Commonly regarded as a unique alternative to traditional schooling, Montessori is actually a scientifically proven method of teaching developed by Maria Montessori, a physician and an educator herself.
The child-centric education method is more relevant now than ever and continues to be appreciated worldwide especially in India. But how do you know for sure that this is the right development environment for your child?
What is the Montessori Method?
Dr. Montessori believed that children are naturally keen for knowledge and will take the initiative to learn on their own if offered with the right supportive environment. The method respects their interest and assists in better learning because they choose what they learn. The students grow up to love learning, be competent enthusiasts with focus on all round development.
Montessori classroom offer meticulously planned environments where teachers are more like the guiding lights rather than meant for instructing and writing on a blackboard for everyone alike. A typical class includes upto 30 students of different age groups fostering peer learning with independence and respect for everyone.
Tips to consider when choosing a Montessori method –
- More popular in the age group of 3-6 years
- During the period of 3-6 years the child should consistently continue with the same methodology for ideal results.
- Ensure that the teachers are trained Montessori teachers or it will defy the purpose of sending your child to a Montessori school
- Check that the school is recognized by some Montessori Association like Indian Montessori Center and Indian Montessori Association to name a few. Commonly named as the Montessori House of Children, the recognized school need to adhere to the principles of the method with trained teachers and correct materials.
- Visit the school and the classrooms to see what they teach and how they teach. Interview, ask questions and keep your eyes open.
- Children learn by exploring and playing with specifically designed materials available in the classroom, under the guidance of the teacher but at their own pace. So don’t compare your child with his friends or siblings.
- Keep in mind that this method is not just about knowledge; it is about all round development including social, physical, cognitive and emotional skills. The concepts are not taught by the rote method but hands-on experience which nurtures their interest and learning is the main focus.
- Asses your child. Some kids need more structure and discipline than offered by Montessori method, so know your child’s requirements before enrolling him/her into the method
- Tracking your child’s progress is easy in a conventional grading system. But in this method, teachers closely observe each child, their strengths, areas of improvement and skills acquired. Schools hold events where they display materials and record of learning. The lack of standardized tests for students by no way means that they have not learnt the concepts. Teachers here ensure in their own way that the student get a good grasp of the topic before guiding them towards the next material.
- One of the main concerns that parents have is transitioning to mainstream school later. The kids might have an initial trouble adjusting to the new environment and method but they do not have any trouble with the competition, confidence or subject at hand.
Other factors to keep in mind include distance between school and home and cost.
- Research on school principles, materials and recognition and trained teachers. Visit and ask questions.
- Adapting to the innovative methodology involves parents and child together
- Tracking child’s progress
- Knowledge Vs Overall development
- Need for structuring and discipline
- Transitioning to conventional schools
While these are more general tips and differ depending on environment school offers and child requirements, focus on the overall development of the child that respects him as an individual and trust your instincts.