What Is The Montessori Method?
One of the methods and principles of education is the Montessori method. A method devised by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s.
The Montessori method is a child centric method of education. The activities and projects carried out revolve around the students. The schools use hands-on learning techniques to impart lessons. Montessori teachers often give a lot of independence to the learners.
The American Montessori Society as well as Mario Montessori that students learn better if they are given the freedom to choose. They choose according to their own areas of interest. They will not be bound by the traditional syllabus and learning curriculum. The world will be their oyster.
According to Dr Maria Montessori, the philosophy primarily functions around five Montessori guidelines which are also in tandem with the Association Montessori Internationale.
● Respect the child for who he is. Do not in any way try to reprimand them for it.
● Let the child learn from the world around them. Let them absorb and adapt.
● Child centric learning and setting schedules according to their convenience.
● Promote freedom and independence to choose and learn. Do not impose.
● Self education is also called auto education. The child is very well capable of educating himself.
Why Montessori Is Bad?
Despite being so child friendly, the Montessori program has received a lot of criticism time and again. Some believe it to be overly expensive and some call it inaccessible.
The American philosopher John Dewey greatly disagreed with the Montessori principle. He felt that the Montessori program killed creativity. He also claimed that children who lacked motivation will never be able to push themselves to learn and thrive in the Montessori system.
A lot of people believe that the structure and system of the Montessori principle is extremely loose and flexible. Students may not take it seriously. Due to the lack of a formal system, they might take advantage of the situation. They may just take it casually and remain in their comfort zone.
The pros and cons of the Montessori method are discussed in detail below:
Pros of the Montessori Method
Hands On Learning
The biggest advantage of the Montessori classroom is the way it gives opportunities to its learners to do hands-on learning and research. A Montessori student would deal with real life situations to carry out his experiments and projects. As per the Montessori way, the classroom encourages children to think independently and act according to their own will.
The Montessori preschool encourages the students to delve deeper into situations. It encourages them to get a first hand experience and provides a practical worldview. Be it the Montessori toys or other props.
Facilitates Social Interaction
Freedom and liberty gives the learners ample time to interact and hone their social skills. Peer tutoring is also very popular. Children interact with each other and clear their doubts and concerns. This facilitates communication and polishes their social skills. Montessori Education works on the principle of ‘liberty within limits’.
The Monthessori classroom largely stresses on emotional intelligence. It inculcates values of sympathy and kindness and also indulges in socializing and collaborating with one another.
Independent learning makes the learners self sufficient and determined. It infuses motivation to work harder and thrive independently. This kind of a learning module is also called a self directed form of learning. In fact, it is one of the strongest pillars of Montessori education. The teacher takes a backseat and acts as a mere facilitator. She also offers age appropriate activities for students to perform independently.
Children take primary charge of planning and executing their learning experiences. The teacher becomes their guide. It makes the Montessori environment highly conducive.
Learning Becomes Fun
Lessons, because they are dealt with independently, become fun and children don’t take it as a burden upon themselves. Students of different ages are provided with uninterrupted hours and periods. They choose to spend their time the way they want to and hone their skill.
Dr Montessori believed that children’s best learning takes place when their senses are heightened. If the senses are awakened then the child will start showing interest in various activities. Be it younger children or older children. This makes the Montessori education easy, enjoyable and fun filled.
Room For Emotions
The Montessori classroom also gives a lot of room for emotions in contrast with a traditional school. They work on the four basic aspects of building a child’s emotional quotient especially during early childhood education. The four core aspects are: building relationships, self-motivation, empathy and awareness of the self and control of one’s emotions. Modeling the child’s real feelings, teaching coping skills and showing empathy are some of the techniques to build on the ‘Emotional Quotient’ of the child, the essence of a Montessori class and their educational philosophy.
Also Read: Discipline In Montessori
Children are active participants as per the Montessori approach. In fact, they are the flag bearers of all the activities. With the teacher being only the guide or a mere facilitator. They are not passive learners. They are the active participants of the imaginative play. Mugging up or ‘rote’ learning
is highly discouraged. Only active participation is encouraged in Montessori pedagogy. This was quite a vision at Casa Dei Bambini, the preschool established by Maria Montessori.
Road to Self Discipline
Since the Montessori method gives a lot of room for freedom, a child chooses what he has to read and write. How every coin has two sides to it, similarly with rights, you have duties to fulfill. It becomes imperative for the Montessori kids to control his behavior and emotions. It requires a lot of self policing and self discipline. It leads to both internal and external self discipline. Be it an older child or a young child.
Cons Of The Montessori Method
Expensive Method of Education
According to the statistics, the average cost of a Montessori School is between $9,750 and $15,300. Elementary school costs range from $10,500 to $14,750. Preschooling by Montessori is about $3000-$4000 more expensive than traditional preschools, and about $8,300 more expensive than traditional public schools.
The costly tuition and fee makes it a not so desirable option for the parents who in turn opt for traditional high school which are within budgets.
Far Too Much Freedom
A lot of educators feel that Montessori schools give away far too much freedom and liberty to their students. They fail to realize that with it also comes lots of responsibilities. Some students may misuse this kind of freedom and may not study at all. Freedom if combined with some boundaries can help in inculcating values and discipline right from early childhood days. Naturally, if there’s no discipline then a Montessori child cannot put his heart and head in an activity or a project.
Also Read: Worst Age To Change Schools
Rarity And Non Availability
Montessori schools are not easily located. You may find one odd Montessori school in your vicinity. A parent would not want any child to travel that far for his schooling. Because of its inaccessibility, Montessori schools are not very popular amongst people. They’d rather admit their child in a traditional school which is nearby. Saving up on time and commuting in turn will facilitate the growth and development of the kids.
Lack of Organization Can Lead To Indiscipline
Where there is lack of organization, there is bound to be chaos. Chaos in turn will lead to indiscipline. A child needs discipline and organization to fetch the desired results. Otherwise, it will only lead to a downward spiral in terms of their teaching and learning. The Montessori method propagates that discipline comes from within. This is a tricky point since many students will not be able to do a good job.
Not Accessible To Everyone
Montessori preschool fees may not fit into everyone’s budget. Its inaccessibility and non availability makes it a little less popular with the parents. Most Montessori preschools in the US are private schools which come with high prices and costs. Most of the students enrolled in such schools usually belong to higher income groups. The high fee structure makes it inaccessible for middle or lower income groups to seek admissions in a Montessori preschool.
Curriculum Maybe Open Ended and Loose
The curriculum is not always planned or designed. There are no set structures or systems in place. There is no designed syllabus to be completed within a stipulated period of time. This may lead to indiscipline and chaos. As a result children may not take it seriously. Sometimes they take advantage of this level of freedom and independence. A child who enters college after finishing Montessori may find it extremely challenging to adjust with a setup where there’s a proper system and deadlines.
Teachers May Not Be Montessori Trained
To find a trained and experienced teacher is a challenge these days, in both traditional and Montessori schools. There is always an ever increasing demand for Montessori trained teachers. They need a proper certification to be a Montessori teacher. Teachers generally take certification and a degree to teach in a traditional school, but not the Montessori one. So, finding a certified mentor becomes a challenge for most of the Montessori schools.
Kids May Not Be Able To Adapt Elsewhere
Students who have only experienced liberty and freedom, may not be able to adapt to other institutions. They may not be able to cope with the strict regimes, structures and deadlines.
They may not be able to confirm to conventionality after finishing a Montessori school. Will they be able to make that kind of a transition, that is the question. They rather should have the strength and ability to adapt to new circumstances and take any situation by storm.
Why do some people dislike Montessori?
Some people and some parents do not approve of the Montessori method. They find it far too open ended and loose. It’s inaccessibility and rarity make it a little less popular amongst the choice of schools. People feel that the interaction is spontaneous and less structured. There is no class protocol or discipline. People also feel that too much time is spent on practical thinking and less on substantial thinking. A lot of independence and freedom is given to the child and they might take advantage of it. There’s a lack of discipline and organization as a result.
Who disagrees with Montessori?
An American philosopher and educator, John Dewey and his student William Heard Kirpatrick totally negated the concept of the Montessori method. He felt that Montessori curbed creativity. He also felt that Montessori focussed too much on the individual. He also started a campaign against the Monterssori method in the 1920s and went on to attack it. Using pamphlets etc, he went on a rampage against the Monterssori principle and heavily criticized it. His scathing comments totally discouraged the demand for Montessori schools for almost three years.He was one the most prominent American educators to criticize and discredit the Montessori schools.
Which type of children thrive in Montessori?
A child with special needs or learning disabilities often thrive in Montessori schools. There are activities conducted in a Montessori setting where all the senses are engaged. Children who enjoy lots of freedom and liberation in a Montessori school are free to roam around freely. This can be a blessing for children who require a lot of physical activity. Each child can learn at his or her own will and pace. There are no added pressures or burdens of formal examinations. This can be extremely fruitful for children with special needs. Learning can become fun for them rather than a pressure or a burden.