What is Montessori Education in the best school in KL?
Children often despise education because of its binding routine and “compulsory” modules they have to study and pass exams for. The sheer bondage of it has been ruining the quality of education that the children are taking in, and giving birth to the “plug and play” education model where children simply study before an exam, with the sole purpose of scoring marks and forgetting what they learned the moment the exam is over.
Self-learning is an essential component of a child’s education. The need to have independent thought and the ability to learn, practice, and comprehend without external guidance gave birth to the Montessori schools and ideology of education.
How was the Montessori Method of education discovered?
Montessori learning was discovered by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician who developed this special teaching methodology for transforming schools and the education system across the world, in the early 1900s. The Montessori methodology emphasizes self-learning, enhanced social interaction, a growing interest and love for research, and takes care of the special needs of the students.
The need for self-directed education, self-studying, and practical learning, gave rise to Montessori education, transforming the educational curriculum across the globe. The method focuses solely on the intellectual growth of children, with the help of child-led activities along with the independence of thought and choice.
It was believed by Dr. Montessori that children learn better when they study subjects or topics of their own choice. Her experiment involved teaching mixed-age students, giving them a choice of activities to do throughout long chunks of uninterrupted work time under the guidance of trained teachers.
To implement this across various private and public schools, children were given a range of activities, and agendas for the day, to see if they performed better when they were given a choice in the curriculum, along with a non-traditional grading system, while focusing completely on the overall development (social, physical, mental, emotional and intellectual) of the student.
This experiment marked the success of the Montessori methodology, which is now followed by thousands of educational institutions, specifically called Montessori schools, across the world.
Today, the Montessori method of education is designed for a student-led, community-driven, multi-age, self-paced classroom that holds the caliber of assessing itself, but is guided by experienced and knowledgeable teachers that provide leadership to their students within a clean, nurturing teaching environment.
What is Montessori education in the best schools in KL in 2022?
Montessori education is so much more than simply filling the child’s brain with facts, making them cram details of different subjects only to be tested through a range of examinations, be it theoretical or practical.
After knowing the basis and history of Montessori education, and what it has to offer to your children, let’s dig into what the best schools in Kuala Lumpur can provide for your child, and how Montessori schools can benefit, and enhance your child’s learning process.
This methodology of education aims to nurture each child’s quest for knowledge while honing his/her interest in various topics. Additionally, it has superior, traditional methods of dealing and counseling with the students’ long-term psychological, and physical well-being. Even today, the Montessori thought of education discourages the use of conventional ways of grading such as regular examinations, marks, and tests, to teach children the value of quality education and practical, detail-oriented learning. It is based on enhancing human development, by adapting to the psychological self-construction ideology by exposing them to environmental interactions.
Following are the basis of Montessori education, which was developed by Dr. Montessori in the early 1900s, but is still being followed by the best Montessori schools in Kuala Lumpur.
- Contrary to regular educational norms, the classrooms of a Montessori school were full of children of mixed ages, ranging from 2 to 4, or 3-6, 6-9, and so on.
- Students were given a range of options to choose from, for enhancing their learning process.
- They were given uninterrupted hours of work time, from an ideal range of 3 hours.
- The students were given the freedom to discover concepts and theories on their own, by being provided with the necessary study material. This was also called the “Discovery” or “Constructivist” model.
- While many parents and schooling ideologies mistook this method to be unorganized and not well thought out, it was planned by Dr. Montessori that the educational ideology will provide limited freedom to children that neither swayed them from their primary aim of valued education nor forced them to study something they had no interest in.
- The study aid was made of natural and aesthetically pleasing raw materials such as wood, plant-based materials, etc. Plastic, and chemicals were deeply boycotted and avoided by the Montessori schools.
- Montessori schools paid a lot of attention to the learning environment that they were subjecting their students to. The appropriately sized, comfortable classrooms were organized by subjects and were made accessible to students throughout the day.
- The faculty is trained and experienced in observing and analyzing each student’s personality traits, characteristics, habits, talents, and potential in different fields and subjects.
What are the educational programs offered by Montessori schools?
Other educational programs and boards such as International Baccalaureate (IB), International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), along with Montessori education have divided their curriculums and courses for their students into various phases, to allocate resources, activities and study material accordingly.
- Toddler and Infant education program
In Montessori schools, the course structure for children is divided into various ranges of age groups.
For instance, the toddler or infant programs are meant for children under three and offer a small “nest” and a community of budding preschoolers, to emphasize the presence of various elements in their surroundings with the help of teaching, study materials, and engage them in activities that are specially designed to scale the child’s learning capabilities along with bringing out other positive personality traits.
This phase of Montessori education also accounts for the beginning of the development of a sense of independence and freedom of speech and thought for young infants. The best schools in Kuala Lumpur also offer the option of “Parent-Infant” classes, in which parents are asked to participate in activities with their children, to better their bonding and understanding of what their child wants.
- Preschool and Kindergarten
Montessori classrooms for children of ages 2 ½ or 3 to 6 years are also called Children’s Houses, after Montessori’s first school – Casa Dei Bambini in Rome, established in 1906. The classroom holds around 20 to 30 students of ages within the specified range, along with a fully trained teacher to lead and guide them, and often some assistants. The main role of preschool teachers and assistants of the Montessori schools is to guide the children individually and help them carve out their own learning paths according to their interests.
The classrooms are complete with child-sized furniture, arranged in circles or small groups with teaching aid and toys arranged on the easily accessible shelves throughout the room. The classroom materials are a necessary addition for Montessori schools so that they can create related activities for engaging students in taking interest in learning practical skills such as washing, scrubbing tables, sweeping, walking, eating by themselves, etc.
Another reason why the best schools in Kuala Lumpur invest so much in classroom materials and teaching aids is that they help in the development of the child’s senses, and help them imbibe texts, concepts, and skills faster be it for subjects like mathematics, languages, or extracurricular activities like music, art, science or cultural studies.
- Elementary Classes
Ranging from the age groups of 6 to 9, and 9 to 12, or 6 to 12 (depending on the school, availability of resources, classrooms, and faculty) Montessori schools offer students the elementary school curriculum in the form of interdisciplinary lessons from biology, mathematics, history to political science, theology and literature.
A typical day at the Montessori schools, for a student in the elementary class age group is basically attending lessons consisting of small groups of students and then being left to decode the concepts individually and work independently according to their interests and enthusiasm.
The lesson plans are created with the goal to inspire the imagination and critical thinking of the students and introducing them to new ideas, and opportunities without actively pushing or forcing the subject on them.
- Middle and Senior School
Montessori schools adopt the Montessori methodology primarily for students in their formative stages of intellectual and psychological growth. The curriculum for students in middle and senior school is not as developed and detailed as that of elementary and preschools. That said, as of today, many of the best schools in Kuala Lumpur are extending their programs meant for young children to students in high school. They are training their teaching staff and introducing orientation courses and study plans for the same.
Additionally, with the popularity of digitalization, and the use of touchscreen mobiles and other devices, Montessori education has expanded towards online education in the form of interactive applications. However, this addition is simply meant for convenience during emergencies, it does not change the basis of Montessori education that children are meant to experience real-time activities in Montessori schools and engage in face-to-face interaction in order to absorb quality education in the best schools in KL.