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The Stepping Stones Montessori is established in year 1990 . Our teaching methods are based on the Montessori Method. Stepping Stones Montessori is geared toward the child completely. Currently we have 30 students in our school .At Stepping Stones Montessori, we are fully equipped with only Montessori learning materials so the child can reap the full benefits from the Montessori Method. Our group directresses (teachers) are experienced and fully trained Montessori diploma holders and each child is constantly given attention. We engage with 10 children to one directress (teacher). Much care and thought has been taken to ensure an environment that will keep the child happy, secure, comfortable and enthusiastic in the vital growing and learning years. 1 Montessori Teaching is a scientific new way of being committed to laws of nature with children to support their true natural development. This distinctive new education first emerged from the scientific research and discoveries of Dr. Maria Montessori who had observed young children in Rome, Italy in the early 1900s. Montessori teaching provides an orderly arrangement of selfteaching materials that allows children to learn in a completely free and independent manner. All the children have a perfect inner guidance for their own true self-directed normal development and they want to learn in their own pace. Montessori teaching originated from Dr. Maria Montessoris experience in Rome, Italy in 1907. . She is one of the most influential pioneers in the early childhood education, which combines a philosophy with a practical approach based on the central idea of freedom for the child within a carefully planned and structured environment. When Dr Maria observed young children in an

exact scientific manner; she discovered that children consistently returned to a state of complete self discipline, order and harmony with their surroundings. Montessori Curriculum The academic curriculum for young children is generally organized under four categories:
1. Practical Life Exercises : It provides an opportunity for purposeful work and will assist

children in their physical , emotional and social development underlined in the Foundation Stage Curriculum. The Practical Life material includes exercises in care of self, care of the environment and social graces
2. Sensorial Materials: These activities are designed to reinforce the five senses to help

guide the children in learning to discriminate, clarify and compare. It helps intellectual development in an orderly manner. Teach children to distinguish basic attributes of nature such as size, dimension, colours and shapes.
3. Number Works Materials :

These materials are designed to give the child a sound

understanding of numbers and their relationship. Teaching of concepts such as numeration, place value and basic operation of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.
4. Language Materials:

Young children have a phenomenal ability to absorb language

.Material and exercises for learning the basic skills of reading and writing.

Art & Craft: It helps the child to gain knowledge and understanding of the world. Creativity is fundamental to successful learning.


Analysis of Management Practices

Management is defined as the pursuit of organizational goals efficiently and effectively by integrating the work of people through four basic functions of management namely planning, organizing, leading and controlling the organizations resources. As we have seen in the Pyramid Power Levels and Areas of Management there are three levels of management namely; top managers, middle managers and first line manager. In Stepping Stones Montessori, our Principal is the Top Manager who coordinates our work activities to accomplish our goals. Every one of us has responsibility and plays an important role in achieving our goals.

Planning: Setting of goals and decide how to achieve them

Organizing: Arrangement of tasks, people and other resources to accomplish work

Controlling: Monitoring performance, comparing it with goals and taking corrective action as needed

Leading: Motivating, directing people to work hard to achieve the organizations goal

Figure 2.0:

The Management Process

In order to achieve our goal, a strategic plan (planning) is set by top level management and middle level management of the school for the school organization to stay in focus on the objectives for the organization as a whole.



Planning can be defined as setting goals and how you are going to achieve them. Planning also involve coping with uncertainty by formulating future courses of action to achieve specific result. Planning is used together with strategic management and evolves from the companys vision and missions. It keeps people in the organization enthusiastic and interested by helping them to see how their works contribute to the overall group effort. It is the simple aim of the strategic planning. In the Stepping Stones Montessori Organization, the strategic plan is done by the top managers, middle level manager (principal of the school) and first line managers (teachers). Meanwhile, operational planning is done by the first-line managers (teachers) of the organization. The strategic plan was implemented when the school was reopened on January 2010. A One year strategic plan was introduced to the teachers, where it consists of our new budget, projected number of children and one year curriculum plan. Additionally, Middle level manager (the principal of the school) reminded the first line managers (all the teaching staff) the mission, vision, aim and objectives of the organization (Stepping Stones Montessori). Planning helps the organization to check their progress toward their goals. The principal can foresee the future of Stepping Stones Montessori. Besides that it also allows the manager to deal with uncertainty (unpleasant contingencies plan) caused by the external factors (Environmental changes ). The most important thing for the Top manager or the principal of school is that they must set their goals, aims, objectives according to the SMART idea. The top manager (principal) will know what she is doing and the act of committing them to paper embeds them in her thoughts, thus they become part of the instinctive way she think.

Strategic management is the process that involves the principal from all parts of the organization in the formulation and the implementation of strategies and strategic goals. Strategic management helps Stepping Stones Montessori to develop sustainable competitive advantages by being responsible to children, being innovative, providing quality product (eg. our teaching material/quality) and being effective. The figure 2.0.1 shows the five steps in the strategic management process.

Establish The Mission & The Vision

Establish The Grand Strategy

Carry out Formulate Strategy Plans The Strategic Plan Maintain Strategic Control

Feedback loop

Figure 2.0.1:The Strategic-Management Process Stepping Stones Montessori strategy plan has been develop by the working group chaired by our Director Puan Jamaliah Bte Othman, our Principal Puan Nodeeza Bte Kamarudin and directress (Teachers).

Aims and Goal The early years lay the foundation for all future learning and it has great significance in childrens life. Our school provides Montessori program that caters to individual needs of each child because each child is unique and develops at their own pace through development stages and different learning styles. Our aims are to: 1. Provide a warm, caring and stimulating environment in which children can develop the skill needed to help them to reach their full potential. 2. Make learning a joyful and exciting experience . Our Visions We in Stepping Stones Montessori are committed in emphasizing the needs of children and families at the center of everything we do. All of our children deserve to have the best start in like and what they experience in their earliest years is key to their success in adulthood. The following are some of Stepping Stones Montessori visions.

To create interest in whatever work a child is doing ( based on Dr Maria Montessoris vision) . According to Dr. Maria Montessori, as soon as children find something that interests them , they lose their instability and learn to concentrate.

To be leading educational institution in Johor Bahru and in Malaysia generally with excellent services and total commitment to each childs development and their individual requirements.

To help the child to be normalized and be prepared to face the real world.

Our mission: Our mission is to maintain the rich Montessori tradition by providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive program and child development services based on the Montessori Method of Education. (children, teacher and parents for success our chidren) Our commitment We want our Montessori children to develop the learning capabilities naturally and effortlessly with an aim to build a strong sense of self confidence and independence in the child ; without pain and tear. It is in-line with Dr Maria Montessori concept: respects the child as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other. Our Action Plan To realize our aims we have developed an action plan where each specified outcome to broken down into a series of principal tasks. Strategic Plan should be a continual process with the monitoring and control procedures providing the information for the development current and future strategic plan.

SWOT analysis of Stepping Stones

SWOT analysis is a very useful technique in looking at the overall future of an organization as well as considering the launch of a new marketing activity. SWOT analysis covers four aspects of which the first two considerations at the internal workings of the organization and another two aspects are external environment. Strengths

Stepping Stone Montessori is well established in Johor Baharu for more than 18years and located in a private land where we have big space to organize outdoor activities.

Montessori teaching has become very popular amongst the parents because it broadly reflects an adult function of observing children with freedom in a prepared environment. Montessori teaching has been in market for more than 30years in Malaysia and more than a century European counties ; in Italy, France, England, Spain, Australia and many other country.

Our teachers are experienced and our senior teachers are fully trained Montessori diploma holder and each child is constantly given attention. Our Teachers are

encourage to update their know in the preschool education where they will attend short seminar or courses conducted by International Montessori Society of the States of America, Ministry of Education Malaysia ( Bahagian Pembanguan Kurikulum). Weakness

Montessori teaching materials are very expensive. We are small organization, dont have big budget for future planning. Very difficult to get well trained Montessori teachers.


Parents are looking for the best learning system / method which is in-line with our governments idea to educate our young children. Our Ministry of Education is also planning to have continuous skill-based learning program which means more new programs will be introduced to our young children in year to come.This will create more opportunities to other people to open new preschool and Monterssori school.

Threats There is many other well established Montessori and with big organization, which means this organization will more capital and they will expand the business. Tadika Sri Mekar is one of them, it is located in Kajang . There many more in Klang Valley. These big Montessori school will have big capital and will open few branches all over Malaysia.

Figure : SWOT analysis

Once we have described the threats, the opportunities, the strengths and the weakness of the company, we can construct the SWOT matrix. Matrix let us visualize and summarized the present situation of the company. Stepping Stones Montessori has opportunity to open more branches Johor Bahru and in other states of Malaysia since we have expertise in Montessori teaching, As such we will find way to increase our capital in order to achieve our future plan.

An organization is a system of consciously coordinated activities or force of two or more people. It is formed for three purposes , namely for profit where most of the organizations are formed to make money, non-profit where this organization are formed to offer services to people but not for making money and mutual benefit where is organization is formed to promote member of interest. Organizations can be represented in an organization chart where is dictates the relationship between the different parts of organization and those who work in it. It also specifies the following:

The division of work The hierarchical structure T he authority structure Formal links within the organization

There are seven common elements in any organization. We in Stepping Stones Montessori , the following two elements are playing an important roles. Span of Control Span of Control refers to the number staff reporting directly to a manager. In Stepping Stones Montessori whatever matter regarding teaching ,all the teaching staff and assistant teaching staff will be reporting directly reporting to the middle manager that is our principal ,whereas all other staffs ; administrative and all part-time staffs will be reporting to the top management; our director . This is because our principal is also involved in teaching; she may not have enough time to control and look after the entire management of school, as such some the staffs are directly reporting to director of the school. Regarding our welfare and social matters, all staffs directly laise with the top management since we do not have human resource manager at the moment because we are running our organization in a smaller scale. Centralization and decentralization in a decision making. In Stepping Stone Montessori both centralization authority and decentralization authority are implemented. Any decision to be made regarding personnel teaching staff and social aspects of a situation( special request ), our director ( who is also our top level manager) will make the final decision. For example:
1. Centralization Authority applied by our director

Staff :

If any staff wants to take long break due to their family problem or to attend any courses decision during the semester, our director will make the final decision. Parents (special request) We have child who need special gadget to breath in and breath-out as such, the child has to be under a supervision of professional (nurse) but physically this child fine.
2. Decentralization Authority applied by middle level our principal

Any matters arise in day to day activities; the decision is made by our principal. For an example : any change to be in time-table , call the childrens parent if any child not feeling well.



Organization culture is also called corporate culture, where it is a system of share beliefs and values that develop within an organization and guides the behavior of its members. One unique element of the organization culture is that, it has always been a model of diversity where it represents a wonderful blending of races, languages, creeds and social-economic education levels. There are two levels of corporate culture namely invisible level where it consists of values, beliefs and assumptions. It is also associated with way we do things around in an organization. The second level is visible level where it is expressed in symbols , stories ,heroes and rites and rituals.

The principal is adapting loving and caring corporate culture when dealing with the children. We care and love all children unconditionally Since our children are from Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of world, our children are from many different background, culture , language, environment through this culture we can unite and shape with good values. 2.0.3 Leadership

A leader is a person who has a power to guide or direct others, the head of a nation, political party, legislative body, or military unit. Leader has a vision and can see a problem that needs to be fixed or a goal needs to be achieved. Leadership is the ability to influence employees to voluntarily purse organizational goals. Managers and leaders are not one and the same. Managers have legitimate power to plan, organize, and control whereas the leaders create a vision and strategic plan for the company, which managers then implement. In Stepping Stones Montessori, our director is a leader who is a very determined person, is always on the move to achieve her goal. She can see things that should be done and that should to be fixed. She uses legitimate power to run this organization smoothly and confidently and takes the steps to achieve our vision. Since our director is the sole owner of Stepping Stones Montessori, she uses reward power to reward all the staffs either by giving pay raise or promotion. Besides that our director is a very informative and has expertise in preschool education as such she can guide, supervise and educate us in handling the children. Whenever we are facing challenges in guiding the children she is there for us to give helping hand. 2.0.4 Control



Management control is a systematic effort to set performance standards with planning objectives to design information feedback systems, to complete actual performance with these pre-determined standard, to determine whether there are any deviations and to measure their significance and to take any action required to assure that all corporate resource are used in the most effective and efficient way possible in achieving corporate objectives (Wahab, 2010) In our organization, teachers will be frequently monitored and observed by our principle in order to make sure that implementation of the Montessori teaching is carried out well. It is an example of controlling that can be observed in this organization. Besides the observation, the director and the principle monitors teachers and students work is on par with the Montessori standard. The organization also has close knits with International Montessori Society (IMS) which is based in America. The Stepping Stones Montessori Organization makes sure that its performance met the standard set by this regulatory body. The learning environment around the school and inside the school is made sure to be safe for students to ensure that students will be able to learn well.


Conclusions and Suggestions

As we know there are many organizations (government bodies ( KEMAS) and private sectors) are involved in (preschool) early childhood education. In order to compete with them, Stepping Stones Montessori must be an outstanding organization. Based on the previous years SWOT analysis, Stepping Stones Montessori did a great job over the years since 1991. So far an average of 40 children a year, have undergone the Montessori Program from Stepping Stones Montessori. Some of our former children from oversea have visited us and they are doing well in school and

have normalized in the new environment. Since Montessori teaching has been proven as one of the best preschool education. We are enthusiastic about doing this Montessori program and with the knowledge in management theories, have made us become more stable and confident to run our organization. We know that we are on the right track in achieving our goal and also in line with the governments effort in making preschool education part of the national education system. With our strategic planning and SWOT analysis we could answer following three questions: 1. Where are we now? 2. Where do we want to be? 3. How do we get there?

In order to achieve all these future plans: we will improve career progression by reviewing the structure of the teaching staff. Besides that we will audit the existing training opportunities and produce a comprehensive training program for teaching staff ( for first line level) .