Last Saturday, we held another Mommy Matters PH Meet-up and this time focusing on another subject close to my heart - Montessori.
I really wanted the parents to see the beautifully prepared environment themselves. Luckily, we personally know the founders of Abba's Orchard and they were generous enough to host the Meet-up at their Mckinley Campus. I also wanted the parents to see how their child will be like in a Montessori Classroom (some of the registrants' kids got a chance to attend the Infant Community Class and the Casa class).
When I shared about this with my followers, I was very surprised with the amount of interest to learn more about this teaching method. I originally planned to just have 1 more meet-up this year but the 40 slots we allotted were filled in less than 5 minutes and there were 157 more in the wait list.
Members of the Momtessori PH Facebook Group even wrote the funniest comments, like:
"OMG kinabog pa ang Cold Play tickets!"
"Pumikit lang ako, wala na?"
We received so many teary emoticons (literally) so we asked Abba's Orchard if we could have one more session and we were just so elated with their tremendous support for this advocacy. We're going to have another run this Dec 9th at their Blue Ridge Katipunan Campus (registration is full).
The 2 hour session was so fruitful. Listening about the philosophy and seeing demonstrations of activities from a seasoned Montessorian made a huge impact not just to me but also to the other parents who joined us. We even got a refresher about the Pythagorean Theorem (eeeewwww... Math hahaha but I definitely understood it more now compared to how it was explained to me years ago).
Here are some of the heart-warming feedback we received:
I'm sure you are very curious about the things we've learned so here are some of it. These are probably the common questions you have as well.
How can children learn if they're free to do whatever they want?
Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing. A Montessori student may choose his focus of learning on any given day, but his decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that his Guide has prepared and presented to him.
Beginning at the elementary level (ages 6-12), students typically set learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
If children work at their own pace, don't they fall behind?
Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going at it alone. The Montessori Guide closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
Why don't Montessori Guides give grades?
Grades, like other external rewards, have little lasting effect on a child’s efforts or achievements. The Montessori approach nurtures the motivation that comes from within, kindling the child’s natural desire to learn.
As Mr. Barrameda said, "Don't expect the guides to stamp your kid's forehead with stars; don't expect to go up the stage and pin medals." There are no "honor students" in a Montessori school. Instead, all students get a chance to do a speech every end of the school year highlighting what they have accomplished and what they plan to accomplish next.
A self-motivated learner also learns to be self-sufficient, without needing reinforcement from outside. In the classroom, of course, the Guide is always available to provide students with guidance and support.
Although most Montessori Guides don’t assign grades, they closely observe each student’s progress and readiness to advance to new lessons. Most schools hold family conferences a few times a year so parents may see their child’s work and hear the teacher’s assessment—and perhaps even their child’s self-assessment.
How well do Montessori students do compared to students in non-Montessori schools? Do they have a hard time transitioning to Traditional schools?
I remember Mommy Eileen asked this.
Poised, self-reliant, and used to working harmoniously as part of a classroom community, students who transition from Montessori typically adjust quickly to the ways of their new school.
There is also a small but growing body of well-designed research comparing Montessori students to those in traditional schools. These suggest that in academic subjects, Montessori students perform as well as or better than their non-Montessori peers.
In one study, for example, children who had attended Montessori schools at the preschool and elementary levels earned higher scores in high school on standardized math and science tests. Another study found that the essays of 12-year-old Montessori students were more creative and used more complex sentence structures than those produced by the non-Montessori group.
The research also shows Montessori students to have greater social and behavioral skills. They demonstrate a greater sense of fairness and justice, for example, and are more likely to choose positive responses for dealing with social dilemmas.
Mommy Clarice, another member of Momtessori PH also shared a story of how her 6 year old daughter and her classmates planned and executed their first Charity Project. It is really amazing what children can do when you show them that you trust their capabilities.
There was just so much more that we've learned last Saturday. We were also overwhelmed with the generosity and support of several brands namely:
Foldaway Philippines for the grand prize: A Bumper Mat in Vitamin Tiny Buds
UV Care Deluxe Germ Exterminator
Mighty Baby PH
Mom and Milly Educational Items Alyanna's Nook Arts & Crafts Littlest Shepherd
Mustela PH Choose Freycoo Ph
Buds Baby Philippines
The Kbaby PH
Sugar Sensation PH
I am looking forward to more meet-ups and activities to help more parents understand and perhaps, fall in love with Montessori like I did.
Thank you again for those who joined. Glad to see friendships develop through these sessions <3
"A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Discovery of the Child')
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