My husband and I stumbled upon the Montessori philosophy about 20 years ago. Although we were first interested in it for our daughters, it ended up inspiring me to not only take the Pre-Primary and Primary training but also practice it as a parent, as a teacher and as a teacher trainer. So I am sharing with you the reasons why it has had such a huge impact on me and why we chose it for our daughters.
- Instills Independence:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We wanted an environment, which would teach them the “How to?” of things rather than things being done for them. The Montessori way does exactly this. It shows children how to take care of themselves, their environment and life situations. For example, a 3 year old will learn to tie his own shoe laces using the lacing frame to practice. This leads to independence, which is the next step after dependence and further leads to Interdependence. This is the foundation for their harmonious living.
- Provides opportunities to make choices:
“Decision Making”, is instilled through the Montessori way. Every day, the child steps into the Montessori environment and chooses the work he wants to do. When the child throws a tantrum, the guide gives him choices for him to be aware of his feelings and behaviour. “Your choice” is heard in the Montessori environment. This also instils responsibility, in a way. The child makes a choice and learns from the consequences. This will alter his decision the next time he faces a choice. This process would help our children make bigger choices later in life too. For example it will help the child make an informed decision on which college to go to.
- Instills Respect:
Respect for people and things is so evident in the Montessori philosophy. Starting from the way the children are taught to handle the materials to how the children are spoken to. It teaches the child that it’s ok to dislike but it’s not ok to disrespect anyone or anything.
- Instills Gratitude:
Gratitude for things a child has and more so, a gratitude for the universe. This is so beautifully pictured in the “Great Lessons” as part of the Primary curriculum. Presentations like “The age of the Universe” shows them that the universe has been around much longer than they have. This instils a kind of reverence for all the events that have led to our comfortable lives today.
- Teaches the interdependence of life:
The Connection between everything that is there on the earth is beautifully taught in the Cultural Area. For example the presentation on “Photosynthesis” shows the child how interrelated plants and humans are.
- Instills Self Discipline:
The adults periodically question and give ideas to the child but do not impose their will on him. So the child will do something because he thinks it’s the right thing for him to do after thinking it through. His inner locus is fine-tuned and alert because of the choices that he makes and the consequences they have.
- Instills a desire to learn:
The spirit of discovery is greatly felt in the Montessori curriculum through the simple way in which concepts are taught using the materials and letting the child explore and learn on his own. The organized and systematic way in which presentations are done brings about the development of higher order skills like organization, visualization etc. The child learns without the feeling of having been taught. This gives him the confidence that he can learn and do anything he wants. A definite path towards success.
For all the above reasons and more, we chose to prepare our home environment the Montessori way and chose to send them to a Montessori school too! When we say we prepared our home the Montessori way we are not talking about buying the Montessori materials and bombarding the child with presentations. What we mean is that we decided to live life “The Montessori Way”. This conscious decision was made when the girls were 5 and 2 years old respectively. Now they are 23 and 20 years old. We couldn’t be more grateful to Dr. Montessori and her “Method”. Actually, I would rather call it “A way of life” to retain the respect I have for it. We feel that “The Montessori way” is the way to a new and conscious Earth. We would encourage all parents to find out more about this method and see if it resonates with you.