As a parent, all of us strive to give the best education to our kids. Every parent feels that his/her kid is a unique, inquisitive, creative, hands-on kid and is different from other kids. But are the kids retaining the above qualities which we found in them as a toddler when they grow little older?
NO right? Then are the kids going wrong, or are we as parents treating our kids in a wrong way, that by the time they enter into schools, their love for exploration and their inquisitiveness gets subdued. Have you ever wondered why?
The reason is that we are not taking their developmental needs and psychological needs into consideration while enrolling them into schools. We are expecting a child to sit through his classes without moving or shaking and absorb all the material the teacher is giving them in the form of lectures. This means we expect the kid to behave like an adult and forego all his needs for movement and play.
On the contrary, in the Montessori, the children learn at their own pace based on their interests/mood of that day. There is freedom of movement and choice of subjects. But everything within the permissible limits set by the adults (called guides instead of teachers) who spend one on one time with kids to guide them towards success in their chosen path.
What is meant by Montessori Education?
The Montessori Education method is the philosophy developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in Italy. The philosophy was developed based on her observations about children. Based on her observations, she came to the conclusion that children preferred experiential learning over oratory classroom learning.
So she provided varied hands-on activities across different streams and tested them in schools across Italy. Kids who were introduced to these hands-on activities picked up even the difficult subjects with ease and their foundations were strong. That’s how she devised the Montessori Method – in which “Children are allowed to choose the activities appropriate to their age and understanding. Adults play a mentor role in guiding the children to complete the activity by enabling them to find the right way to complete that activity.”
How is the Montessori Method different from Traditional Learning?
As we all are aware that traditional learning, is mainly based on listening, reading, writing, and watching. Whereas, the Montessori method emphasizes all the five senses of the kids – sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste.
The Montessori method makes the study a discovery for the kids and hence retains that WOW factor in the education for them. They choose to learn at their own pace that too a subject of their liking. Here you can get to see a child studying geography taught at 6th grade in grade 2 itself.
As the Montessori method is based on the mixed age group criteria, the children get to watch the older children and learn from them. This setup not only improves the confidence and empathy in older children but also provides role models for the younger ones. The additional advantage of this method is that the children are not limited by their age or peer group to try new things. As the older ones in the group would always be doing complex work, which entices the younger children and sets them a path to go. This sets up the practice of “leading by example”.
This whole process develops self-discipline and self-motivation in the children. This system brings the inner talents of each and every child to the forefront, without branding them as either winners or losers. So it builds the self-confidence of the children, which is very much needed in this fast-paced world.
The ultimate goal of the Montessori method is to provide carefully prepared environments for the children so that their love for learning and exploration would increase and brings out a joyous response towards life. As a by-product of this system, we do get independent and creative kids/teenagers who are eager to face the world heads on. Accelerated learning could also be another by-product based on the interests of the kids.
Free the Child’s Potential and You will transform him into the World
For the people, who are interested in setting up the Montessori Environment at home and try out various Montessori activities with their toddlers during the pre-school years, can refer to the book listed below, which I have used for my child during his initial years.
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Dear Reader, this is the first part of the eight-part Montessori Method and its philosophy Series and please stay tuned for further updates on the same topic. You would get interesting material and techniques based on the Montessori Method.