Following a child
Montessori believes that every child is unique. The adult observes the interests of every child and adjusts the pace (not pressured) and focus of learning based on their individual interests and developmental needs. Hence the adult follows the child and the child is the center of everything, not the adult. This allows the child to explore and learn more and become independent.
Montessori environments are filled with specially designed material to help the child learn by exploration. The environments are well organized for easy access and are aesthetically pleasing. Children learn through a variety of age appropriate materials that challenge the learning potential of the child.
Mixed Age Group
Montessori education is infused with the idea of community and children ranging from two and half years to six years stay together in a single environment. When a child joins an environment, he is cared and guided by the older children. In Montessori mixed age classrooms, children have the opportunity to learn from their peers.
Freedom of Choice
To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.
Any true Montessori Environment encourages children to move about freely and choose their own work within reasonable limits of appropriate behaviour.
“The liberty of the child ought to have as its limits the collective interest of the community in which he moves; its form is expressed in what we call manners and good behaviour. it is our duty then to protect the child from doing anything which may offend or hurt others, and to check the behaviour which is unbecoming or impolite. But as regards all else, every action that has a useful purpose, whatever it may be and in whatever forms it shows itself, ought not only to be permitted, but it ought to be kept under observation, that is the essential point.” Maria Montessori, Discovery of the Child.
The approach to Children, the understanding of the nuances of this age, slowing down to the pace of the Child, patiently educating parents on how to sensitise themselves to their child all of this helps to form the foundation for positive, early learning experiences and this is as much the culture of the school as what is taught here.
Our vegetable patch, where children plant and take care of their saplings, are an excellent platform for Nature study. Children begin to understand that humans are only one element of nature and the importance of living in harmony with the environment. The idea is to make children aware of a larger social and natural world and inspire them to want to learn more.
It helps a child look beyond the initial awareness of social consciousness that happens in the family. Only with a good understanding of diversities will a child be able to appreciate differences and also to connect with the world.