessori focuses on the development of self-awareness, self-discipline and the joy of independence, without the need to “win” and defeat someone else in order to achieve success.
Montessori does, however, encourage healthy living, optimal physical development and social development through group activities. Fitness, physical activity and having fun by being part of a team are all part of the Montessori curriculum. At RMS, we use a number of approaches to ensure all our children and students can have healthy active lives.
We use Sporting Schools to expose children to different kinds of sports, including cricket, soccer, gymnastics, lawn bowls, badminton and athletics. Sporting Schools is a $320 million Australian Government initiative designed to help schools increase children’s participation in sport and connect them with community sport opportunities. The Sporting Schools programs are provided free to children and their families to help individuals build the confidence and capability to be active for life.
Staff have been given additional professional development support in delivering the physical education component of the curriculum using the Montessori method. Montessori Sports is an international training organisation with an inclusive, skill-based approach sports. It starts with the fundamental concept of the prepared environment and applies that concept to individual team sports, again without the need for competition. Staff have learnt to develop their prepared sport environment to enhance the physical, emotional and spiritual development of children using Montessori principles.
We are very fortunate to have wonderful staff who have superb coaching and sports development skills which they use outside the Montessori environment. These staff are supported to provide opportunities for the children who are interested in developing their skills in a sport, and we then arrange events with other schools to foster social development. A good example of this is the voluntary lunch time basketball program. This was initiated by some children who were playing basketball out of school hours and other children who were interested in the sport. One of our fantastic Education Assistants, Regan, is a basketball coach. She worked with the interested children at lunch time. The group then travelled to Blue Gum Montessori School to participate in a round robin carnival. This group also included DeLaRay, an Adolescent Program student, who took on the role of coach for one group. The key drivers for this event were participation and fun. It was great to see more experienced players provide opportunities for children who were still learning the sport, and the RMS children support the Blue Gum children so that everyone had a chance to play defence, make middle passes and shoot for goal.
Lastly, we enjoy the achievement of all the RMS individuals – children, young people and adults – who pursue their passions out of school hours. To that end, we are thrilled that several current and former RMS individuals will be representing the Rockingham Flames Basketball Club in the State Championships: Upper Primary Students, Val, Isaac, Aiden and Eamon, Adolescent Program Students Jayke, GianLuca, and Dean-Dupri.
Jodi Kerslake – Primary Program Coordinator