Impact of Montessori Method

  1. Good Handwriting (Based on teachers ‘ observation
    In the Montessori classroom the children are systematically and carefully prepared for writing. The child may start writing words only when he is 4years old. But, even before that the hand is prepared for writing. Muscle control is developed by doing practical life tasks with controlled movements. For example when pouring water into a cup the child is asked to pay attention to a line marked on the cup, and be careful to stop exactly when the marked line is reached. This calls for visual attention and muscle control. Knobbed Cylinders help the child practice how to hold a pencil. Tracing geometrical shapes helps in practicing making straight line, slanting line and curved line movements with fingers as they trace the edges of the various shapes. With Sand Paper Letters they practice tracing the exact shape of letters. And, with Metal Insets children practice drawing lines within boundaries before they move on to actual writing.
  2. Interest in Learning: (Teachers observation – ‘when one lesson is completed ,they want to go on to the next’)
    It is very common to see children coming to the school crying or showing resistance or unwillingness. On the other hand, in the Montessori environment, it is a common sight to see toddlers crying when they have to leave and go home!
    Here, the children seem to be at home and working in a very relaxed manner. They seem to be busy, but unhurried. They are as focused, as one is when writing an exam.  But, underlying the intense concentration there is calm self-assurance, not the pressure of completing a disliked task. How is this possible? The very foundation of the Montessori Method lies in the freedom to work with developmentally rich pedagogical materials that are immensely satisfying. The children have a natural inclination to master the tools and use the resources. The secret behind the joy of learning lies in the fact that the teacher does not directly impart or convey knowledge. Knowledge and skills are gained by manipulating the didactic materials. The teacher only gives guidelines or necessary steps to be followed.
    Each child has to understand the lesson by using or operating the material as many times as is required for him to crystallize the skill or knowledge embedded in the piece. There is a goal to be achieved, a challenge to be overcome. Children like to be challenged. The child feels a natural urge to repeat until he gets it right. There is no pressure, only pleasure.     
    The general notion is that children won’t like to remain in one place and be orderly and organized. Montessori System proves otherwise. As it is a System of Learning by Doing, children are very attentive and very keen to learn.
    The discipline is arrived at most naturally, without any external force. Ironically it is freedom that begets discipline. In a Montessori classroom the child can choose any material that he feels the urge to work with. Only he needs to follow the ground rules of handling and putting things back in the manner that he found them, ready and complete for the next child to work with it. This seems a fair enough regulation. Most importantly with each and every activity presented the teacher herself takes exaggerated efforts to be gentle, precise and careful. Being calm and gentle is not so much a verbal instruction but intertwined into the activity itself. For example even in a seemingly simple water pouring lesson the action is broken into several sequential steps. Every movement is visibly slow. You pick up the jug delicately, pour the water gracefully, carefully wipe the spout to avoid any trickles and put the jug down extremely gently and graciously. Being calm, gentle, graceful and systematic is interwoven into the very essence of the activity.  The effect is miraculous. It becomes a way of life. Even if it starts as a guideline instruction, it inherently and effortlessly develops into an enduring personality trait.
    Children in this System of Education prove very helpful, compassionate and understanding towards each other.
    There are practical life activities like cutting vegetables and sifting, pounding and pouring. There are older children and younger children all working in one room. Older children are frequently asked to help the younger ones just like we do at home. This fosters an environment of co-operation and filial feeling. The older ones take pride in helping the younger ones.   
    Children have the sharing and caring attitude in all their activities. They are not possessive about the accessories and they are willing to share what they have, be it an object or knowledge that they have acquired, with their fellow students.
    Children never rush or push to be in the forefront for anything. They wait for their turn in a queue patiently and willingly. In fact, standing in a queue for their turn is never an irksome task for them. It is a way of life for them. In other words, they respect others’ time and rights as much as their own.
  5. Montessori children do not feel intimidated by adults.
    Children who study in Montessori System of Education are not intimidated by adults. They look straight into the adult’s eyes and respond, at the same time with due respect and courtesy.
    Every child has the inner drive to acquire physical independence. He aspires to overcome difficulties and become better and better. He follows a path of successive stages of independence and mastery of the various aspects of life. In this journey the teacher helps him to act and think for himself. She never exerts her authority, never infuses her ideas and thoughts and never hastens to help or correct him. The child is revered and respected. He is not assessed, or punished. So, there is no question of fear only deep respect for his teacher.
  6. Resilience.
    Children learn to face ridicules and sarcastic comments aimed against them without getting heartbroken. Children do not suffer from inferiority complex.
    Contrary to orthodox methods of teaching that treats the child like as if with a void mind waiting to be filled with our knowledge. The Montessori Method conversely believes that the child has a hidden power to spontaneously absorb and construct knowledge. The scientifically developed pedagogical materials help the child to work independently. The child learns guided by his own labour, builds ideas and concepts brick by brick by systematically taking up, repeating and perfecting one task after another. This process of self-construction gives him a quiet dignity, a feeling of self-worth. There is an inner joy, satisfaction and pride. Self-achievement fosters self-respect.
  7. Children are independent.
    They do their chores independently, without others asking them or directing them to do. And, when they do a work they complete it with single-minded concentration and only then they turn their attention to other things.
    The materials in a Montessori classroom do not look colourful or attractive. But, they are designed to feed the interest of the child. He seeks different types of environmental experiences and masters different skills at different stages in keeping with his developmental needs at different stages. There is only one of each kind of equipment/set, and if it is in use, the child has to wait. It is a kind of denial of impulses. But, this value of patience cannot be taught to a three year old. It can only come from experience.
    Children studying in Montessori System of Education take pride in keeping their place clean and if they see the place unclean they don’t wait for someone to do the cleaning but be the first one to do it!
    Practical life activities like washing, wiping, dusting, sweeping are all a part of the curriculum in a Montessori classroom. We spoke that the child is free to choose any activity he wants. This freedom comes with a responsibility attached to it. Restoration and storing is a ground rule followed from Day1 in the classroom. Even the mat the child sits on has to be rolled back neatly and stored appropriately. If when pouring grains the child spills some grain he has to gather the grain in a dust pan. Pouring was the main activity, but the activity is not complete without cleaning up and storing the material in the same spot and manner in which it was on the display shelf. In every activity, be it practical life or math the child is shown how to wind up his materials. The child learns early in life the responsibility of keeping his environment clean and orderly.
  8. Empathetic
    Montessori children never laugh at other’s predicaments or disabilities. On the other hand, they come forward to help them and be of assistance to them.
    The child in a Montessori classroom may be aware that each of his friends are differently endowed. The older or better children assist whenever help is required, and to the extent required. Time and again we have observed that whenever a child accidentally spills anything, everyone rushes to help. Yet, we have also always observed that no child interferes in the work of another even if the other child may be struggling. They respect the effort of the other child, but hasten to aid the child if he looks for help. The teacher also watches and waits, and never rushes to correct or help. 
    It is also important to note that no child is lauded or criticized. There is no race to finish first, or rivalry in being ranked. The children are not working on similar planes to be compared. In the absence of competition there is familial feeling, a natural feeling of camaraderie.
    Montessori children are not gender-biased. Both boys and girls do the chores willingly. Be it cleaning the vessels, cutting vegetables, sweeping the floor, they have no reservation in doing it. They perform such activities with utmost concentration and wholehearted participation.
    In no other classroom will you find that brooms and mops are part of the curriculum. Yes, sweeping, dusting, cutting vegetables, pounding using a mortar and pestle are much sought after activities in the Montessori classroom.
  10. DECISION MAKING : Montessori children have the capacity to make decisions. In a given situation they never feel lost and bewildered but always initiate the necessary solutions.
    When a child is presented a lesson, let’s say a lesson on Long Stairs he will be shown how to carry the long rods and how to work with them. If he makes any mistake the teacher does not rush to correct him but lets him find out for himself. In every lesson the child has to arrive at the solution by trial and error. The child has to make mistakes and arrive at solutions all by himself. This gives him confidence to execute more difficult tasks, and approach real life situation problems with the same attitude. He does not feel overwhelmed, but calmly overcomes.