Scuola Materna is an Italian immersion Montessori program for children 3 years 8 months to under 6 years old (as of this September). Starting in September 2020, Scuola will also be licensed by the Ontario Ministry in order to enable enrollment for children as young as 2.5 years old who are toilette trained.
Recognized by the Italian government as an authentic Italian preschool, the Scuola Materna at Leonardo Da Vinci is the only such program in Canada. Teachers are Montessori trained and have qualifications from Italian language institutions. Children immersed in the Italian language and culture at an early age benefit from a strong foundation in languages. Scuola Materna graduates are not only more fluent in Italian but are very well prepared for the Academy’s Early Elementary Montessori program.
Our Scuola Materna is a bright, beautiful place furnished with Montessori materials for the complete development of the child. There is a harmony of light and colour with a refinement of spirit. The children advance through the materials from simple to complex, building on previous accomplishments. The exercises encourage orderly thought, independence, and autonomy. There is a three-year age mix in the classroom – ages may range from 2 years 9 months to 6 years. This allows the children to learn from each other while working at their own speed. Children are free to work together, in groups or alone.
The Scuola Materna is a loving, stimulating, and nurturing environment enriched with a full range of Montessori materials to explore and learn from. The main goal of our Scuola Materna classroom is to provide a carefully planned and stimulating environment to help your child develop the habits, attitudes and skills necessary for a healthy and fulfilling life in the true spirit of Montessori while developing fluency in Italian Language and culture.
When the Leonardo Da Vinci Academy opened its Scuola Materna in 1991, the first in Canada, Agazzi was the inspiration and driving philosophy. Rosa Agazzi influenced the reform of Early Childhood Education in Italy when in 1896, along with her sister, she founded the first Scuola Materna preschool of Mompiano (Brescia).
The school served as a model for other kindergartens and preschools throughout Italy that later adopted the Agazzi methodology. The Agazzi method respects the spontaneity and personal experiences of the child and the classroom is seen as a community of learners engaged in a variety of activities that foster a natural development of each child through creative play and social interaction. This methodology preceded and influenced the popular Reggio-Emilia approach which has been embraced in North America and which shares many elements with our own preschools.
As Leonardo Da Vinci Academy expanded to include a greater Montessori component, the Montessori methodology was also implemented in the Lower Elementary Grades and Scuola Materna preschool. Scuola Materna adopted the Montessori model starting in 2008. Due to common origins and approaches, the transformation of Scuola Materna from an Agazzi to a Montessori classroom was a smooth and natural transition.
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