As parents, we always want to do the best we can for our children: be it by providing them with the best resources or enrolling them into a system that enables them to grow into capable individuals who have a strong sense of themselves, the ability to connect with others and undoubtedly, the potential to be impactfully productive, throughout their lives. Though more options and alternatives open up before us to help us meet these goals regularly, it may be time to consider that the answer lies in a tried and tested option we’ve had before us all along!
With scientific progress, over the decades, we have been told to refute some beliefs and practices, while others have been heralded significant enough to be propagated further. While the debate itself, on which of these we must remain unbudging to and which of these we must revisit can make for another blog, here is a hundred-year-old practice we want to remind you of: the Montessori System.
Having been around for a century has not stripped this form of education of its validity and relevance in today’s world. If anything, contemporary research and the resultant findings have only contributed, more than ever before, to suggesting the benefits of being exposed to a learner-centric system for an individual, from an early age. After all, from birth to the age of six years (a phase commonly referred to as the Early Years) are critical years in the growth and development of a learner as these, set the foundation for all the learning practices they are to undergo, throughout their lives. It is owing to this lasting impact that these years have on the learner, that the Montessori System is more appealing to us today, than ever before.
The pioneer and proponent of the Montessori System named after her, Dr Maria Montessori is once known to have said, “Free the child’s potential and you will transform him into the world.” Surely enough, the Montessori System is proven to enable learners to become capable, accountable and knowledgeable individuals who have a strong sense of their self, needed to thrive in the real world. It is interesting to note how the system contributes to the development of each of these through learner-based activities and skill development.
Montessori classrooms at Legacy, are thoughtfully designed to offer learners opportunities to develop their own capabilities, whether it is learning how to dress themselves independently, communicate their needs effectively, or collaborate with others to solve problems. Here, each classroom is filled with developmentally appropriate activities that encourage learners to interact with specific learning materials, as well as effectively work in cooperation with their peers. While individuals are free to choose the activities they want to work with, the curriculum also intentionally provides for small group instruction and collaborative activities. This combination of independent, partner-based, small-group and whole-group lessons and activities introduces learners to different learning relationships and interpersonal dynamics—skills that are invaluable for their interactions outside the classroom as well as laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning.
Further, in a learner-centered classroom of the Montessori system, learners are allowed to discover, learn and progress at their own pace. They are given opportunities to practice, review, or move forward based on their own interests and capabilities, enabling them to take charge of their own learning and becoming accountable for their knowledge acquisition process. Thus, self-correction and self-assessment, which are an integral part of the Montessori approach, empowers individuals to learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors – from a young age. This is why at Legacy Montessori , we do not stray from the notion of growing together, yet at one’s own pace.
The Legacy Mintessori follows a curriculum that is intentionally grouped into 3-year cycles rather than a conventional year-by-year break down of expectations of learning, as the Montessori System of education respects the fact that learners develop and master exercises of practical life at different speeds and that in reality, this development happens in uneven spurts. The system and the teachers, thus support the learner’s growth through all areas of the curriculum, to ensure that they are exposed to the full sequence of lessons in each area, until thorough through experience.
Lastly, the most significant component of a Montessori education remains the mixed age group community of learners in each class. Through the forging of stable bonds in a community that recognizes each individual’s needs parallelly with their responsibility to contribute to the community, learners get to exercise independence, but are also given opportunities to work with their peers and to support others when they are in need. This development of independence in pursuing one’s own interests, in the context of a caring community, fosters a strong sense of self in each student, which in turn, encourages pride in one’s own, unique individuality in the learner. This is also extended to the learning methods and educational philosophy throughout the later grades of Legacy, from Grade 01 through Grade 12.
In all, while Dr Maria Montessori believed that when children are given the freedom to choose their own learning activities a self-confident, inquisitive, creative child emerges – we can say with certainty, that the effects of her discoveries and propagated method of learning, are relevant to this day. After all, if it weren’t, why would an e-commerce king like Jeff Bezos have pledged over $1-Billion towards funding more Montessori inspired preschools in 2018?