5 Benefits of Montessori education for your toddler!
Created by Nitin Updated on Mar 13, 2020
Your toddler is grasping several times faster than you, exploring her surroundings at several times you could, and her imagination is truly filled with wonder. These are just not general hearsay comments, but scientifically proven and researched facts about brain development in the first 5 years of our lives. More than 90 percent of our brain develops in the first 5 years, read early years. Imagine the possibilities of a child’s growth and development in these early years with the right surroundings, inputs and intervention. Several key factors come into play for early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE), especially in early years; one such key aspect is the approach to this learning and development.
Montessori approach is one such key approach for ECDE. An Italian Physician (first Italian lady physician) and educator, Maria Montessori, developed this approach based on her extensive research characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Some of the key aspects of this approach are:
- Learner chooses an activity from a range of options
- Uninterrupted work time, ideally three hours
- A constructivist or "discovery" model, where a child learns concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
- Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators from their research work spread over several years
- Freedom of movement within the classroom
- A trained Montessori teacher
Such was the Montessori revolution that it almost started being used interchangeably with KG or preschool or nursery. Here are some of the highlights of how Montessori approach fosters early years of development for a toddler.
1. Focuses on Key Developmental Milestones
It focuses on key developmental milestones for a child in between the ages of two and five-years-old. Younger children focus on honing large muscle (motor skills) and language skills. Four-year-olds work on fine motor skills (hand, finger and finer movement) and completing everyday activities, such as cooking and arts and crafts. It incorporates older preschoolers (4 year-old) broaden their learning experience to their communities, through trips and special events. For e.g. a trip to the dairy, or a trip to the farm
2. Encourages Collaboration and play
Since the teacher does not “run” the classroom, learners guide the activities they do throughout the day. This encourages a toddler to share and work cooperatively to explore the various stations – play and learn toys and resource material in the Montessori classroom. A child in such an environment learns to respect his/her peer group and builds a sense of community.
3. Child is at the centre of learning
Children enjoy a classroom and curriculum created around their specific needs and abilities in a Montessori approach. This allows them to explore and learn at their own pace and on their own terms. This takes the race away from early childhood development and keeps it focused on each child’s milestones, rather than competing to get their first. Everything in the classroom is within a child’s reach and furniture is sized to be appropriate for children to sit comfortably. In addition, in Montessori approach, older children in the group may work with the younger ones, so mentoring comes as much from peers as it does from the adult teachers in the classroom.
4. Fosters independence and self discipline
While the Montessori approach gives freedom to a child to choose the activities s/he wants to work on each day, and how long s/he will work on each of these activities for, there are specific “ground rules” for the class that are consistently reinforced by the teacher and other learners. This environment fosters self-discipline naturally and it helps in refining important skills like concentration, self-control and motivation, which come with intra-personal (independent, by self, from observation) learning.
5. Teacher as a facilitator and individualised learning for each child
Teachers in the Montessori approach are “facilitators/guides” who are trained to facilitate the learning experience for a child. Teachers take the lead from the children in the classroom, ensure the ground rules are followed, and encourage learners to perform their tasks at their own pace. However, teachers do not determine the pace of the classroom – that is completely up to individual students, as a Montessori teacher is suppose to strive to remain as unobtrusive as possible.
Overall, from my own understanding and learning, inside the classroom, from ECDE teacher training interactions and from parents’ interactions, Montessori approach would work well for you if you feel your child thrives better with a little lesser structure in early years, and if you are OK with your child learning at his/her own pace. In some cases, I have heard rave reviews from parents about this approach, especially when they have found their toddler to be adventurous early on, trying to do a new task every day, almost as if on a crusade to discovery.
| Sep 03, 2016
@nitin, thanks for this valuable information. Please if possible do share difference between playschool, montessori, day care and creche. Though I agree all have different way and will be effective in other way. But some basic differentiation will be of great help.
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