Gone are the days when preschools functioned only as a transitional medium for kids before the big school. Today, there’s more emphasis on creating a strong foundation to bolster the child’s development and give her a conducive environment to grow in. To fulfil this demand, there are many teaching styles to choose from. Which one would you pick?
BY SANIA DHIRWANI
INPUTS FROM SWATI CHOPRA VIKAMSEY
WHAT IS IT? Instead of focussing on academic education, the Montessori method concentrates on encouraging each child’s differences. It provides a nurturing environment to the child that helps in developing her social and emotional skills.
MORE ABOUT IT Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr Maria Montessori. Her educational methods were based on the scientifi c observation of each child’s learning processes. Payal Patel, head and director, The Montessori School Internationale, Santacruz, Mumbai, says, “The key is to know that each child is an individual with her own interests, strengths, weaknesses and pace of learning.” The four main areas of the curriculum are exercises of practical life, sensorial, mathematics and language. In a Montessori classroom, the exercises of practical life include activities like improving motor skills by teaching kids to button, zip, buckle and tie. The purpose is to make children independent and develop concentration.
THE BENEFITS! Learning method inspires creativity: Working within the parameters set by the teachers, children choose their own activities. The focus is more on the process than the end result, hence it leads to maximum creativity. Environment teaches self-discipline: When children are finished with a particular activity, they place the items back in their original place. This process caters to a young child’s intrinsic need for an orderly environment. Multi-age classroom: Montessori schools have a mixed-age group which allows the younger children to observe and learn from their older peers in the same environment and space. Older children have the opportunity to teach the younger ones and crystallise their learnings further.
THE TRANSITION.. The concern of most parents is the advancement from the Montessori education to regular schooling. Payal says, “The transition to regular school is fine. The children are well prepared in concepts of language, writing and mathematics. Since their basics are strong, they easily modify to the new environment. However, we would recommend children to continue with elementary Montessori.”
IN YOUR CITY..
✏ Harmony Montessori School, Khar, Mumbai
✏ Besant Montessori School, Juhu, Mumbai
✏ Vruksha Montessori, Alwarpet, Chennai
✏ Akshara Montessori House of Children, Ulsoor, Bangalore
✏ GD Goenka La Petite, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi
WHAT IS IT? This methodology focuses on the use of play. Children learn maximum when they are playing. The informal and free environment gives the child an opportunity to explore concepts of mathematics and language using various learning tools.
MORE ABOUT IT Fredrich Froebel, a German educator is considered to be the pioneer of the Play-Way method of education. Charmi Shah, director of Beehive Preschool, Ghatkopar Mumbai, says, “‘Learning by doing’ enables the child to grasp the fundamentals of each activity through creativity and receptivity.” Children develop interest in an activity when they are involved in the preparation of a particular item. For example, children can learn science with activities that involve conducting experiments, collecting specimens or minerals or making of squashes and jams. Children enjoy making things for themselves, and simultaneously gives them the exposure to learning. A lot of field trips, role plays and demonstrations are part of the play-way method.
THE BENEFITS! Enhances understanding of difficult concepts: Children are taught difficult methods through the use of specifi c tools, which are often the objects used in daily life. Counting and simple calculations can be taught by organising projects like opening a co-operative store, collecting of stamps and more. Value of group play: Children learn how to get along with others and learn how to handle confl icts in a group play. It evolves their social-interaction skills and makes them confi dent. Wonderful motivator: The child is not compelled to learn, but learns voluntarily. It forms a great motivational force that aids memory, freedom of choice and development of physical, psychological, intellectual skills and so on.
THE TRANSITION.. Charmi says, “Since the curriculum is based on keeping in mind the requirements of the CBSE or ICSE syllabus, the integration is not a problem. The children are taught the concepts of language and numbers, hence there is no diffi culty in the process of higher admission.”
IN YOUR CITY..
✏ Garodia’s Academy, Ghatkopar, Mumbai
✏ Leapbridge International Preschool, Sion, Mumbai
✏ Little Bo Peep, Khar, Mumbai
✏ Podar Jumbo Kids, across India
✏ The Tree House, across India
✏ Euro Kids, across India