The myth surrounding Montessori System
When I was a child my parents signed me up in a Montessori System in kindergarten. I can remember that at the time I was five, I was able to pour tea with all the silverware and glasses usually adults won’t let kids use because they are too scared that, their little ones get injured by some sort. I could also work with very advanced mathematics according to my age, I could sweep, mop, clean the table, close the chair, wash my clothes and hang them up. I don’t remember much more but I know the brilliant effects it caused in my brain development with the habits I learned. When I entered to a traditional system I learned to write in two months and I paced up with the English I didn’t know. My brain worked very different from other classmates, I did my homework at school so I could play more time at home. This to me meant independence, which is the core of the Montessori System, to respect the children’s peace and interests as they grow.
Unfortunately, whenever Montessori System is open for debate comparing it to the traditional system, the first con is that kids work without boundaries and that they can do whatever they want, like and whenever they decide it. Recently I started teaching English at Forester Montessori College in Metepec, which they follow a strict Montessori Method. I learned as an adult and psychologist with lots of experience at teaching kids in different colleges with different educational methods, that kids in Montessori systems definitely have a lot of boundaries. Here are examples of how it works:
- If a kid wants to work with a new material either because he chooses it or because the planning registers he or she has to work with this new material, they take a ten minute presentation learning how the material matches the new information. Later on kids work with the material and practice as long as they finish this material. They are allowed to put the material away only if they are finished with the task and they have to wrap up the activity putting the material in the right place, clean and ready for others to use. This includes cleaning the table and sweeping the floor. This gives them in between other benefits, the ability for closure. Do you have a kid that never picks their toys away? He or she needs closure.
- Kids do not have academic homeworks but they do have daily chores: preparing their own lunch, choosing their own clothes to wear, dress by themselves from early ages, etc. This gives them independence and taking responsibility for their own stuff as well as if they forget their lunch bags, they have to solve the problem by themselves, with guidance of other children or adults.
- In the Montessori system there is no sculling children, we help them to get to a point of conscience by themselves so they have critical minds. This helps them to take their own critical decisions with all the experience they have and all the information they have collected in years.
- Montessori children are very independent but can also work in teams. They are aware of all the issues involving the environment, the cosmic awareness that connects us all with others and nature. They are sensible and want to create ways to help us all out, so they know they are independent and they also know that whatever they do, affects the universe.
- Montessori children are very polite and will set as well boundaries whenever they dislike an action, feel uncomfortable or disrespected.
This is as far as I’ve seen in this short time I’ve actually worked inside a Montessori classroom teaching English, I see lots of limits to keep order in the workshop all day long. In my opinion I have a kid in kindergarten and I am so pleased that she has started with this method because even though is more difficult for parents to make changes of traditional methods of raising kids, this way help all the family to raise happier and held backed kids.
By Laura Cervantes Ricoy
English Teacher from Workshop 1B