Article written by Samantha Kirsten, representative of My Montessori
This year has differed dramatically from what we all expected. The education sector specifically, has had to undergo many changes to try and accommodate the current situation. The main, and most important aspect, that has been affected is routine.
Since the pandemic came to our shores in the earlier part of this year, all sense of routine or familiarity has been significantly impacted. For little children, specifically those at Pre-Primary level, the concept of time is not something that they have learnt, other than sequential events that happen during the normal school day. The thrill of going to school, being with friends and teachers is a time most children look forward to. The social aspects of being at school are simply priceless. Academically, our children have been impacted so much so that some would classify it as a ‘step back’, but we have grasped it as an incredible opportunity to encourage the use of Montessori in homes.
During the harder months of lockdown with all of it’whils limitations, parents have had to adapt and become creative whilst using basic resources around the house. This has been a wonderful opportunity for parents to discover just how easy it is to get their children involved with the simple, daily chores around the home. Having the understanding of true Montessori principles, our parents have been able to use them effectively to help them create activities and pieces of work at home. As the children are so young, Montessori directresses (teachers) have had to become more pro-active with their online teachings. Some schools have even provided information packs with guidelines on how to make up and present an activity or work piece.
Many parents have very different ideas of what Montessori actually is and what it entails. In my experience, many parents have been of the opinion that our environments are not very ordered or structured. The thought is that often children are just permitted to do what they feel like. Contrary to this belief, this is fortunately not the case.
Dr Maria Montessori found that setting up materials and guidelines that speak to the child’s holistic developmental needs, means that you would ultimately be satisfying their need for independence and development. Within the practices of the Montessori philosophy, children are able to work and play using anything around them. When creating a Montessori piece of work, it is important to always remember your child’s needs; always considering what your own child would respond to with regards to the type of stimulation he/she would need as being one of the key fundamentals of Montessori practices.
Moving forward into 2021 we are very hopeful to see what the new year brings. Our children are encouraged to respect the COVID protocol practices and we will endeavour to help them embrace the necessary steps to keep them safe. Together, we have a great opportunity to teach good life skills in self-wellness, community wellness and care of others. Let us not limit our children to only our understanding of what this time has been for us, but let us rather see the teaching opportunities that are revealed in every situation!