There has been much written in recent weeks about the changing face of education, and whether traditional schooling in traditional classrooms meets the needs for 21st century learning. The past year has certainly made us all re-evaluate how our children acquire knowledge, and experience their learning; I am sure all of us have wondered if the schools our children attend are actually delivering what we want for them in this ever-evolving world we live in.
Montessori education has always been an alternative approach to the way in which we help young people prepare themselves for the wider world; its five principles – respect for the child, the absorbent mind, sensitive periods, the prepared environment and the concept of auto education – all put the child firmly at the centre of the process, and with help from experienced Montessori guides, the child becomes the leading architect in his or her education. Maria Montessori was ahead of her time in the early 20th century, developing the sort of 21st century learning skills that are now being suggested as the way forward for the children of today.
Throughout the uncertainties of 2020, IMS has been a positive, constant presence in our community, staying in touch with parents and students through online classes and always available for advice and help. We opened the doors once more in September to our new, spacious premises with twice as many children as when we were obliged to close in March 2020. The word has gone around, that this is a truly innovative place for your child to learn and grow in an environment full of love and friendship.
With the prospect of more and more freedom in what we can do and offer to the community, we have lots of plans for workshops, visits and day trips for everyone in the coming academic year. We love to involve everyone in the process of educating the child, thus connecting the home with school, and the wider community. When we can, parents and other visitors once again will be invited through our doors to see the children and their education in action.
One of the features of the Montessori approach is “The Learning Walk”: every week children aged 3 and upwards step out into the community to experience their world. Sometimes it is a trip to the beach to explore what the ocean brings in: sometimes a walk in the countryside to discover the beauty of trees, flowers and birdlife: on other occasions it may be an outing to one of the white villages in our hills, or a museum visit. All of these day trips will have a theme which extends from, and develops the ideas children have been exploring in the classroom.
Traditional education has been turned on its head: come and see for yourself how the Montessori system offers a fully integrated approach to education. We understand that rather than teach, we guide and facilitate the learning that the child initiates and absorbs through his or her developing interests and abilities. Thus the child educates himself. Montessori has been ahead of the curve all this time.