As the famous Einstein saying goes…Everybody is a genius. But If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing its stupid.”
Montessori is a concept and brain child of Dr Maria Montessori who was an Italian physician and educator. Her method encourages educators to “Teach by teaching, not by correcting”. She believed children from 0-6yrs have an ‘absorbent mind’, therefore they should roam freely taking in their surroundings and expressing themselves in their own unique way. Her concept of guidance and empathy over strict instructions, saw amazing results and became successful in Italy and all over the world.
“The beauty of Montessori teaching is that children have the ability to make their own decisions and learn at their own pace”
It eliminates anxiety and feelings of excessive competition. Children can express their emotions and show creativity more openly. Classrooms are designed around children not teachers, using special Montessori learning materials. Different activities are carried out throughout the day in no particular order.
Children spend time together in groups, where younger children learn from older children and older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered. This method builds confidence, problem solving skills, self-esteem and empathy, towards each other. Children may carry out tasks such as ‘making lunch’ or ‘tidying up’, this teaches them responsibility and also enables them to be appreciative of the task itself.
The environment plays a major role in child development therefore it’s essential that the Montessori center is inviting and carefully thought out. Activities and materials should be arranged under the Maria Montessori child development approach. Classrooms under this method do not have school desks —children work on tables, roll out mats on the floor. Many schools also have designated areas for feelings, peace and reflection.
The reason this approach has been so successful is because it looks at the development of the whole child —physical, social, emotional and cognitive” It teaches a child to think critically, work in a team and be confident and self-assured. The benefits of Montessori are plenty but my favourite one is that children learn lessons and tools that they will then utilise outside of the classroom.
“The Netherlands is one of the many countries that have embraced the Montessori concept and there’s a rise in schools and centers which now follow this approach”
Although, this is impressive on the other hand, it does however make me question whether all the schools who adopt this approach are keeping to the strict standards required to run a Montessori school. Since Montessori is not an inexpensive commitment therefore it is important to not that thorough research is required when finding the right place for your child.
Stay tuned as next time I plan a to-do list of things to look into when searching for the right Montessori and Early Learning School. And how you can incorporate Montessori learning in your home.
by Saliha Khan