Education for Today’s Child
Maria Montessori (1870 to 1952) was a visionary educator with a very clear understanding of child development. TODAY, The Ocean View Montessori School provides a toddler group, pre-primary, junior primary school and a learning studio for Grade 4 upwards reflecting her philosophy.
Lucy Cronje (left) – teacher and school leader of Ocean View Montessori – has been steeped in every aspect of the Montesssori philosophy for over 30 years, as a teacher, parent, Master’s graduate and school leader. She’s as passionate today about the methodologies and outcome as she was when she first encountered – and resonated with – Maria Montessori’s vision.
Maria Montessori had recognised that learning is most effective when the child can choose their area of focus, and is able to explore it through movement and their senses. In response to this, she created learning environments and a teaching approach that facilitate both, and allowed for constructive choices in activities.
Lucy is aware that the idea of choice and freedom of movement ring alarm bells for many traditional educators: “Those on their first visit to a Montessori school may come along with the preconceived notion that this is the place where children do exactly as they wish, whenever they wish, and that they have freedom to do so without any limits. These are myths that committed Montessori teachers ‘bust’ every day. They do so through their approach to behaviour management, planning and delivery.
“The ‘freedoms’ are governed by positively expressed ground rules that provide a framework for behaviour, helping children to develop self-discipline, task management and collaboration. The children’s choice of activities is guided by the teacher’s observations of each individual child’s interests and development. Record keeping is used to inform ongoing planning and track progress against required outcomes.”
Lucy firmly believes the Montessori approach to be of increasing relevance for today’s children: “We are in urgent need of a method of education that encourages activity for healthy minds and bodies, fuels curiosity for learning, boosts emotional intelligence, and connects children with nature and their communities. Modern research in neuroscience evidences the outstanding growth that a Montessori education can provide.
“An authentic Montessori education delivered by fully qualified and experienced teachers, such as the Ocean View team, is a launch pad for life. Not only preparing the child fully for their future steps in mainstream education, but to pursue careers of their choice with confidence and excellence.”