“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” ― Maria Montessori
Five years ago, I had only heard of Maria Montessori. Venturing into the messages of Maria Montessori has been a life-changing whirlwind experience for me. Education has always been a part of me (being also an English Language teacher) but when my daughter came close to turning two years old, I wanted something different for her than the traditional nursery schools. I went searching for alternatives, and almost three years ago I stepped in the Little Gems Montessori Nursery classroom. As soon as we stepped through the door a sense of peace surrounded me. Children as young as two working quietly and contentedly, each child allowed, even encouraged, to work at their own pace. I realized immediately that I wanted my daughter to gain from the experiences we were witnessing.
Before the start of my daughter’s second year at Little Gems Montessori Nursery I enrolled in the Diploma EYE in Montessori Pedagogy at MCI,
which offered me the opportunity to educate myself on the Montessori theory and philosophy through their distance learning course. The depth behind Maria Montessori’s methods and the preparation of the teacher in the course allowed me to realize what had been absent for me in the past. Traditional methods of education place the teacher at the front of the classroom to teach. In a Montessori classroom, one-on-one individual lessons make each teacher-child relationship essential and unique. Children learn through lessons that follow their interests, and knowledge is absorbed because it is presented during sensitive periods for learning. The ability to follow the individual child’s interests is crucial and observation and evaluation is very important.
At the start of my daughter’s third year at Little Gems Montessori Nursery I joined the school as a student embarking on my professional placement and as an Assistant Teacher. This has been an imperative part of my learning as it offered me the skills and the experience required in a Montessori environment. This experience has also been eye opening to the importance of the environment and especially the prepared environment. One of the key roles of the Montessori practitioner is to prepare and maintain an environment, which is carefully created to accommodate the needs of the children as well as aid in their holistic development. Children’s individuality is valued and celebrated in the Montessori classroom and the teachers in the classroom support them through scaffolding.
Both my professional placement and apparatus workshop were immensely important as they helped me realize the process of learning in the Montessori classroom. They also helped me realize how sophisticated the materials are and how they are geared towards the holistic development of the child. The Montessori materials help the child’s social and emotional skills as well as their cognitive and physical development.
This has been a wonderful experience and I am delighted to be part of this beautiful community. It has been a pleasure working with young children, learning from them and in turn inviting them to experience and understand the world around them. It has been interesting seeing things through their eyes every day!
Maria is a Diploma EYE student from MCI and is currently completing her Professional Placement at Little Gems Montessori -- a centre for MCI teacher training. She is also the Assistant Teacher in the Opal classroom in Larnaca. If you're interested about Montessori as a parent or a teacher, get in touch @ 96 557661 / email@example.com