Tales of Montessori and Waldorf System of Education
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I have recently researched on education systems and found it very confusing for a parent like me. Gone are the days, where our parents had no idea on the types of education systems available. My parents just knew the names like Matriculation, CBSC and Tamil medium.
Being an engineering degree holder and an IT professional, even I was not aware of the recent education systems available. Now that I have given birth to a little girl who is turning 2 now, I started showing interest on checking out for the different types of education methods available for us.
Then came these popular two methods one is Montessori and the other one is Waldorf method. This year home schooling as replaced the typical schooling methods, lets speak about this later. And focus on these two methods I have mentioned.
Being a mother of a hyper active little girl, I wanted to preschool that would give her the freedom to learn what she loves. Just then I started to check out list of schools available in India that is in Bangalore where we reside. And researched on the methods they follow to teach the kids.
Montessori school was named after Maria Montessori in 1907, to celebrate the honor the individuality of the child. Maria Montessori was a firm believer that children learn through play. And their developmental stages where grouped in 3-year spans: 3-6 years; 7-11 years; and 12-15 years. In preschool, the children are grouped into Infant rooms, transition rooms and toddler rooms.
Montessori teachers shows utmost respect to their students. Teachers work individually or in groups rather than directors of learning. Similarly, children also work alone or in groups, working on mats or bodies stretched on floor using Montessori learning materials. They have four distinct areas of learning listed as below:
- Practical life – helps children to work on their fine and gross motor skills like pouring, stirring, cutting papers with scissors and pasting it with glue stick and painting activities.
- Sensorial skills – children work with different types of materials to learn the shape, form, texture, color and feel the difference.
- Language and Reading – Children do tracing by tracing the finger over sand to understand the formation of letters. And they learn the sounds of the letter.
- Math skills – children work with beads for counting.
These methods develop love towards learning and an independent approach to choose what they want to learn in curriculum and in the life of children.
In 1919, Rudolf Steiner created Waldorf school in Germany, in which play and fantasy would be integral part in child’s growth. The basic concept in Waldorf method is willing, feeling and thinking. Basically, the common theme of heart, hand and hands. In this method the child development is classified into 7 cycles 0-7 years; 7-14 years; 14 to 21 years and so on.
Students remain with the same teacher from first grade to eighth grade. In the initial stage, they focus only on child’s development and not on thinking ability, where these will be yet to be developed in later stages of child’s life. In the early stage, the concept is just eat-play-sleep-repeat.
In Waldorf preschool, you see children singing songs in mother tongue, listening to a story, working on garden, cooking or baking their favorite food and painting. Not that they use only open-ended toys like wooden blocks, pebbles, barks from tree, cotton fabric dolls and natural materials.
With minimal materials children are allowed to use their imaginations more fully. Basically, Waldorf begins at home set up with a simple life style and day-to-day routines.
Whether you choose to go for Montessori or Waldorf method, choose what best suits your child. Both of these methods are good and honor the child with full compassion.
Having said all the above, about the different teaching methodologies available for our children, as a mom I personally believe that we have to be with our kids giving them the love, care and warmth and develop a rhythm in their life. A child needs a mother to teach them life skills and a teacher to teach them a curriculum.
Pour in your comments below, about what is best for your children? And how are you going to choose it? And what basis are you going to choose an education system for your child?
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Iswarya S J is a daughter, wife, daughter in law and a mom. Playing multiple roles. Mom of a hyper active little girl and a proud pampered wife by my husband who discovered the writer, blogger and a story narrator in her.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.