Montessori is an eminent figure in the early childhood education space across the globe. If one does a survey of preschools in India, you’d see almost every other preschool claims to follow her method. This extent of fame may be credited not merely to her philosophy that comprises what many thought were ideals, but also because it was made practically possible. When one reads her work, it is evident that the method came about because of her intrigue and love for children. This led her to create a clinical method that relied on close observations of young children. This method helped her understand the child’s needs and capabilities. Once she understood them, she developed materials using her experiences and observations of children in several contexts to tap into the child’s inner potentialities. Read More
I find many parents confounded by the plethora of educational methodologies available today. They all sound so convincing and almost believable, and in all likelihood, you would be confused. A word of caution here, the method you choose must first and foremost be firmly grounded on scientific principles of growth and development of the human being.
There’s only one method that can truly be employed to help the child realize his potential and Nature herself predetermines the method. Hence the approach you choose must be in keeping with the laws that govern child growth and development. A thorough understanding of these laws of nature will provide us with answers as to how to assist the child as he develops. All of mankind is alike in the fact that we all pass through the same stages in development. Which means that these laws are universal. Dr. Montessori’s method is in keeping with these laws and as a result, children reveal their true character.
The method that we choose to employ should also take utmost care to provide a conducive environment that is in tune with the psychical, physical, social and emotional needs of the child. And we all know how important the influence of the environment is on development.
The first stage of development is by far the most critical period, which extends from birth to 6 years. For it is during this period that the greatest instrument of man – his intelligence is formed, all his psychic faculties are constructed and the creation of the human character takes place.
Hence the method that you choose must consider all these needs of the child.
“The psychic life of a child needs to be protected and to be surrounded by an environment that could be compared with the wrappings placed by nature about the physical embryo.” Dr. Montessori studied embryology in order to continue to provide an environment akin to a womb to facilitate development of the psychic embryo. A prepared environment, like a womb, is a nurturing space in which the child grows independently within safe confines.
She says, “There must not be too much contrast, as regards warmth, light, noise with his conditions before birth”. The bond of mother and infant plays a significant role. She speaks of birth as a result of love into an environment of love. It is a kind of love that inspires sacrifice, a giving up of life on the part of the adult in dedication to the child.
We must immerse the child into an environment with those impressions that we wish the child to absorb—love, freedom, order, beauty, for She says, “It is in babyhood, by means of his infantile powers alone, that the child acquires personal characteristics that will mark him forever…In doing so, he is happy and his mind matures.”
Montessori recognized the fact that each child is unique and hence the method is built for the individual. So the curriculum is customized to the child, taking into consideration his interests. A child in the environment has the freedom to choose his work, s/he is free to repeat work and free to develop at her/ his own pace.
Lastly and most importantly, and this should be the deciding factor really, which is for you to ask that all -important question, “How will my child learn?” You need to find out for yourself whether your child will just be a passive listener as the teacher does all the talking or would your child be involved with all his mental faculties and physical senses in the learning experience?
One can safely say that the Montessori Method is by far the most scientific, humanistic and progressive methodology known to man till date.
I hope this article has been an eye opener for you in finding a method that will truly assist your child in her/ his journey of development through life.
Sandy Philip – Directress, www.thefreethinkingschool.com
What is the outcome of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? Needless to say, it’s wasted effort! Unfortunately though, that is exactly what’s happening to us throughout our lives. We were each designed “differently special” at birth, but we’ve all been pushed through the same mould at school. It’s no wonder that we struggle to identify our true shape when we’re done. The outcome thereof is another lost, clueless, shapeless generation.
Schools should be laboratories where children experiment to discover their true calling. Since we were all designed differently for a reason, the primary vision for schools therefore, is not to churn out students who are able to reproduce verbatim every single sentence of the textbooks, but to help find the reason behind each child’s difference.
Schools should ideally be free learning spaces, spaces where children are not ashamed to make mistakes and learn through trial and error. Spaces where they can dabble in every possible avenue in life, so as to develop a passion that they can follow through the rest of their lives.
Another important objective is to help students discover how and where they can utilize knowledge rather than to teach them content and content acquisition techniques that are sure to vaporize at the end of the learning ordeal. Education needs to cater to the development of the individual and not vise versa.
In a world where “marks maketh the man” the purposes of education are lost.
Which brings us to the next question-Is the current system of education in our country adequate? Is it achieving the goals of education, which is to equip students with skills, knowledge and a moral character that will render him /her profitable in society thus liberating the individual from all manner of servitude??
The curricula in vogue are so examination oriented that the students are robbed of the desire to learn and it is replaced by the drudgery of learning by rote. Learning has lost its meaningfulness as a consequence. Students are compelled to learn obsolete course content; which is burdensome and frustrating. To make matters worse there is undue importance given to exams, which we know is not a good judge of a child’s true potential. All in all it’s a lopsided system.
The need of the hour is quite clearly to develop a curriculum that is built around the child and his environment so as to meet the demands and needs of tomorrow.
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