Montessori education is a child centric method of education that caters to the complete development of the child. The three key elements of the Montessori method are - The adult (Directress), Prepared environment & Montessori materials.
The adult (Directress)
The Montessori directress plays an important role in the development of the child. She needs to offer the child what he needs, but unobtrusively & indirectly. She should stimulate the child to work for his self formation. For this she needs to understand her responsibility & prepare herself. The preparation of the directress in on three levels – spiritual, mental & physical; all done simultaneously.
On spiritual preparation, she has to be suitable to guide the children & prepare a secure & loving atmosphere for the child. 1. The first task of the directress is to forgo her ego & prejudices & meet the child without any pre-conceived notions about his abilities & potentials. 2. She should accept that the child is her only guide & in order to help him, she must follow and understand him & be willing to learn what the child reveals. 3. She should patiently observe the child & ask herself what she needs to do next to help the child. 4. She should love the child in truest sense & not expect anything in return. This love comes from a deep respect & understanding that children will absorb her movements, actions, calmness & integrity just by watching her & not follow or do what they are told to do. 5. She should be a mature adult with a smile on her face & not bring her personal problems in the class. 6. She should be humble & offer help to the child without crushing his spirit. She should understand that she cannot mould the child but can only help him to follow his inner urges. 7. She should not judge herself by the child’s work, but should constantly attempt to better herself in the awareness of the needs of the child. She should awaken her true consciousness & realize the human, social & spiritual importance of the child. 8. She should be confident but not over confident & should have the ability to be impersonal & listen to the child. 9. She should exercise self control & not laugh or ridicule the child. She should treat him with dignity. She should be careful with her language in front of the children. She should not whisper to other adults in the room & pass sarcastic comments. 10. She should be willing to listen & understand the parents & the children. She should always bend down on her knees to have eye contact with them. 11. She should be consistent & lovingly firm with the child to prevent him from becoming disruptive. 12. Lastly, she should be kind & not cruel to the children. Always be punctual & have self discipline & not loose temper.
To be intellectually prepared, she should study the basis of Montessori philosophy & apply it in her day to day dealing with the children. She should be aware of the universal rights of the children & try to safeguard them. Children are curious by nature & ask a lot of questions. The adult should have good general knowledge to answer his queries so as to keep the child’s interest alive. She should bring into the prepared environment all items of human culture. She should have a sound knowledge of all Montessori materials, their purpose & usage. Her movements should be exact, precise & orderly with clarity so as to show the purpose of each activity. She should know when to intervene & when to be passive so as to help them become independent. She must keep a record of her presentation, do the planning for the day, week, month & the year. She should constantly strive to deepen her knowledge & be in touch with the current research in the field of education & have a healthy attitude towards other schools of thought as it would help her become stronger in her belief.
To be physically prepared, she should have proper behavior, appearance, personality &...