Choosing a kindergarten for your child is an important step in their lives as it plays a big part in their learning journey. Montessori schools have set up shop in Singapore for well over a decade now, but how exactly are they different from other schools? We’ve broken down some of their key teaching strategies to help you with your choice.
Montessori views children’s play as work and respects their independence and natural curiosity, encouraging them to be independent and learn at their own pace.
Children are taught to work as individuals or in groups and they get to choose what they play with or how much they wish to learn in a day. The lack of homework, grades, rewards or punishments allows them sufficient room for self-improvement, and the freedom to choose what they prefer to focus on gives them flexibility, thus it nurtures a positive attitude towards learning.
Teachers encourage children to learn from their own mistakes and figure out their how to fix it themselves rather than tell them what they should do.
With longer work periods, children can concentrate on the Montessori play and learning materials which are usually very specific – they get to sort, stack, and manipulate these materials, which are usually natural or made of wood, fabric, or enamelled metal. These specific skills allow them to have self-directed learning, where children will learn through trial and error, correcting their own mistakes.
Teachers model behaviour to teach self-care and respect.
Students are taught to be quiet and calm, and teachers rarely interrupt kids’ activities, respecting children’s intelligence while allowing them to gain real-life skills. This makes the programme great for kids who are self-directed and ideal for children who are easily aggravated by disruptions, noise and chaos.
New challenges are proposed to children when previous ones are overcome.
The lack of rewards and accolades allows children to work at their own pace, without the need for competing. This in turn allows them to support each other and advance faster. After they overcome challenges or gain a skill at their own pace, they are self-motivated and take on another challenge to advance further.
Focus is put on organization, strategy and good habits.
Everything has a place in a Montessori classroom, and children will take these organisational skills home – they will learn to be responsible for the objects that they use and clean up after themselves. Cultivating good habits like self-care, respect for others and keeping calm helps them to strategise better in and out of school.
Multi-sensory learning and physical education is a large part of Montessori education.
Moving and learning is strongly linked in Montessori learning, children get to focus on large muscle skills, developing their fine motor skills and language skills through completing everyday activities, such as cooking and arts and crafts. Outdoor learning is also conducted where available.