I have been reading with interest about the government’s new plan to set up free schools and I have been wondering how many Montessori schools will be taking advantage of these reforms?
Free schools are a flagship part of the new Government's reforms to education in England. They allow groups of local parents, teachers or charities to establish their own school and choose their own pedagogy. Like academies, they'll be outside local authority control and will receive money directly from the Department for Education.
I was interested to read that Apple have brought out an iPad App using Montessori techniques to teach children numbers and letters and that this is aimed specifically at toddlers. Do you think this is appropriate for use by children of this age?
Actually, Montessori actively seeks to disassociate itself from these kinds of product. Firstly, as you will have read here previously, we do not condone the use of screen based learning for children of this age, who need hands-on experiences.
I read recently that Sarah Teather, the Children’s minister, announced a wide-reaching review of the EYFS because she feels that it is overly rigid and puts too many burdens on carers and teachers to tick boxes rather than spend time with the children. What do you think about this?
At the moment there are 69 ‘early-learning goals’ that four-year-olds are expected to master by the time they start school.
From time to time, we read in the press stories about a general lack of discipline and a high truancy rate in traditional schools. Yet this same phenomenon does not seem to apply to Montessori schools. Even if we look further a field to the United States, where the Montessori philosophy is applied through to adolescence level, there are still none of the negative stories we see so much of in traditional schools.
My daughter has just turned 4 years old and has attended a Montessori school since she was 2 ½. She has not yet been introduced to the sand paper letters and I am concerned that she will fall behind her peers. I have other friends at traditional schools where their children are learning how to read and write at a much earlier age. The teacher assures me not to worry, but how can I not? How do I know when my child is ready to start learning to read and write?
One of the core Montessori principles is the concept of indirect preparation.
I am aware that screen based entertainment is not good for young children, but my children do watch television occasionally (if anything to give me a bit of a break!). I have noticed however that they do learn a lot from the documentaries they watch. My son has learnt the names of different types of animals from the programmes and I have heard from others that children have also learnt different languages from watching television. Can watching television really be that detrimental to their minds?
Children have absorbent minds, and they will undoubtedly learn things from
I understand that the Montessori Approach does not advocate the age old method of ‘rocking’ a child to sleep. Where does this thought originate from and what alternatives should be used?
From the moment a child is born, he is able to fall asleep and awake by himself. Naturally, it takes time for him to get accustomed to the hours of night and day because he has not experienced night and day in the womb.
A revised version of the EYFS Statutory Framework and Practice Guidance document was published on 19th May 2008. The guidelines are now statutory. Has AMI formulated a response to this statutory framework?
There is much of the EYFS that is compatible with Montessori practice so in theory the guidance should not cause a problem to Montessori schools.
I understand that the EYFS legislation sets learning goals for as young as 22 months and the ability to use a mouse and keyboard by 40 months. My Children’s Montessori nursery does not even own a computer for the children to use. Does this mean that my children will be at a disadvantage when it comes to using computer technology?
This is one of the areas where Montessori practice does indeed differ from that suggested by the EYFS.
I have heard people say that Montessori may be all right for girls but is not suitable for little boys who have so much excess energy and need to be able to run around. How is this excess energy catered for in a Montessori environment that focuses on the development of concentration?
It is true that one of the main aims of the Montessori approach is to help the child find engagement so that he can bring his actions under the control of his mind. This is essential for all children regardless of their sex. However children cannot be be forced to concentrate.