I Can Do It Montessori - Interview


5 Reasons Why You Should Choose 'I Can Do It Montessori'



What is the Montessori method all about?

The authentic Montessori method encompasses the fundamental principles of respect, exploration and freedom within limits. An AMI Montessori teacher has been thoroughly trained to guide children towards productive and challenging experiences.

We help children be as independent as possible by giving individual lessons and encouraging responsibility in all areas. Even 15 month old can collaborate with preparing meals, getting washed and dressed and other aspects of self-care. This helps the child feel useful, valued and confident right from an early age.

Dr Maria Montessori created beautiful, practical toys to help children learn essential concepts in language, maths, science, geography, botany, sensorial and cultural exploration. All quality Montessori schools use the same specialised equipment for individual teaching so each child can progress at their own pace to achieve their potential.

What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education? 

When Dr Maria Montessori first began training teachers, many people took bits and pieces of the practice and started to use them in a variety of ways. AMI Montessori goes back to the founding principles and combines every single aspect of the practice to ensure that children get the most out of their experiences.

Traditional education is often about whole-class lessons and teaching to pass tests. Montessori is about individual lessons with paired work and small groups so all children feel noticed and motivated. We have no homework or tests. Instead, children are encouraged to set their own challenges according to their current interests. Then we can easily guide them to complete all the other lessons they need because they feel confident and supported.

We don't give stickers or certificates for praise. Instead, we give constructive feedback and let each child spend as long as they want on tasks until they are satisfied they've completed them to their best ability. For example, we would say "I noticed you worked really hard on this work. You took time to colour inside the lines carefully and you wrote a whole paragraph in your neatest writing! You must feel very proud of yourself!"

Can the parent do Montessori at home with his child?

Absolutely! The home is the first, and most important, environment for your child; and the human environment is equally as important as the physical environment. At the end of the first 3 years, your child will have mastered the fundamental human characteristics of your family and cultural society. Their personality is created based on their daily role models – that's you!

A strong emotional bond and attachment are vitally important, as well as the respect you show your child's natural drives for development. Some aspects I can support you with are:

  • The behaviour of all adults within the home (movements, emotions and language).
  • The emotional atmosphere (acceptance, trust and respect).
  • How to accurately observe your child and respond to their needs.
  • Keeping a sense of order, consistency and routine to provide security.
  • The best use of space to allow free movement and independence.
  • Using beautiful materials, toys and art to entice your child towards independence and optimal development.
  • Understanding and offering freedom within appropriate limits.

What special training do Montessori teachers have? 

Authentic Montessori teachers have training from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). I hold the Casa Dei Bambini Diploma (3 to 6 years) since 2004 and Assistants to Infancy Diploma (birth to 3 years) since 2014. 

Our training includes 180 hours of practical experience, 250 hours of child observations, teacher training in schools and creating massive, precious albums of essays on child development theories and practical lessons that cover all relevant educational subjects.

What ages does Montessori serve? 

Montessori education has special environments for children from birth right up to university. It depends on which country you live. There's a university in Holland, lots of high schools in the US and we even have a new Erdkinder farm school in the UK now for children from 12-15. I work in a school with a Nido (6-18 months), Infant Community (18-36 months) and Children's House (2.5-6 years). Then children can progress to an Elementary School (6-12 years), then the Erdkinder (12-15) and High School (15-18).

What is the best way to choose a Montessori school for a child?

Take a look at the AMI Montessori Society website for certified UK schools: http://www.montessorisociety.org.uk/parents/schools-uk and also at their overview of what an authentic Children's House is like: http://www.montessorisociety.org.uk/montessori/childrens-house and here: http://www.themontessoriplace.org.uk/what-we-offer/montessori-school/.

Whichever school you choose, I would recommend that you ask to observe in them, as different people prefer different types of Montessori school.  Some are quieter than others, some use parts of the Montessori method only, some provide whole-day care and others offer a three hour morning 'work period'. 

Look for somewhere with qualified AMI teachers, lots of practical life activities and a beautiful, orderly classroom environment. Talk with the teachers and current parents if you can so you get a feel for the place.