Montessori at Jyotirmay

The pre primary section of a school is perhaps its most important when we consider that in these years the foundation of the entire personality of an individual is laid. While some may dismiss the early years as unsuited for serious learning, a time of fun and frolic, in fact, some 80% of the human brain’s development is complete by age 6 and the basic architecture of one’s personality is already constructed by that age. In terms of relative learning, very little is in fact possible beyond these early years.  This would suggest a very rapid growth of intelligence in the early years and therefore the great influence of the early environment on this development.

kindergarten toys and funHence in these impressionable crucial years, at Jyotirmay we strive to provide an environment that is worthy of the potential and learning abilities of the child. One methodology that embraces this view of the child and lays out an extensive well researched plan is the Montessori Method where again the child is believed to possess great powers of self development and self learning. Where the child is to be followed rather than led, where we as teachers have simply to guide, direct and prepare a conducive environment and then let the child take over the serious task of his development. Where we believe in the innate curiosity of the child to discover, his love of knowledge and the natural desire to learn that we as adults would do well to not stifle with our eagerness to inundate the child with information and blunt her thinking with our assumptions and ready answers.

CHILD, THE WORKER…The Montessori methodology is testament to the theory that a young child can learn to read, write, and calculate in the same natural way that he learns to walk and talk, without any formal instructions or ‘teaching’.  The small child is a lover of work, intellectual work, spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy.  In a Montessori classroom the equipment invites him to do this at his own periods of interest and readiness.  Each child works at his own pace, and the child works from his own free choice, without competition and coercion.

THE CHILD AND HIS HANDS….Montessori also emphasizes how it is the need of the child to learn by doing. In order to learn there must be concentration and the best way a child can concentrate is by fixing his attention on some task he is performing with his hands. The multitude of activities and a wide range of graded materials our classroom offers, gives children the opportunity to choose, work without disturbance and grow as their interests lead from one level of complexity to another.   This kind of openness that our classroom environment encourages, and the presence of children of mixed age groups in the one class, permits the younger children a graded series of models for imitation, and the older ones an opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by helping the younger ones.

THE AREAS OF STUDY….Apart from the regular language and mathematics, Montessori introduces practical life activities and activities that aim at sensorial refinement, as also subjects like grammar, geography and geometry early on- in pre primary.  The reason is that at this age children can joyfully absorb many difficult concepts if they meet them in concrete form.  The common stumbling blocks of the middle primary grades, can be exciting if they are presented to children at an earlier age when they enjoy manipulating material. So be it fractions or the decimal system, verbs or adjectives, or different kinds of leaf lamina in botany – if it can be made concrete and it is something which a child can hold in their hands, it is for the pre primary child. The materials that make these concepts tangible for them will serve as touch stones in their memory for many years, to understand and appreciate the abstract ideas when they meet them again and again in future learning situations.

THE ‘TEACHER’……And the teacher in a Montessori classroom or the “Directress” as she is called, makes the vital connection between the various material and activities and the child. She is a keen observer of the individual interests and needs of each child. She demonstrates the correct use of materials as they are individually chosen by the children.  She carefully watches the progress of each child and keeps a record of his work with the materials. If an error is committed by a child, she refrains, if possible, from intervening and allows him to discover his own error through further manipulation of the self-correcting material since the child can learn only through experience.

At Jyotirmay, we are continually adding to our store of Montessori resources, expertise and scientific equipment in our commitment to further the cause of the child. We aspire to champion the drive for education that is for the whole child and that aims for happiness for the individual and peace for the community.

The little children who in their journey of learning, teach us so much.