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1. Montessori has become a very popular name in the recent times. What are the qualities a person should have to imbibe the real Montessori spirit? Ans. A Montessori directress is one who guides the children and helps them learn. A person involved in the Montessori house of children should have certain traits which will help them deal with children and help them to learn and grow. A person should have the following qualities :
Be the connection between the children and the materials. The person should know how to use the materials so as to help a child when asked to. Nothing should be difficult for the child or no material should be such that a child can’t touch it. Be willing to learn from mistakes. Not only children, even adults make mistakes. As a part of the House of children, we should be willing to learn from our mistakes. Lead the children toward independence. In a Montessori house of children, everything revolves around the child. The child is the centre of the classroom. The adult must work around this and guide the child towards independence. Be prepared. Be ready for anything, and the adult will have an easier time dealing with the unexpected. Dynamic link: They are the only adult with the children and from whom they can receive direct assistance while doing activities. Observe everything: Concentration is the key to a child’s ability to learn, observation is the key to the teacher’s ability to guide. Systematic observation will help the development of the child. Experimenter: The Montessori Method is based on experimentation done by Dr. Maria.
Thus the directress should be one who is able to experiment often and observe the children. Director: Though freedom is important for a child to develop in a house of children, it should be such freedom whereby the adult is monitoring the activities of the child. Evaluator: The directress/adult in the house of children has to evaluate all details of the child’s activities minutely. This evaluation will help decide what has to be done next according to the child’s development. Protector: The adult has to protect the child from outside elements as well as the child’s own deviations. Facilitator: This is a major responsibility of the adult and they have to look after all aspects of the environment, classes, activities etc. Role Model: Children are always watching people around them. It is important for us to behave correctly, be polite as children tend to copy what they see. Demonstrator: Presentations breathe life into inanimate objects. Story telling, dramatization, Play acting rhymes etc are a form of presentations.
2. How should anyone prepare oneself to be part of the Montessori movement? Ans. A Montessori environment is one where the child always takes centre stage and the adult/ Directress has to work around the child, guiding him and showing him what to do and how to do. To be a part of the Montessori movement, a person should have these following characteristics:
Do child oriented work, child centered thinking and lead a child conscious life. The adult needs to stop thinking from their viewpoint and start thinking from the child’s perspective. Accept the child as the founder of the family : Basically, the adult has to accept that the child is the fulcrum around which the Montessori work will go on. The techniques of the Montessori Method should be understood well by the adult. It is observation of these methods and how the child does them that will reveal the true nature of the child.
5. Trust the Montessori method
This can be so hard. We have set ideas about what we think children should be doing and how fast they should be advancing. We may have a little bit of a fantasy about how a perfect Montessori work time should go. We often expect children (and the adults around us) to see things our way. When things are rocky, it’s easy to assume the problem is with the Montessori method. What we need to do is give ourselves, and the children, time. The children need time to become acclimated to a Montessori classroom and materials, which are different from anything else they see in the culture around them. We need to give them time for repetition, which is essential to the mastery of a skill. We need to give ourselves time to feel comfortable with presentations, with classroom management, and time to build a special relationship with each child. It doesn’t happen in a moment, a day, a week, or even a month. There’s a reason for the 3-year cycle. With consistency, careful attention, and yes, even love, the children will begin to grow and mature. They will smooth out the rough edges of misbehavior and internalize the concepts of community, grace, courtesy, autonomy, and self-confidence. Montessori, done correctly, works. Let’s never doubt that it does.