Thoughts on Education: Montessori, more relevant than ever!
The most significant word in the name of our school is MONTESSORI. It distinctly clarifies the philosophy of education that we offer to our highly engaged students: education which supports the intellectual, social and emotional development of the whole individual. More than 100 years ago, Dr. Montessori did not have the resources to assess and monitor her theories of human development in the same way that we do today. She relied solely on her innate and astute skills of observation. Her renowned level of genius has been historically attributed to her ability to unequivocally understand and translate the principles of human development based on her observations.
There are numerous writings on the Montessori method of education which articulate key precepts on child development, natural child development. In summary, Maria Montessori defined fundamental ‘aha’ conclusions on how to maximize the potential of all children and tested them over time in specially designed classrooms. We are proud that the following principles of Montessori education are honoured in all of our classrooms by the highly qualified and dedicated OMS Montessori teaching professionals:
- the environment plays a pivotal role in human growth
- learning is self-directed
- concentration during work periods leads to mastery of concepts
- repetition is the underpinning of how we learn: the brain is a muscle
- as human nature creates a desire to belong to a group, we learn by imitating what is being modelled by those in our group
- we all go through sensitive periods where we are primed for learning through specific methods of information presentation
After years of research, there is comforting reassurance that these basic Montessori principles of learning methodology continue to be supported by the study of brain science today. Dr. Montessori prompted teachers to be observers with a scientific perspective in their classrooms. She made a conscious decision to change the title of ‘teacher’ to ‘director’ in order to better define the role of the teacher from toddler to adolescent.
Today, Montessori teachers spend many hours preparing their Montessori classrooms before the children arrive at school. Materials are carefully sequenced to follow a logical order, and furniture is carefully chosen and arranged to inspire the child towards active learning experiences. Special attention is directed toward the social order and class groupings; record-keeping is designed to support and respect each child’s progress through the learning process. This year, OMS Montessori has transitioned into use of an online record keeping software, titled Montessori Records Xpress. This software will support more detailed planning when needed, as well as the ability to quickly track a lesson being presented and interpret the data afterwards. Moreover, we will be using Montessori Records Xpress to design our report cards this year.
Following Montessori protocol, teachers will observe the children and direct them to the learning experiences that fit their individual needs. The teacher’s role is to discover something called ‘the match’, where the child’s activity and needs at that moment interconnect. The Montessori teacher seeks to help students develop from their own innate learning powers, drives and talents. As Maria Montessori shared with the world: ‘the child is the central figure and the teacher is there to act as a guide in what we know today is the inborn human urge to grow and learn.’
Our students are learning how to learn in ‘old world meets new world’ prepared environments. OMS Montessori, recently re-accredited, would delight Dr. Montessori herself.
For more perspectives on Montessori research, please visit the following websites:
Head of Schools