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Frequently Asked Questions


How is the Montessori system different from traditional education?

For children six and under, Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. They are not required to sit and listen to a teacher talk to them as a group, but are engaged in individual or group activities of their own, with materials that have been introduced to them by the teacher who knows what each child is ready to do. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.

What is the advantage of Mixed Age Environment?
Montessori programs are designed to address the developmental characteristics normal to children in that stage. Montessori classes are organized to encompass a three-year age span, which allows younger students the stimulation of older children and learn from them. The older children benefit by being role models and leaders of the classroom community.

Each child learns at her own pace and will be ready for any given lesson in her own time, not on the teacher's schedule of lessons. In a mixed-age class, children can always find peers who are working at their current level.

Children normally stay in the same class for three years. With two-thirds of the class normally returning each year, the classroom culture tends to remain quite stable. Instead of graduating and moving to a new class each year, working in the same environment for three years allows students to develop a strong sense of community with their classmates and teachers.
Montessori classrooms don't look like regular classrooms. Where are the rows of desks? Where does the teacher stand?

The different arrangement of a Montessori classroom mirrors the Montessori methods differences from traditional education. Rather than putting the teacher at the focal point of the class, with children dependent on her for information and activity, the classroom shows a literally child-centered approach. Children work at tables or on floor mats where they can spread out their materials, and the teacher circulates about the room, giving lessons or resolving issues as they arise. The tables and floor mats also serve to clearly delineate workspaces that help focus the children's concentration on their own work, provide protection for the materials, and helps children not infringe on the workspace of others.

At each level, Montessori programs are designed to address the developmental characteristics normal to children in that stage. Montessori classes are organized to encompass a three-year age span, which allows younger students the stimulation of older children and learn from them. The older children benefit by being role models and leaders of the classroom community.

For children six and under, Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. They are not required to sit and listen to a teacher talk to them as a group, but are engaged in individual or group activities of their own, with materials that have been introduced to them by the teacher who knows what each child is ready to do. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.

I am thinking of enrolling my three year-old child in a Montessori School. How do children who go to a Montessori school adjust to the pressures of regular mainstream school once they complete at the age of six? Do they find it difficult to adjust
The aim of the Montessori 3-6 programme is not to prepare children for mainstream school. The greater aim is to assist with the natural development of children and to help them to develop to their fullest potential. If supported, children draw tremendous benefit from the Montessori programme. They develop good communication skills, write creatively and have good reading comprehension, understand many mathematical concepts, have good social skills, cope with changes with self-confidence and often try to seek solutions to their own problems. As a result they cope very well in mainstream schools.

By the end of age five, Montessori children are normally curious, self-confident learners who look forward to going to school. They are normally engaged, enthusiastic learners who honestly want to learn and who ask excellent questions.

There is nothing inherent in Montessori that causes children to have a hard time if they are transferred to traditional schools. Some will be bored. Others may not understand why everyone in the class has to do the same thing at the same time. But most adapt to their new setting fairly quickly, making new friends, and succeeding within the definition of success understood in their new school. There will naturally be trade-offs if a Montessori child transfers to a traditional school. The curriculum in Montessori schools is often more enriched than that taught in other schools. The values and attitudes of the children and teachers may also be quite different. Learning will often be focused more on adult-assigned tasks done more by rote than with enthusiasm and understanding.

Is Montessori opposed to competition?
Montessori is not opposed to competition; Dr. Montessori simply observed that competition is an ineffective tool to motivate children to learn and to work hard in school. Traditionally, schools challenge students to compete with one another for grades, class rankings, and special awards. In Montessori schools, students learn to collaborate with each other rather than mindlessly compete. Students discover their own innate abilities and develop a strong sense of independence, self-confidence, and self-discipline. In an atmosphere in which children learn at their own pace and compete only against themselves, they learn not to be afraid of making mistakes. They quickly find that few things in life come easily, and they can try again without fear of embarrassment. Dr. Montessori argued that for an education to touch children’s hearts and minds profoundly, students must be learning because they are curious and interested, not simply to earn the highest grade in the class.

What about Sports?

There are no formal classes for sports or physical education during the week. However, the system is designed such that the children are allowed freedom of movement at any time within the classroom, in the process of their work, to get materials, bring their own work mat, gardening outdoors etc. Unlike in traditional schools, they are not confined behind desks for a long period of time. We have ball, skipping rope and a play area and children enjoy their play. Children who enjoy sports and other structured physical activities are encouraged to pursue private lessons after school working hours.

What is freedom in Montessori environment?
Children in Montessori are free to move, free to choose and free to talk. However, Freedom comes with Responsibility. Thus, if the child is free to move, he or she is made aware of others in the environment and made to realize that they cannot disturb others at work. In the same way, while choosing an activity, he or she is free to pick from activities shown to him, thus ensuring that the school can provide a structured and balanced growth of the child.

As Gandhi said, “Freedom doesn’t mean the absence of restrictions. It means possessing unshakable conviction in your choices in the face of an obstacle”. To enable the child develop self discipline, it is very important for the adult to prepare the environment that auto disciplines the child through work and set rules that need to be adhered to with the adult being consistent with the expectations and limitations set.

Is Montessori for all children?

The Montessori system has been used successfully with children from all socio-economic levels, representing those in regular classes as well as the gifted. It is also beneficial for children with developmental delays, and children with emotional and physical disabilities.

Montessori system of education definitely needs the co-operation in lifestyle of the parents and their immediate family. If your child is over-exposed(over 30-60 minutes in total per day) to Television, Electronic Gadgets, Video Games and inappropriate food habits, then Montessori Education should not be your choice for your children. Montessori method cultivates independence and learning from curiosity, a self directed learning and that cannot be accomplished as all the above mentioned deviates the child from learning by doing it themselves. The hands are the instruments to knowledge and exposure to these become a hindrance in their natural development.

Does Montessori extend beyond pre-school?

Yes. During her course of study, Dr.Montessori discovered that development in children occurs in four successive stages or planes. In each stage, the child exhibits different needs and tendencies and different psychological characteristics. Montessori education thus comprises 4 different programs, each for a different age group of children:
• The Toddler Program – for 0 to 3 years
• The Primary Program – for 3 to 6 years
• The Elementary Program – for 6 to 12 years
• The Adolescent or “Erd kinder” Program – for 12 to 15 years

Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking relevant questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.
Many great thinkers and revolutionists like MK. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, S. Radhakrishnan. Zakir Hussain, Rabindranath Tagore, Dr. Annie Besant and many more supported Montessori Education in India.
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