Friday, 29 March 2013

5 Things I love about Montessori method

I am a HUGE, HUMONGOUS, fan of Montessori- here's why:
1. The child is an active learner
In a regular school setting, the child is expected to sit passively and listen attentively to the teacher yaking away. But in the Montessori setting, the child is an active learner, working on manipulative while the directoress (teacher) is the one who's siting passively, watching & gently guiding the child. It is quite clear under which environment the child learns better. In Montessori, it provides a natural setting for a child to learn as it is more hands on & hence fun.
2. There is no homework.
Need i say more?
3. No lengthy explanations needed.
In a regular school, the teacher would give lengthy explanations on concepts filled with charts, pictures, words etc. But in Montessori, you don't need to tell the children how to do it, you just need to show them.  The trust is in the child to pick up the concept as she works on the activity. For instance, the pink tower. The teacher does not need to tell or explain to the child which block is big, which is small. As the child builds the tower, she will eventually pick up the concept of big, bigger, small, smaller etc.
4. The child is never tested. 
A mother shared with me that she believes there is no need to test a child. As long as we are able to prick their interest in learning, they will naturally learn and pick up concepts. I have to admit, i LOVE to test my son- because i want to know how much he really knows. I think this is the typical Singaporean syndrome. We want to see worksheets/test papers because we just NEED to know how well our children is doing. But this mother is so right. There is really no need to test a child; why test the child to force her to learn (& killing her interest in learning) when we should be nuturing her love for learning so that she will be self motivated to learn?
Therein lies the beauty of Montessori. The lesson is the 'test', the 'test' is the lesson. By observing the child work on the activities, the teacher/parent would instantly receive feedback on how much the child knows. Just by observing- there is no need for tests to prove it.  What's more, Montessori work is designed to look like play. The child does not necessary know she is learning. It is a perfect balance between work and play- that's why learning is fun for Montessori kids.
5. Each child learns at her own pace.
In a regular classroom, the teacher teaches one chapter for all without a care if child A doesn't know how to read yet, child B doesn't know his numbers but child C already knows how to read and recognise numbers. The slower child is expected to keep up- inevitably making her feel inadequate, the faster child is expected to 'slow down'- making her feel stifled. A child should never learn under such circumstances. Learning should be easy and fun.
In Montessori, each child is taught at her level. Each child has the freedom to choose her work in the classroom according to her interest. Child A may be working on phonics, child B may be working on numbers and child C working on reading etc. No child is made feeling like she is any lesser or better than the other. Learning is free from stress and unnecessary pressures.
It is quite obvious to me which learning environment will the child excel in. It is sad that our local school education is going the opposite way clearly making learning so stressful and competitive. It is a sure way to kill any interest and love for learning. I wish for more Montessori system injected into our local schools.

I feel terribly heavy hearted that my son will be stepping into this system very soon. But my husband and i are agreeable that the moment we see sonshine cracking- we will be ready to pull him out of the school either to homeschool him or off we go to another country (for this, i am grateful that this option comes easy for us). Till then, fingers cross!
Link up to
Mum in the Making


  1. Everyone's warning me that P1 is the "honeymoon" year (and perhaps P2 too), so I think the real dread will only set in later!

    For now what bugs me most about school is the fixation with rules. Even the external enrichment providers are fond of this--Layla showed me this slip of paper where she was made to copy down and remember a set of rules (basically common courtesies like not talking when someone else is talking). The thing that irked me most was that when you put together the first letter of each rule, it spells the provider's name! What a waste of time, I thought!

    p.s. Thanks for this list, it makes me interested to read about Montessori all over again! I didn't get very far with my reading the first time around!

  2. Wahahaha!! I can't believe it! Im so tickled by the copy work using the provider's name! So nonensensical! I'm laughing now but I know I would be so peeve! It IS a waste of time, goodness me!!

    But you know Montessori schools here are not authentic, sadly they incorporate worksheets to make sporean parents happy. Also, at one point of time, you need to yank the kid out of Montessori because, well, the kids will have to eventually conform to our primary schools. :( that's why I've pretty much stop Montessori on sonshine.