“Munira apa” (as we fondly refer to her) is a stalwart. An advisor to ILM and the founder of Montessorian United, she has over 25 years of experience in children’s education spanning diverse subjects like classroom management, curriculum design and educational consultation. Even before we started, we knew we were in for a treat.
WHAT WE COVERED:
The 40 hour course is aptly called an Orientation program. The program equips ourselves with an introductory understanding of this wonderful framework, so that it can be adapted to our needs.
Over the 5 weekends we went through:
– The Life and History of Maria Montessori (to develop an appreciation for the thinking behind this system)
– The Four Planes of Development
– Specific focus on the Sensitive Periods
– Montessori Activities for Exercises of Practical Life
– Montessori Activities for Sensorial
– Montessori Activities for Arithmetic
– Montessori Activities for Language
And we won’t even try to define the exhilaration of greedily gulping this new knowledge : )
OUR AHA MOMENTS FROM THE PROGRAM:
Epiphanies rained left, right and centre as we went through the orientation. But the following are some which left a very positive (and deep) impression on all attendees.
Internal Discipline vs External Discipline
When an outsider first steps into a Montessori classroom full of children, he can’t believe his ears. He hears nothing. Silence! In spite of the room being full of children perfectly capable of being extremely boisterous and rowdy! There is no stern instructor scowling at the kids. Nor is there any form of external reward system to elicit good behaviour. So how does the impossible become possible?
The result of the peace is internal discipline. A discipline stemming from the fact that students are engaged in exciting activities which:
– Are chosen by them from a large pool of possibilities
– Provide them with the right level of stimulation and challenge them to perform it multiple times, with concentration, for mastery
One of the beautiful goals of a Montessori environment is to inculcate this Internal Discipline within a child. Instead of depending on the traditional External Discipline methods of commanding, scolding and punishment!
After all once Internal Discipline is achieved, subjects like English, Arithmetic, gosh even Nuclear Science (at the right age) can become a piece of cake.
Multi-Sensorial approach of Montessori vs. Reading & Writing
Senses! They are the scouts gathering information and inputs from the external world! How many senses do we have? Did you say Five? Well you are wrong. We actually have over twenty. And the Montessori Method makes the most of at least 7 of these. It encourages students to learn not from delivered instructions but from hands on exploration and by using the muscular sense to hone memory, co-ordination, processing power and experimentation ability. It is particularly beneficial for children who have issues grasping verbal material poured out to an entire class irrespective of interest and capability.
To illustrate this point, let’s consider the square of a number. Students from conventional educational institutions need to memorize 2² is four. Well, not a Montessori child! He experiences a physical 2². And a 3². And a 4².
He gets to touch, and explore cubes made of two rows of two beads. He counts them and comes to the conclusion that 2² is 4. And he never forgets!!
This is the uniqueness of the Montessori Method! It allows students to realize the practical application of each piece of knowledge they gather and then provides them with the means to build upon it using their natural aptitude. Children evolve into adults who do not complete a job for the sake of checking it off the To-Do list! They experience the physical and mental stimulation of the process and actually LEARN from it.
The detail-oriented material
Over the program one grows to respect the genius of Maria Montessori. The course material in its entirety, from the Pre-Primary to the Elementary, has been designed by the lady herself. The attention to detail is mind-boggling! From the color of the practice material to the height of a chowki, everything is selected keeping in mind the student’s development. In all her endeavours her spirit of “Only the best is good enough for the child” shines through.
Maria Montessori has broken down activities into smaller chunks and organized these in levels. All this trouble, just to ensure that the child is challenged yet never daunted and can grow his cognitive capabilities in a setting of freedom! We salute her perseverance.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” ~ Benjamin Franklin
A PROMISE FOR COMING GENERATIONS!
We have a long way to go with our Montessori education, we are not going to cease our efforts and would like to thank Munira apa for sowing the seed. We hope to nurture it into an everlasting tree that will benefit generations with the promise of knowledge they can retain and utilize.
Here are some pictures from our training. Enjoy!