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Skillful Practices that Only International Montessori Schools Follow

Bhavna Saxena
Dec 30, 2020
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Montessori education has been around for decades. The system grew in popularity after academic experts and psychologists discovered its benefits in child development. This led to many schools adopting the Montessori approach, especially in preschool. 

To many parents, the question is how the Montessori approach is different from traditional education. They also ask how the program will benefit their child.

There are a couple of things that set apart the Montessori schools in Pune from conventional education. First, traditional education is more theoretical than practical. On the other hand, Montessori education is based on active learning, collaborative play, and self-directed activity. These are some factors that the founder, Maria Montessori, coined to help children learn and develop.

Some of the key practices in a Montessori education include

1. Multi-Age classrooms

According to Maria Montessori, students learn best individually and from each other. By each other, it doesn't necessarily mean children from the same age group. In a Montessori classroom, you are likely to find students in the following age groups learning together;

● Infants from age 0-18 months

● Toddlers from 15 months-3 years

● Early childhood 2.5 – 6 years

● Lower elementary 6-9 years

● Upper primary 9-12 years or 6-12 years (lower and upper primary)

● Secondary 12-15/15-18/ 12-14/14-16/ and 16-18 years

Note that the age groupings might differ in various schools depending on state regulations. The multi-age classroom has received mixed reviews from academic experts. However, the benefits of such a learning environment have surpassed the negative.

In a multi-age classroom, young children learn from the older ones through observation. Older children become role models and develop their leadership skills as they teach the younger children. Each student still works individually, so there are less competition and more collaboration in the classroom. The system is much like the real world where people from different age groups work and socialise. 

2. Uninterrupted work periods

Uninterrupted work periods in a Montessori classroom include children choosing an activity and working on it for a minimum of 2 hours without any distractions. These work periods are a way to acknowledge that children learn differently. During a work period, students will pick an activity they like, work on it as long as they are interested in it, clean up their work station, and return it to its respective location.

A student is allowed to pick another activity if they want. During the work period, the teacher's role is to observe and support the student's work while giving individual instruction or small group lessons. Uninterrupted work periods help to foster independence, coordination, and concentration in students. 

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3. Child-centred approach

The Montessori program aims to develop a love for learning among its students. Therefore students are given the freedom to choose activities that interest them the most. This way, a child is more engaged in what they are doing, they are motivated, pay attention, and have a sense of responsibility and control of their learning.

The child-centred approach is not limited to the activities. The Montessori classroom is designed in a way that encourages the students to move around and explore. Students are allowed to discover answers for themselves, which makes them enjoy the learning process. 

Everything in the Montessori classroom is intentionally designed to grow the child cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally. As the children grow, the classroom environment changes to accommodate the level of learning they are at. 

4. Trained Montessori teachers

As you can see from the list above, the Montessori program's adults must be trained accordingly. A Montessori teacher must understand the importance of natural development in children. 

Apart from being well versed in the Montessori theory and philosophy, they must know how to use the Montessori materials accurately and effectively. Depending on the age group a teacher is interested in teaching, they must have excellent observation and leadership skills to guide, challenge, and create a nurturing learning environment. 

Some of the top qualities of an excellent Montessori teacher include:

● Excellent observation skills

● Relate well with their students

● Knowledge in using Montessori learning materials

● Must monitor and record student's progress accurately

There are several Montessori teacher training institutions, such as the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). However, the best training institutions are those accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). At GIIS Pune, all Montessori teachers are well trained and aim to provide the best Montessori education to Preschoolers. 

5. Montessori learning materials

Similar to a Montessori school in Pune, Montessori classroom and learning materials are specifically designed to teach particular concepts and skills. Hands-on-learning is the primary mode of teaching in a Montessori classroom, meaning learning is more practical. Students interact with the world around them as they learn different textures, colours, and other essential concepts. 

Some Montessori learning materials include:

● Sandpaper letters and numbers

● Number boards

● Number rods

● Coloured blocks

● Coloured beads and games

Experts have found that young children retain more information when they engage their senses and have fun while doing it. Your child will have fun learning in a Montessori classroom. Learning through play keeps children interested, engaged and builds their curiosity, improving their overall learning experience.

Now that you know what to expect when you take your child to a Montessori program, you can make an informed decision whether it fits your child or not. This led to many schools in pune adopting the Montessori approach, especially in preschool. You might worry that your child will not adapt well to another curriculum after starting with Montessori. There will be some differences, but Montessori children can adapt quickly.

A Montessori child is taught to be independent and self-reliant, calm, and a team player within a classroom community. With that in mind, you can be assured that your child will have a smooth transition into any other curriculum offered by the school. So, is Montessori the right program for your child? The best way to find out is to try it out.

Bhavna Saxena

I am Bhavna Saxena and am passionate about teaching. It’s not just a profession for me but also the way of giving back to the society by nurturing the future citizens of our nation. I have more than 4 years of pre-primary teaching experience and as a teacher I have unconditional motivation to educate all and give wings to the dreams of my students. I like todiscover hidden talents and it is my constant endeavour to evolve with the modern ways of teaching. My role is to carve the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of the students to ignite the flame of curiosity in the young minds. I’m a professional and determined in bringing positivity in my students’ lives.

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