As proud Montessorians, we always advocate children to have concrete experiences in every bit of their learning. All that happened with little warning with the school closure in Mar’20 due to the outbreak of pandemic COVID-19 didn’t seem to spare anyone. As adults, we took time to adapt to the new normal. But acceptance is always the key, and things slowly started to unfold. We realized so well that, every crisis is an opportunity in disguise.
There is a Montessori approach to every path we take, provided we go back to the CHILD with a question in mind, “What does this child need?”. We decided to stay not just with the word but with the spirit of Montessori.
As Dr. Montessori advocates Education to aid life in the service of the child, it is not always about classrooms and schools, even though that’s where we tend to practice it.
Now with our life so much contained within our house, we are thinking about avenues to help the child with the needs of his life right now. We strongly believe that our children need a lot of inspirational moments to keep their love for learning active. We always believe learning is not all about writing alphabets and numbers.
Primary Age Group (2.6 to 6 years)
Need of the Child:
i. To explore their current environment sensorially and become aware of the world around them.
ii. To socialize – develop their language skills to communicate to the world around them (Not just learning the alphabets)
iii. To exercise their muscles- Both intricate fine movements and large gross movements.
Engaging children online and expecting them to focus on what is being delivered is not an expectation that can be had at these age groups
We see this as an opportunity to think beyond Montessori materials sticking more closely to the Montessori philosophies and explore more in their home environment.
As an AID to life, Montessori education will continue every single day in their environment. We know – The powers in this child – Sensitive period for sensorial learning and Absorbent mind.
i. A lot of activities are possible with the materials available at home to meet the above needs of the child. We share a set of tasks for the parents for which the child may be interested in as well ready. Parents support us by getting the materials organized for the child and also inspiring the child towards the tasks.
ii. We send short AVs daily with songs/ book reading/ Stories/ Language games in all three languages. This helps children with their language needs. As they see only their aunties in the AVs it will be easy to withdraw from the screen time once the school resumes normal functioning.
iii. We get in touch with the parents to help them observe the child at work as well we take their observations later.
iv. We do not believe in replicating Montessori Materials at home or initiating worksheets for this age group. A lot of suggested activities will be to meet the movements and sensorial needs of the children. We should remember that Dr. Montessori has designed all these materials for the prepared environment only taking inspiration from what she observed from children in a regular environment. Sound boxes are inspired by looking at children keen on observing an object making different sounds on different surfaces. Daily activities like pouring liquid from a jug meet their need for controlled movement as well feed their mathematical mind.
vi. Children who are already in the writing and reading stage will have few activities to encourage them towards exercising what they have already learned. For other children who are on their path to it, we request parents not to stress yourself thinking about that now. There is a lot more for them to explore during this time which will help them in their focus, concentration, and learning capabilities.
Elementary Age Group (6 to 12 years)
Need of the Child:
i. To explore their current environment i.e. their home through their reasoning mind.
ii. To socialize – Not just limited to talking with people but also think of the society around them and relate to it. Being in touch with their peers is an urge for this group.
iii. To exercise their creativity both in writing and art form.
As an AID to life, Montessori education will continue every single day in their environment. We know – The powers in this child – They are the explorers. Their reasoning mind makes them explore everything that they come across with curiosity. Their imagination needs a lot of feeding to aid their learning. They are the real Social being.
We see this as an opportunity to think beyond Montessori materials sticking more closely to the Montessori philosophies and explore more in their home environment
i. A lot of activities are possible with the materials available at home to meet the above needs of the child. We would like to introduce our children systematically to the science behind every small thing, they come across in their home environment. This feeds their reasoning mind and becomes more aware of the current environment. This will also get them ready for a journey of curiosity that drives learning. We see this as a big opportunity currently to give more meaningful learning.
ii. Children will continue to have their group lessons on culture in Montessori Way. We will share the resources required with the child and give them directions for their follow-ups.
Iii. Children’s interest in ART and Geometry will also be met with regular group presentations.
iv. Children will be given small worksheets for the concepts that they already know in Arithmetic and language. We expect this remote working period will help us guide them to move more towards abstraction. We will continue to introduce new concepts in this area once we resume working at school.
We are happy to see the children, parents, and the team happy on this current journey.
We strongly believe that this remote learning phase will soon end, and we will have our children back at school. All the help that we provide now with this self-directed remote learning will help us receive the child with the ticking interest to explore their environment further and settle well. We are sure we will be proud of the path we have traveled after reaching the other side of the pandemic.
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