The Montessori equipment, additional games and supplementary equipment are instrumental in supporting children’s learning through incremental developmental steps.  Children take turns at choosing games for the small group to play.  Our teachers use these opportunities to foster learning and with five teachers there is a lot of teacher child engagement with games that are FUN.  When children are inside and engaged in ‘work-time’ games there are also areas of free play available such as free art, play dough, and puzzles.  Children at Horizons are free to choose their own activities, to try new challenges, learn new skills and develop new interests.  Older children participate in formal activities such as writing, maths, language development, scissor skills and transition to school activities at a separate table known as the extension table.  Younger children who wish to participate are also encouraged to join in.  Learning is so much fun at Horizons that children are eager to be part of activities.

The monthly programme focus is based around children’s interests and is a mixture of planned and emergent activities based on our observations of children.  Whenever possible visitors are invited to attend the preschool to further develop the children’s interests.  Visitors often include family members and our local community members with whom we have established relationships over the years.  The programme is evaluated each month, with input from the children about their highlights and new knowledge.  This discussion with the children usually shows the direction for the next month’s programme, or may be determined by exciting coming events, or areas children show an interest in investigating further.  Each programme is inter-related, evaluated and has strong links to Te Whāriki, and the Montessori curriculum.

Practical Life

Spooning, pouring, plant care, buttoning, zipping, threading, personal care skills.

  • manual dexterity
  • hand-eye co-ordination
  • orderly process
  • sequencing
  • concentration
  • completion of a cycle of activity
  • personal satisfaction in doing the activity
  • completion in a variety of tasks leading to independence


Colours, shapes, sound, weight, puzzles, dimensions, blocks, discrimination. Each piece of equipment has:

  • isolation of quality (introduces only one new stimulus at a time)
  • possibility of activity (is a task/activity to be completed)
  • possibility for repetition (can be done as many times as necessary (“practice”)
  • control of error (each child can ascertain error and correct without being told it is wrong)
  • possibility for independent learning (child can choose the activity and curriculum area)
  • limited function (only one specific aim, one of each activity)
  • good quality (attractive and durable apparatus)
  • precise measurement (as a basis for mathematics e.g the Pink Tower has cubes 1 cubic cm to 10 cubic cm’s).
  • correlation of shape or size, and weight (as practical for the child).
  • possibility for learning precise vocabulary.


  • Pre-reading activities, e.g object matching, picture matching, object sorting and matching, picture stories, picture classification, initial sound pictures.
  • Preparation for handwriting.  Control of pencil through geometric drawing inset activities, forms of letters such as tracing sandpaper letters, upper and lower case letters, rhythmic writing patterns.
  • Preparation for spelling, e.g sounds of letters, spelling phonetic words, building three letter and then longer words using objects and pictures and the movable alphabet, spelling words containing phonograms.
  • Preparation for reading, e.g sounds and forms of letters, three letter phonetic words,  verb and noun cards, phonetic reading books followed with emergent reading books.
  • Preparation for grammar, e.g parts of speech and function.


  • Rote counting (saying the numbers in sequence).
  • Tally counting (counting the objects in sequence).
  • Written symbols.
  • Association between fixed quantities and separate symbols.
  • Association of loose quantities and fixed symbols and introduction to zero.
  • Association of loose quantities and separate symbols.
  • Concepts of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
  • General concepts (e.g thick, thin, tall) and specific concepts (e.g length, area, volume).
  • Geometry e.g geometric shapes, squares and cubes of binomial, attribute blocks and fraction circles.
  • Concepts of the decimal system: 1000, 100, 10, 1.
  • Composition and decomposition of numbers.
  • Learning the teens and tens.
  • Association of numerical cards, word cards and quantities: 1-9, 11-19, 10-90
  • Linear and skip counting
  • Measurement, money and time.

Environmental Studies

Geography, e.g people of the world, land and water globe, continent globe, land and water forms, puzzle map of the world, introduction to compass directions, national flags, the weather, climate and environment and the solar system.

Biology, e.g pre-reading classification pictures, leaf shapes, flower shapes, external parts of plants and animals including fish, bird, insect, mammal, amphibian, reptile and mollusc.

Pure science, e.g sorting substances, classification (animal, mineral, vegetable), properties of substances, changing the forms of substances, and experiments.

History, e.g introduction to time, seasons, days of the week, months of the year, time line of a year, dinosaurs, and the teaching clock.

Cultural subjects, e.g art and craft, art appreciation, free expression, music and movement, literature (stories, poetry, drama, puppets), bi-cultural and multi cultural New Zealand.

Also: sand, water, clay, obstacle courses, carpentry, family corner, adventure playground, cooking and playdough.

Apply for a space now

Fill in our registration form now online to reserve a spot in the Horizons Montessori family.