Having your Pre-school child enrolled at a school practising the Montessori educational model, leads to the child being self-confident and self-disciplined. This leads to a wide variety of academic and creative skills and interests.
In the school environment the child’s natural drive towards independence must fostered through practical, social and intellectual experiences. The child becomes an active agent in her own education, saying, “Help me to do it myself”. We honour this by helping children move to increasingly higher levels of independence and self-reliance. Children are free to choose an activity independently once it has been presented to him/her, which encourages independence.
The children are encouraged to be actively involved during the three-hour long work cycles, where children choose their own learning experiences. These work cycles are self-guided and observed by the teacher. Children tend to fall into deep immersion and concentration. A child interested in a specific aspect will tend to work on that area exclusively for a period of time before moving onto something else. Furthermore, not all children need the same amount of time to master the same content. While one child might need more time to master Mathematics, another may need additional time for reading and yet another might require additional physical activity to promote optimal learning. This type of individualisation is supported by our curriculum and environment.
The Montessori philosophy and methods are based on universal laws of child growth and can certainly be helpful to your child. Whether Montessori will be helpful to your child, however is another question, for the answer depends upon your conception of your function as a parent. Montessori viewed parents as guardians, not as creators, for it is the child who must create himself. As the child grows she wants to touch and handle the same objects in the environment she sees others using. The parent must encourage this, for it is the child’s innate understanding that she must eventually take her place in the world as an adult that compels him/her to this. Inevitably, the child will want to explore things in the environment which belong to others. For example, “don’t touch” is synonymous with “don’t learn” for the young child.
The parent must so arrange the home that the child is helped to master her environment and becomes increasingly independent of the parent’s help. The child’s room should be simple and orderly. Everything in it should be appropriate for her size and ability.: low shelves with a few well-chosen toys; a low table with brush and comb, mirror; low hooks to hang clothes on – the latter to be chosen for the ease with which she can get in and out of them.; an accessible place to put his soiled clothes, hang up her towel, etc. It is the child’s instinct and desire for work and serious accomplishment that enables him/her to develop a healthy self-concept and realistic self-esteem.
Therefore, he should be allowed to observe and participate in his parent’s activities at the kitchen sink or garage workbench. An appropriate stool helps him/her into the adult’s world, and the parent has only to slow the pace and expectations for the child to join in making her own sandwich. An over-abundance of toys and many hours of television rob the child of his opportunity for those accomplishments and create an unnatural passivity and apathy toward life. If you accept the Montessori viewpoint of parenthood, you may want to send your child to a Montessori school to complement your approach to him at home.