main banner

Montessori-Schools-in-Ireland

Montessori Schools in Ireland

The Montessori Method in education is the brainchild of Maria Montessori who was the first female Italian doctor during the time when women played traditional roles in society.

She fought for her right to education by studying alongside the members of the opposite sex and after some time she became a doctor. She spent a lot of time going around Europe and talking about women’s rights. However, everything changed when she started working in hospitals and asylums where she saw the poor condition of children with special needs. She decided to help them but first she studied pedagogy and integrated what she learned from it with her own observations. After which, she developed a special teaching method and aids that aimed at refining the senses to help improve learning.

She started using her newfound method with a group of children with special needs who later took the same exams as other regular children and succeeded. So on January 6, 1907, she put up “Casa dei Bambini” or Children’s House in the slum area of Rome. She also went to other countries to promote her method and Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, and Alexander Graham Bell were among her supporter in the United States. She also garnered several awards for her work. Soon, Montessori Associations were organized to help train teachers on how to use her method.

Montessori faced a lot of struggles including the time when she was exiled from Italy after she refused to follow Mussolini’s orders to train children to become soldiers. She went to other countries and gave lectures and training. When she was in India she authored a theory called “Education for Peace” which made her a nominee for Nobel Peace Prize in 1949- 1951.

She died in 1952 leaving behind a legacy for future educators. Her child centred method of educating children was the first of its kind and today, many Montessori schools continue to adapt her teaching method.

In 1927, Maria Montessori visited the first Montessori School in Ireland located at the Waterford. Then in 1934 she came back and presented the first teacher training diplomas to cater to the different Montessori schools in the country. The most common form of such school in Ireland is the preschool group geared towards children aged 3 to 6 years old. There are also full primary Montessori schools in Ireland and those that utilize Montessori newborn extending up to three years curriculum.

The Montessori Method

The most prominent feature of the Montessori method is the fact that it is child-centred. The materials as well as instruction are centred on children and what they’re capable of doing at their age. The teaching materials allow children to have hands on experience in using them and learn from them directly or indirectly. The main stars in this method are the children and not the teacher.

The Montessori Directress observes and monitors the child’s learning development. She provides appropriate materials the child is capable of working on. She also sees to it that the classroom is conducive for learning; peaceful, clean, and organized. The materials provided for children are all colourful and attractive to arouse their interest. Oftentimes, the child is the one who chooses his/her own activity to work on in class.

Based on Montessori’s observations on children, developing their independence is the first step towards educating them. One of the first things children have to learn in a Montessori class is doing things on their own. This includes activities on properly hanging their coat, walking around the classroom without falling or knocking others down, and putting their bags carefully in the right place. They are also taught how to dress themselves up properly such as buttoning their shirt, adjusting their bows, opening and closing zipper, and many more.

Montessori exercises have inbuilt control of errors which allow children to see their mistakes and at the same time learn to correct themselves without asking anybody’s assistance. They themselves can identify their errors and come up with solutions. They don’t receive negative feedback or help from their teacher so they feel more confident about themselves especially after they learned to do the right thing. Next time around they can apply what they have learned and avoid making errors.

Montessori Materials are developed in such a way that they arouse the natural curiosity children possess and at the same develop their self confidence and independence. The children are given more freedom to work and learn at their own pace because the method believes that children have different learning styles.

Children are given various activities to work on. For instance, one child works on tracing letters in the sand or paper while another one arranges moveable letters of the alphabet to form words or phrases. Another child may be given some art materials for drawing or painting. There are those who contradict the Montessori method saying that it prevents growth. The fact is it is a method that provides freedom to children. Children can choose what materials to work on and with whom they want to work with. They can work with a friend, group, or by themselves and nobody will scold them for it. They can do these activities wherever they want; may it be on the floor, desk, or by the window.

A look at the classroom

If you’ve been to a Montessori class you’ll be surprised to see children doing different things at the same time. Compared to a regular classroom setting where everybody’s working on the same activity, children in Montessori can do whatever they want. You’ll see children sprawled on the floor drawing or watering plants and sweeping the floor. All this time the teacher stands and walks around the class and writing observations. She will record the development of every child in the classroom.

If the teacher notices that a child is ready to work on more difficult and challenging activities she will give the child appropriate materials. What usually happens is the teacher will serve as an observer while the child becomes his/her own teacher. The classroom is equipped with furniture like tables and chairs appropriate for children. There are also various materials for them to work on. These include those which expose them to everyday life experiences like brooms, rugs, and the like. The whole classroom must be attractive to children and the teacher must display their work on the walls. Most importantly, she must see to it that the class remains calm even when doing different activities.

In case you want to know more about what’s happening in a Montessori class, don’t hesitate to ask the teachers. They are more than willing and happy to answer all your questions. 

If you want, you can also schedule a visit so you can see for yourself the actual scenario in a Montessori class. For sure you’ll be happy to see children enjoying their activities on their own with the teacher observing them in the sidelines.

About the Author

eumom team 

Comments

Please login to leave a comment.