Latest Posts • December 14, 2020
I first came into contact with Maria Montessori’s reform education in the 1990s when my own daughter was at the age of preschool. Montessori’s guiding principles immediately convinced me and found their way into my book (available under the title Unleash the Secret of Education and Learn How to Raise a Happy Child)
2020 marks the 150th anniversary of Maria Montessori and her educational approach has lost none of its relevance. Today, I will highlight three reasons why and how we can still benefit from Montessori education and why Montessori’s principles are not only suitable for young children.
1. Independence never goes out of fashion
“Help me to do it myself”: For Maria Montessori, the focus was on children’s self-determined learning and their independence. For this purpose, children should be instructed on certain things and then experience and try things out for themselves instead of having things taken from them unnecessarily. We want children to get out of their comfort zone, where they are hardly allowed to do anything themselves because they are restricted to move independently. On their own path, children will make mistakes, but they will recognize and correct them without an adult immediately intervening.
Especially during the Corona pandemic, it is important for young children to keep themselves busy and to be self-efficient in a way that is appropriate for their age. And also for school children in homeschooling, adolescents and last but not least adults in the home office, it becomes evident who has learned to study independently, to solve problems on their own and to organize themselves.
The path to independence is a lot of work and requires patience from everyone involved. But it is worth it for children and parents to take this path.
Tip: For older children and adolescents, the acquisition of independence naturally requires different skills than for younger children. But in the end, it helps not to simply prescribe solutions but to encourage independent problem solving instead.
2. Montessori also fits into the digital age
Contrary to some stereotypes, Montessori education is not at odds with technology and digitization. Maria Montessori herself was open to technical achievements. And her statements on the subject of technical media could hardly be more current:
“The idea of supporting the acquisition of educational content through technical media is so urgent in today’s world […]. Likewise, the projected images and films would be developed by specialists who see it as their job to process the multitude of educational content in a clear and exciting way for children.”
It is a basic idea of Montessori education that learners should independently understand how things work. They are supposed to research, inquire and think further – the digital world offers teachers and learners countless opportunities for this. Therefore, media is not used for distraction but according to its original purpose – the transfer of knowledge.
3. Less is more
One can observe a trend towards minimalism. In a world, in which we are constantly flooded with information, in which people constantly try to convince us that we absolutely need this and that for a better life, many people feel overwhelmed.
In terms of Montessori education: It is enough to choose from five to six different toys. These are age-appropriate and of particular interest to the child. The toys are exchanged regularly. Don’t worry, the child won’t get bored quickly. On the contrary, they won’t overwhelmed by too much choice.
The principle can also be applied to young people and adults: Here, it is the smartphone that’s constantly bombarding us with new messages. And at the same time, we’re streaming the latest series and have already forgotten how to fully concentrate on one thing. We no longer know what it feels like to be in a flow, to devote ourselves completely to one activity. Therefore: simply “clean out” and focus on ‘less is more’ for a clear head.