Is Montessori The Right Start For Your Child?

2 year(s) ago
Is Montessori The Right Start For Your Child?

"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."
-Maria Montessori

There is profound truth in this statement.
Adults in their enthusiasm to give the best to their children, rob them of their natural desire to be independent.

Dr. Maria Montessori believed the teacher should be there to direct, guide and help children to learn with the attitude of love and acceptance.
Montessori education extends from birth to 6 years and the curriculum and teaching methods are designed keeping in mind the development that occurs during this stage.

It is based on the following concepts introduced by Maria Montessori:

1. Absorbent mind

Children absorb stimuli from the environment. Hence an environment conducive to learning has to be provided to the child

2. Sensitive periods

The age between 0-6 can be broken down into several overlapping periods where children are more receptive to one particular stimulus as compared to others. You will see a child repeatedly doing only one particular type of activity and exclude everything else. The right stimulus or environment for that particular period is provided to maximize learning.

Sensitive Periods for Children Aged from Birth to 6 years of Age:

Order (age 18 months to 2 years)

Children have a desire for consistency in routine during this sensitive period. There should be a place for everything and everything needs to be in its place. Disorder and chaos either in the environment or routine, affects them.

Language (birth to 6 years)

During this period a child progresses from babbling to speaking meaningfully in order to communicate. Acquisition of both oral and written language occurs at this stage. Speaking to the child in clear language, reading to him and allowing the child to communicate his needs verbally are important in this period.

Movement (birth to 4 years)

Gross and fine motor skills develop and get fine-tuned during this period. Outdoor play is very important for this developmental stage.

Numbers (4 to 5.5 years)

In short, this is exactly the right time to introduce math.

Manners and courtesies (2 to 6 years)

These skills are developed just by observing adults around.

3. Normalization

It is the ability to concentrate and do continuous and happy work. This happens over a period of time with regular practice.
This happens when children get so engrossed their work that they persevere and complete the activity that they have begun.
Maria Montessori also emphasised on

  • Freedom of movement inside the classroom.
  • Uninterrupted work periods extending up to 3 hours.
  • Multi-age grouping (children in the age range 3 to 6 years study together).

Maria Montessori considered multi-age grouping the most important to learn because younger children learn from older children. Older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered. This arrangement also mirrors the real world, where one has to work and socialize with people of all ages and temperaments.

4. Learning at one's own individual pace.

This could be considered as an advantage of multi-age grouping. Since children of varying abilities and different ages are working together, there is nothing like being ‘ahead' or ‘behind' within that group. Children help each other and thus each child can master a certain set of skills at his/her own pace.

Montessori Method believes in freedom within a prepared environment to develop independence. It says that limited materials should be provided so that only the materials which support the child's development are available to the child.

A Montessori classroom is characterized by order and structure and the teacher leads the class by presenting the activities.

Montessori believes in giving natural things to the children to play with as opposed to plastic toys.

Children learn to sort, stack and manipulate different materials.

There is a huge variety of learning material designed by Maria Montessori. Each learning material teaches just one skill or concept at a time.

The pink tower used for stacking and the dressing frame where children learn to tie bows and put on buttons are two of the most popular examples that I can cite. Tiny golden strings of beads are used to learn decimals.

All these learning materials are cleverly disguised as toys. Thus, the children think they are playing, when they are actually learning some important skill.

The day is brimming with activities because as Maria Montessori says, "Growth comes from activity; not from intellectual understanding."

*Over the years, "Montessori" has become a generic term and schools which loosely follow Montessori methods are called Montessori schools. In fact, you will find a blend of conventional and Montessori methods in most schools.

Read more blog in this series:
To Read "Know more about IB's Kindergarten Programme". Click here
To Read "Key Principles of Waldorf Education for Your Child".

Click on the link to watch kids videos and download apps & games for your kids.

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Radhika Chitre
Radhika is a mother of two children with strikingly opposite personalities. A teacher by profession, she is passionate about education. She believes that each child is unique and it is this uniqueness which never ceases to amaze her.

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