For many of us the word Montessori does not hold much meaning,it has been used abused many times by schools trying to ride high on the wave of the Montessori system.It has come to be known as just a term when suffixed to a school name tends to increase footfall thereby leading to more admissions.I have seen many billboards advertising ‘100 % true Montessori’ in schools across Northern India,what they are, is a matter of another post though!
My kindergarten classroom was called Montessori nevertheless.Mont 1 and Mont 2,signified Nursery and KG respectively.It certainly was not stocked with the Montessori material,but it did have a trained adult who knew how to handhold the children in their journey towards independence.The kindergarten space was also a prepared environment,which was prepared in a way that threw challenges at the children in all the right doses thereby ensuring optimal learning for the little ones.Our nibble fingers were trained hold a pencil only after we had sorted grains of rice and pulses,there by training our fingertips,fine motor skills and tendons in the wrist.
The Montessori Method was and is strict and liberal in mysterious ways.Ways that couldn’t be comprehended by the young toddlers.The teaching faculty was Irish and were hell bent on creating a discipline that we started to like eventually.Each child was observed,his needs assessed and given individual lessons as well.We worked on the floor or on the single table present in the room.
The ethos of the Montessori Method are very deep can be better understood by observations or after undergoing a training course.
For the uninitiated,this lady is Dr.Maria Montessori,born in 1870 in Italy.A physician and a champion of children’s rights,she has the methodology named after her.She painstakingly worked in the Indian subcontinent as well.The Indian government also released a postage stamp honoring her work.