Do you wonder what the benefits of Montessori really are? As parents, we are constantly being inundated with new ideas on what’s best for our children; new ways to learn maths, faster ways to get our children reading, how to use technology to enhance learning etc. We are being pulled in different directions; barely coming to terms with new concepts before another is unleashed upon us. It can be not only confusing but frankly exhausting.
There’s plenty on offer, but really works?
I believe the Montessori Approach is a fantastic one; practising it in its entirety at my school and using to educate my daughters. Here are the reasons below –
- Montessori is Realistic – This is a concept that parents often resist this; a kind of mistrust that if allowed the freedom to follow their own directives, their children will do nothing constructive. On the contrary, Montessori recognised that children are actually ‘born to learn’; that work for the child is a ‘vital instinct’. In appreciation of this, the approach responds by providing a carefully Prepared Environment that stimulates learning for, whilst allowing for individual development. Learning in the Montessori environment is largely ‘bespoke’ with individual presentations made to each child as required and always allowing for auto-direction. Each child learns at his/her own pace (not being held back by or dragged forward). Each child gets concrete experience and further challenge; to make each individual journey joyful and complete.
- Montessori Reflects our Society – The mixed-age Classroom is another concept many parents wrestle with; ‘will my child be held back by younger ones or will older children overwhelm my younger child?’ The truth is that our Society is always a mixed one and every successful society learns to co-exist guided by conventional rules and norms. The same applies to the functioning Montessori Environment; younger children are able to learn from older ones, whilst the older ones are able to affirm their knowledge whilst modelling behaviour to the younger ones and enjoy the respect this brings with it. The Classroom is guided by a constantly practised set of norms that stresses ‘care of self’, ‘care of others’ and ‘care of the environment’. All children are encouraged to show respect for others and expect same from others.
- Montessori is Global – Culture is introduced to children early; they are given ‘keys to the world’ in order that they may consider themselves ‘citizens of the world’. This allows them the opportunity to begin to ‘orientate’ themselves; and appreciate their position in terms of physical geography. It also exposes them to appreciate other cultures and the richness of the world around us; including art, the music and the language. Montessori children are children who already possess a ‘worldwide’ view. A child who is taught the fiction that a cow jumped over the moon should be given the fact of the seven continents and the beauty that lies therein.
References: ‘The Absorbent Mind’ – Maria Montessori and ‘’The Secrets of Childhood’ – Maria Montessori
Bola Benson is the founder of Libra House. A graduate of the prestigious London School of Economics, she also has a diploma in Newspaper Journalism. Bola abandoned banking and most recently working in the Trade Development Section on at the British Deputy High Commission, to pursue her true calling and passion as an educator.
She retrained as a Montessori teacher at the premier Maria Montessori Training Institute in the UK in 2003 and is an AMI Certified Diploma holder, with teaching experience in the UK . Bola has a hands-on style and runs Libra House herself supported by her qualified team of teachers. Bola is married with five children.