Teaching is to be effective and to assist young children to advance on their way on independence. Activities that are introduced to the young children must be those kinds of activities that can be performed by their own will. The young children must be thought how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up the fallen objects, to dress and undress, to clean, wash and tidy them, to express their needs and thought, and to attempt to satisfy their own desires through their own efforts. All this is thought to the young children as a part of an education for independence.
If an educational act is to be efficacious, it will be only one which tends to help toward the complete unfolding of life. To be thus helpful it is necessary rigorously to avoid the arrest of spontaneous movements and the imposition of arbitrary tasks. ” The Montessori Method, chapter 5. The Montessori education will ensures that the child will develop holistically. The holistic development of the child is including physical development, emotional development, relational development, intellectual development, and spiritual development.
During physical development, children need nutritional support as well as hygiene training to ensure healthy development. Emotional Development is as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, war, famine, poverty, and natural disasters, many children live with the scars of emotional trauma. Finding them a local church family and a loving, caring sponsor helps them to heal and grow. Relational development is learning to work and play together, while discovering the wisdom and strength of committed sponsors and local leaders, helps children build strong and lasting relationships to serve God and value humanity.
Intellectual development is by gaining an education that develops minds and provides opportunities for employment that will benefit the children throughout their lives. Spiritual development is to help children gain a genuine experience of salvation through GOD, helping them grows and mature into faithful disciples. "... in point of fact, no other occupations which could be undertaken by the children at this stage (3-5) could be more important for their whole development - physical, mental, and moral - than these 'exercises of practical life' as they are called. Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work p 213, Chap XIII. Each child is striving for independence. They gain independence in Montessori schools.
In Practical Life Exercises, children are allowed to work with the materials any time they want after the activity is introduced to them. Freedom to work with the material will lead to independence. Children do not complete all the activities as an individual but also as a team for some activities requires participation of a group of children. Completing the activity as a team develops team work in the self of the child. It also develops togetherness and workmanship in them. No one can be free unless he is independent. Therefore, the first active manifestations of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence. ” (The Montessori Method, Chapter 5, Pg. 118) Practical Life Exercise is known as the pillar of Montessori curriculum. It also known as the corner stone of Montessori studies. Practical Life is meant as; practical is meant basic, useful, and purposeful; life is meant the way of living. Practical life Exercises are just that, they are exercises that child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way.
The purpose and aim of Practical Life Exercises is to help the child to gain control in the coordination of his movement (fine and gross motor skills), and help the child to gain independence and also to easy adapt with his society. It is therefore important to teach the child but not correcting the child in order to allow the child to be a fully functional member in his own society. Practical Life Exercises also aid the growth and development of the child’s intellect and concentration and will in turn also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking.
Practical Life Exercises can be categorized into four different areas. There are; Development of Motor Skills, Care of Environment, Care of Self and Social Grace and Courtesy. In Development of Motor Skills’ area, the child learns the basic movements of all societies such as pouring, folding, and carrying. The child also learns to develop his fine motor and gross motor skills. In Care of the Environment’s area, the child learns the maintenance of his every day job or chores. Next, in Care of Self’s area, the child earns how to keep himself clean, tidy and neat. The forth area is the Social Grace and Courtesy; in this area the child learns how to communicate and present himself to his society in a proper manner or way. "Before a child reaches the age of three, the highest form of work and the most enabling that engages him is that of arranging furniture and putting things in order, and it is also the one that calls for the greatest activity. " The Discovery of the Child, p 83, Chap 5. Children are naturally interested in activities they have witnessed.
Therefore, Dr Montessori began using what she called “Practical Life Exercises” to allow the child to do activities of daily life and therefore adapt and orientate himself in his society. It is therefore the directress’ task to demonstrate the correct way of doing these exercises in a way that allows the child to fully observe the movements. The directress must also keep in mind that the goal is to show the actions so that the child can go off and repeat the activity in his own successful way. Montessori says, “Our task is to show how the action is done and at the same time destroy the possibility of imitation”.
The child must develop his own way of doing these activities so that the movements become real and not synthetic. During the child’s sensitive period between birth and 6, the child is constructing the inner building blocks of his person. It is therefore important for the child to participate in activities to prepare him for his environment, that allow him to grow independently and use his motor skills, as well as allow the child to analyse difficulties he may have in the exercise and problem solve successfully. Montessori also saw the child’s need for order, repetition, and succession in movements.
Practical Life Exercises also helps to aid the child to develop his coordination in movement, his balance and his gracefulness in his environment as well as his need to develop the power of being silent. Practical Life Exercises have its own characteristics. The activities are meant to resemble everyday activities, it is important that all materials be familiar, real, breakable, and functional. The materials must also be related to the child’s time and culture. In order to allow the child to fully finish the exercise and to therefore finish the full cycle of the activity, the material must be complete.
In the environment, the Directress may want to colour code the materials as well as arrange the materials based on difficulties in order to facilitate the classification and arrangements of the work by the children. The attractiveness is also the most important as Montessori believed that the child must be offered what is most beautiful and pleasing to the eye so as to help the child enter into a more refined and subtle world. Besides that, Practical Life Exercises have a particular connection to other areas in Montessori. All the Practical Life Exercises have a connection to later studies.
The curriculum is interdisciplinary and academically challenging. It covers the full range of subjects required by the National Curriculum while maintaining essential Montessori principles, and much emphasis is placed on the interconnection between different areas of study. Children work individually and in groups, on projects and themes that spark their interest. The teacher’s role is to guide them in their research and to provide information in such a way that they learn to make full use of a library, reference books and the worldwide web.
Core subjects include English, Mathematics, Science, Geography and History. Integrated with these are activities such as art and craft, drama, games, and music, for all Montessorians are committed to the development of the whole child. “What is to be particularly noted in these child conversions is a psychic cure, a return to what is normal. Actually the normal child is one who is precociously intelligent, who has learned to overcome himself and to live in peace, and who prefers a disciplined task to futile idleness. When we see a child in this light, we would more properly call his “conversion” a “normalization. [Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, translated by M. Joseph Costelloe, S. J. ] In Social Grace and Courtesy area, children are thought about communication skills. Children get to know what communication really is in this area. Communication is the process of transferring signals/messages between a sender and a receiver through various methods (written words, nonverbal cues, spoken words). It is also the mechanism we use to establish and modify relationships. The children will have the courage to say what they think.
Children will be confident in knowing that they can make worthwhile contributions to conversation. Take time each day to be aware of your opinions and feelings so you can adequately convey them to others. Individuals who are hesitant to speak because they do not feel their input would be worthwhile need not fear. What is important or worthwhile to one person may not be to another and may be more so to someone else. Not only that, the children will have to practice in communication skills to have a better interaction between others. Developing advanced communication skills begins with simple interactions.
Communication skills can be practiced every day in settings that range from the social to the professional. New skills take time to refine, but each time you use your communication skills, you open yourself to opportunities and future partnerships. Besides that the child should know how to engage with the audience. Children are thought how to make eye contact with the audience. Whether you are speaking or listening, looking into the eyes of the person with whom you are conversing can make the interaction more successful. Eye contact conveys interest and encourages your partner to be interested in you in return.
One technique to help with this is to consciously look into one of the listener’s eyes and then move to the other eye. Going back and forth between the two makes your eyes appear to sparkle. Another trick is to imagine a letter “T” on the listener’s face, with the cross bar being an imaginary line across the eye brows and the vertical line coming down the centre of the nose. Children also thought how to use gestures. These include gestures with your hands and face. Make your whole body talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and small groups.
The gestures should get larger as the group that one is addressing increases in size. Other matter that been thought to children is not to send mixed messages. Make your words, gestures, facial expressions and tone match. If you have to deliver a negative message, make your words, facial expressions, and tone match the message. Children should be aware of what their body is saying. Body language can say so much more than a mouthful of words. An open stance with arms relaxed at your sides tells anyone around you that you are approachable and open to hearing what they have to say.
Arms crossed and shoulders hunched, on the other hand, suggest disinterest in conversation or unwillingness to communicate. Often, communication can be stopped before it starts by body language that tells people you don't want to talk. Appropriate posture and an approachable stance can make even difficult conversations flow more smoothly. Social Grace and Courtesy activities do manifest constructive attitudes and beliefs. The attitudes you bring to communication will have a huge impact on the way you compose yourself and interact with others.
Choose to be honest, patient, optimistic, sincere, respectful, and accepting of others. Be sensitive to other people's feelings, and believe in others' competence. It also develops effective listening skills: Not only should one be able to speak effectively, one must listen to the other person's words and engage in communication on what the other person is speaking about. Avoid the impulse to listen only for the end of their sentence so that you can blurt out the ideas or memories your mind while the other person is speaking.
Children should be able to enunciate their words. Speak clearly and don’t mumble. If people are always asking you to repeat yourself, try to do a better job of articulating yourself in a better manner. Children should be able to pronounce the words correctly it is because people will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure of how to say a word, don’t use it and make sure the usage of the right words. If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. Grab a dictionary and start a daily habit of learning one new word per day.
Use it sometime in your conversations during the day. Children are taught to slow their speech down. People will perceive you as nervous and unsure of yourself if you talk fast. However, be careful not to slow down to the point where people begin to finish your sentences just to help you finish. Children are taught how to use their voice in a proper way. Development of the children’s voice; a high or whiny voice is not perceived to be one of authority. In fact, a high and soft voice can make you sound like prey to an aggressive co-worker or make others not take you seriously.
Begin doing exercises to lower the pitch of your voice. Try singing, but do it an octave lower on all your favourite songs. Practice this and, after a period of time, your voice will begin to lower. If compare Montessori school’s syllabus and a normal school’s syllabus, there a lot of differences. Such as, the primary goal of a Montessori school is an environment of learning and discovery; not an environment of teaching as is seen in traditional schools. Evoking curiosity is the primary goal. Not filling in facts and knowledge.
Prime-mover of a Montessori school is where education and learning is student-led; not teacher driven. The student has to provide the spark and initiative. The focus of it is Montessori school is not reformative; it is developmental. The Montessori approach seeks to maximize a child's potential. It does not seek to 'correct' deficiencies as defined by the average performance of a particular age group. A Montessori school is not just a place where a person learns skills and knowledge and the ways of the world; it is a preparation for living out a personal destiny.
A Montessori education is considered a success if it helps a person discover his personal destiny. It is not a place where a child learns do's and don'ts; it is a place where the child learns 'cans'. Montessori education places emphasis on individual potential and how best to leverage it. Do's and Don'ts of the world are a part of the larger message. A Montessori school is not a 'bell curve' into which all students are sought to be fitted. It is reaching for the exceptional. It recognizes the uniqueness of each individual and acknowledges that there are different routes to the top.
It is not a place where you learn the formula for success as defined by the world; it is a place where a person learns to define success according to one's individuality. The focus is on the person's absolute potential. Not on relative performances. In a Montessori school is not a place where a child's learning can be outsourced. It is a school is a catalyst for a child's curiosity to be evoked. Thus a Montessori approach also envisages a big role for the parents and the home environment in the overall scheme of the education.
Montessori school is not a place for a child to be disciplined; it is place where the child discovers his innate sense of inner and outer discipline. Montessori believes that discipline is a natural yearning of a human soul. Education should help a person define and refine this yearning. A traditional school looks at discipline as a tool for reformation. Montessori school does not teach boundaries; it is a place where the child learns how to extend those boundaries. The focus is on helping the child discover the concepts and the "whys' of various subjects.
As against the hows and whats that are taught in traditional schools. Scientific education defines a Montessori approach. Not science education. Learning the 'whys' is the only way to challenge and improve on the present. There are rules in a Montessori school. But these are not rules that help control a child's personality; it is where a child's personality is unleashed. The Montessori approach places emphasis on laying the foundation to building the total character of the person. It seeks to address even the moral and ethical dimensions along with the individual and social dimensions of personality building.