"Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world." Each one of us wishes to see our children being the best in everything and achieve what we could not in our lives. But in the process a minor detail is overlooked; our child's happiness. Childhood is not about competition and achievement rather it's about exploration and new experiences.
University of Southern California
Concordia University - Portland
The Italian educator Maria Montessori sensed this need in the learning process of a child and came up with an educational method based on the theories of child development in the early 20th century known as Montessori Education. It is so far the most progressive concept in the field of education and it is all about offering a child the opportunities to see the world differently.
The embodiment of this method is self-directed learning with a teacher serving merely as a guide. This learning method strongly discourages the traditional standards of achievement like grades or marks which force young children to be "adults in small bodies" and suppresses their individuality. The Montessori education system employs a qualitative feedback technique which highlights the strengths of each child in detail and identifies the areas of improvement.
The Montessori Method incorporates the utilization of all five senses in the learning process. It also emphasizes social interaction since children normally learn new things from their class fellows as well as sharing their own knowledge with others. This program places a strong emphasis on creating an environment that encourages learning through one's own experience rather than just listening to the teacher. Developing motor skills is another radical concept in this systemas it allows the child to improve coordination between the brain and other parts of the body. This method also accentuates concrete knowledge that later leads to abstract learning through hands on experience.
"Education in a New World ... education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment." (Maria Montessori)
Learning at his own pace through trial and error leaves a longer impact on the mind of a child as compared to the more traditional methods. It gives a child the confidence to take risks in life and never be afraid of making mistakes resulting in an independent individual who can perceive things on his own. These learning practices givechildren a stronger base to turn into unique adults, oneswho can think beyond the ordinary and give the world a new vision.
The dynamics of Montessori Education bases itself on the fact that each child in the class is important. Every child is offered the opportunity to explore his own interests and learn different things the way he likes. In Montessori the teachers are attentive towards the children rather than children being attentive to the teachers. The system ensures a child centred environment with comfortable furniture and all the materials within reach offering personalized learning for a child, keeping his needs and learning in mind.
It also enhances the attitude of enjoying their work and relishing the sense of discovery. We aim to develop the interest of the child in the work itself rather than for some reward. Children are motivated by the need for self-development, rather than by the teacher. The curiosity is inherent in the nature of children; our aim is to make their journey of discovery more enjoyable and meaningful.
All children, irrespective of the diversity of their interests and abilities reach their maximum potential. All children blend in - even the ones having learning disabilities. Each child has his own unique style of learning and the equipment is designed to address their individuality. The environment is peaceful and encourages mutual respect for each other.
Montessori is an international phenomenon for constructive learning due to its universal appeal with the United States as the only country with maximum commitment to this philosophy. The universality of this phenomenon is due to the immense respect it gives to each individual and celebrates the differences by collaborating with each other to derive mutual learning. Montessori methods are so far ahead of their time that they can never become irrelevant.
"If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man's future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual's total development lags behind?"
This emphasis on the development of a complete personality ensures that a child will be dynamic with "out of the box" ideology and a winner in the true sense.