Deciding on the right school for your child is probably one of the biggest decisions you as a parent will make. Laying the right educational foundation in their formative years is particularly important, as it can be a key determiner when it comes to them reaching their full learning potential.
Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori educational model is based on scientific observations of how children learn, play and interact in a structured environment from birth into adulthood.
Mampho Langa, Head: Future Nation Schools, says in her experience the Montessori approach has proven to be a holistic start to a child’s educational journey. “With the Montessori approach, the teacher, child and environment come together to form what is regarded as a learning triangle. And while the classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence and freedom a sense of order is maintained. “Within this environment the individual child then selects an activity or task to complete, interacting with fellow classmates if they so choose, as well as the teacher when further guidance is needed.”
“We have found the Montessori approach similar to our educational model in that it is highly structured while developing students’ ability to work independently and also uses learning technology. This type of approach continues to prove high benefits to the students who come through our doors,” she explains.
For Langa some of the many benefits of the Montessori approach include:
Children are regarded and valued as individuals
It is important that learning environments accommodate all learners as every child has their own learning style. The Montessori approach follows a tailor-made learning plan allowing each learner to learn at their own pace, according to the curriculum in the plan.
The multi-age classroom structure allows younger children to learn from their older peers
Each Montessori classroom typically comprises children within three years of the same age group. This allows the older to children to feel valued as mentors while the younger children benefit from learning from their peers who are supportive and encouraging. The teacher takes on modeling behaviour with the aim of nurturing an environment based on kindness and respect.
Students naturally develop order, concentration and independence
The classroom set-up and learning materials are specifically designed to support each age group’s learning and discovery phase right up until they are teenagers.
Children benefit from the freedom of self-discovery
Although freedom of expression and learning is encouraged, there are still set parameters and children benefit from learning from what interests and excites each individual child according to their own unique learning style.
The approach encourages self-correction and self-assessment
Through teaching children how to self-correct and assess from an early age it allows them to become increasingly adept at recognising their mistakes and being able to correct these independently. This further instils a sense of pride and confidence in them knowing they are capable of learning and functioning completely independently.