Why Montessori ?
For years, the Montessori system of education has churned out one famous achiever after another across diverse fields – Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nobel Prize winner for Literature), Julia Child (author, chef, TV show host), Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs (singer), George Clooney (actor), Will Wright (video game pioneer), Anne Frank (author, diarist from WW II), Peter Drucker (management guru), Joshua Bell (American violinist), Katherine Graham (former owner-editor of The Washington Post) – and many others.
What is it about the Montessori system that helped these personalities achieve global recognition? More importantly, what is it about the Montessori system that helped these personalities shape their lives in a manner that helped not just themselves, but the world they live in as well?
It is the three Montessori basics that focus on teaching a child not just how to be a better individual, but also how to contribute better to the world he lives in – The Cosmic Plan, The Five Great Lessons and The Eight Intelligences.
Cosmic education is an overall Montessori approach to education. It involves helping children to develop an awareness, that everything in the universe is connected & interdependent, forming a harmonious whole and that they themselves are part of & contribute to that whole. – NAMC
The Five Great Lessons
The five great lessons are a series of five stories that give students an understanding of the grand topics of the universe, the earth and life on earth. These stories inspire, entertain and spark imagination. Students learn how everything in this world is interconnected. They are able to place their life & problems in the grand scheme of the universe, reflect on it and nurture the essence of spirituality.
Lesson 1: The beginning of the universe
Lesson 2: Life comes on earth
Lesson 3: Humans come on earth
Lesson 4: How writing began
Lesson 5: How numbers began
The Eight Intelligences
It forms an important base for learning, understanding and expression. Sound boxes, Montessori bells and games involving rhythm & body movement, make little ears sensitive to changes in tone and pitch.
This area deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye. It enables remembering images, faces and fine details. Spatial intelligence is nurtured through activities like walking on the line, finding balance, memory games, activities, etc.
Storytelling and reading books encourage a flair for words & listening skills. Language skills are strengthened right from the beginning using object boxes & games, to the Elementary level where students read biographies and write reports.
The Montessori math material develops the logical-mathematical sense and ensures logical thinking, reasoning and critical thinking. Each material helps to develop eye-hand coordination, concentration, and knowledge of operations through hands-on-activities before the child reaches abstraction.
These skills are fostered from an early stage by encouraging movement (walking, picking-up, placing-down, etc.) and other activities that are directed towards refinement of gross & fine motor skills.
The core of the Elementary Montessori curriculum is formed by these skills. Students plan and organize field trips and school events, take part in community service projects, and group presentations themselves involve team work at all levels.
Soft Skills program and Cosmic Education curriculum focuses on nurturing intrapersonal skills. By the end of Elementary, each child has the ability to look within himself and manage feelings & conflicts peacefully. Activities like yoga and meditation help in the same
This intelligence deals with observing, understanding and being able to classify things in the natural environment (plants & animals). Zoology & Botany classes in the school garden, exposure to real animals, field trips, intense and focused class room discussions & journals, enhance this skill.