Montessori programmes are available for children of different age groups – three to six, six to twelve, twelve to eighteen, and eighteen to twenty-four. This method of teaching can be interwoven into any national curriculum like the CBSE or the ICSE.
In India, there are a few schools that have adopted the Montessori method beyond the preprimary stage. While the 3-6 age group Montessori programme is designed to address the developmental needs of young children, the aim of the programme for older students is different. “The older child’s development needs are different – she is articulate, has the ability of movement, imagination and a reasoning mind,” points out Rukumini Ramachandran, Director, Navadisha Montessori School, Chennai. “These abilities have to be supported – we give her the opportunity to engage with the world. She is ready to see beyond what is in front of her. We approach her through stories – the teacher is the storyteller of the truth.”
In order to equip students with the testtaking skills required for the mainstream ICSE or CBSE syllabus, many Montessori schools opt to provide mock tests to children. Students can then analyse their weaknesses and work efficiently towards preparing for the tenth grade board examinations, while keeping overall development as the main goal. Those who use Montessori methods of teaching hold that children are able to adapt to any curriculum they choose afterwards, and do not face any particular difficulty with mainstream exams.
Other early learning methods
While the four methods mentioned here are the best known early learning systems worldwide, there are some other innovative ideologies we have heard about. Coyote teaching is one such method, where teachers never answer a child’s question directly: a question is often answered with a question! Gagne’s method of learning is another ideology that can be applied to young children, where the focus is on getting and keeping the learner interested. Mastery learning, an instructional method that focuses on making children master a certain learning level before they are moved to the next one, is another popular method.
For a complete list of Montessori schools in your city, check out this website: www. indiaedu.com/schools/montessori-schools. html
These FAQs shed more light on the hows and whys of this system: www.montessori. edu/FAQ.html
The Waldorf Method
Rudolf Steiner was an anthroposophist – a person who believes that understanding humanity is necessary to understanding the universe. Based on an in-depth analysis of human development, he established the Waldorf method of early learning in 1919, which targets the development of morally principled, creative individuals.