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Is the Montessori Approach Still Relevant in the 21st Century?

Published
01/06/2015 by

Every child is different, and so should be the teaching approach. The Montessori method believes that there is no “one size fits all” solution, and that learning should happen naturally, guided by the child. Let us see your child and discover how the Montessori approach can fulfill his/her natural desire for learning and personal development.

 


“Let me do it! I want to try!” Your child has a natural inner drive and desire to be independent. Let him try new things and challenge himself.


The Montessori environment is designed to encourage the natural inclination of the child to be independent. They are encouraged to move about and to explore, and hence, are placed in an environment filled with plenty of opportunities for ‘real work’. Within a Montessori classroom you will find that all the furniture and materials from ‘real life’ are scaled down to suit the child. Materials such as dressing frames hone the child’s motor skills and understanding of sequences in the task.

 

Working with practical life exercises that are designed to teach life skills, children develop confidence and self-esteem, care and respect, and joy and enthusiasm towards learning.  It is an environment which allows direct preparation for life in the family, community and the workplace.


The Montessori environment is also built with control of error where children will be able to self-correct their mistakes through observing the imperfections during the task. The materials in the environment are prepared and ready for the child to work with at any time, giving them immediate feedback rather than requiring an adult to supervise and evaluate their work.


This challenges and empowers children to carry out everyday tasks that develop their overall self-esteem and confidence, making them feel respected, capable, and self-assured.


Values Nurtured/Development Areas: Respect, Positive Self-esteem, Confidence, Respect, Joy of Learning and Creativity, Independence

 


Characterised by an inner need for consistency and repetition, children during this sensitive early period look for routines and predictability to feel secure.


The Montessori environment works on consistency and routine work. It meets the child’s need for order by having materials stored in the same place each day, and have lessons presented in an orderly, clear, and precise manner with the child returning the materials in its original form and arrangement after each activity ends. This physical sense of order sets the foundation for higher level thinking skills such as classification, as well as helping the child order his own space, time and emotions. Many temper tantrums can be avoided by having consistent, predictable schedules and ground rules.


Values Nurtured/Development Areas: Responsibility, Self-discipline, Systematic, Organised

 

 

Children never stop questioning!


Children have an innate curiosity and inquisitiveness. You often see children eager to understand their surroundings, asking question after question.


Investigation, exploration, and understanding are emphasised in the Montessori environment. The materials are designed to be manipulated and handled to encourage deep learning of the concepts behind academic skills. Children are given time to think through and absorb, discover, and problem solve on their own rather than being told what to memorise. As the child grows, the concrete knowledge leads to good abstract thinking skills.


Values Nurtured/ Development areas: Reflect, Critical thinking, Problem solving

 


“Show me!” Your child craves to do things in the ‘right’ way. They want to be shown how to do it so they can do it correctly themselves.


Whether it’s the brushing of teeth, buttoning a shirt or placing toys on the shelf, children love imitating and carrying out tasks in the right manner. If they are excited and engaged in an activity, it is quite a sight to see their spontaneous self-discipline kick in.


Unlike a traditional classroom setting where the teacher acts as the discipline master, the Montessori environment and materials actively foster self-discipline; engaging children in work that interests them at their own time. They receive individualised attention and guidance from the educators, whose role is to encourage and support the natural learning process. Give the children space to be independent with their task and you will find that they have the ability to become absorbed in a certain task for an extended period of time. The ability to concentrate is supported in the Montessori classroom where children are able to work uninterrupted on their lessons and activities.


Apart from independence, the Montessori activities are designed to foster the power of concentration in children, so that they grow to become happy, independent, and fulfilled adults.


Values Nurtured/ Development areas: Concentration, Patience, Perseverance, Self-awareness



The results of recognising a child’s inherent strengths and developmental needs and meeting them in a carefully designed environment produce children who not only achieve academic excellence, but also children whose creative thinking and self-direction have been nurtured to truly prepare them to meet any future challenge or pursuit with confidence. 


The Montessori way of education might date back to over 100 years, but the philosophy stays the same. That is, to allow children to be children, and have them discover the wonders of the world through their own eyes.







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This article is brought to you by The children’s house. The children’s house is the pioneer of the Montessori method in Malaysia, and has been the trusted pre-school choice for over 10,000 families since 1986. Visit any of their schools today to discover more about the benefits of the Montessori approach for your child.