Vishesh working with a tangram puzzle
“How did your child cope in a mainstream Primary school?”
This is the most frequent question I’m asked by other parents when I tell them that my child is from a Montessori Pre-school. It is a common misconception that children from a Montessori environment cannot adapt to mainstream schools. On the contrary, Montessori builds a strong foundation for children and prepares them not just for primary school but for life. In my experience, children from Montessori schools do not just cope but rather thrive in mainstream Primary schools.
Vishesh, who turns 8 this May, studied in various Montessori Preschools from when he was 2.5 years old. He was with Lodestar Montessori since its foundation until he migrated with his family to New Zealand in April 2017.
He developed a natural love for learning as the Montessori environment allowed him to learn based on his internal drive and interest and never for want of rewards or punishments.
The Montessori environment nurtured discipline and a strong sense of morality in him by providing plenty of opportunities to exercise his will. He gradually became capable of displaying obedience unasked. He also learnt to wait and to take turns.
The mixed age set-up in the Montessori classroom, with no comparison or competition helped Vishesh to understand that different people are of different capabilities. He learnt to look out to the needs of others and be respectful of his friends.
He learnt to respect and care for his surroundings and developed the ability to notice small changes in the environment. He developed a sense of belonging and responsibility towards his environment.
He developed a rich vocabulary, a love for reading and an ability to write beautifully during his time spent in the Montessori classroom. He was never pressured to write, but instead was offered gentle encouragement and plenty of opportunities to strengthen both his mind and body in preparation for writing.
Vishesh developed a strong foundation of the concepts of mathematics, since these were presented through a very concrete, sensorial experience. He was familiar with the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. He was also exposed to the concept of fractions.
For his first year in New Zealand, Vishesh went to a mainstream Primary school in Auckland. There were a lot of changes around him such as living in a new country, arrival of his baby brother and having to attend a mainstream school. The strong foundation and strength in character built in him through his Montessori education helped him cope with these changes seamlessly. His primary school teachers appreciated his thirst for knowledge, and his love for learning without the expectation and anticipation of rewards. He was also appreciated for displaying kindness towards his peers and for showing resilience. Later towards the end of 2018, Vishesh moved to Hamilton, New Zealand with his family. He now attends an Elementary Montessori School. He quickly adapted back into the Montessori system. The head teacher of the school once commented, “It feels like Vishesh never left Montessori!”
Shiva and Madhura (Parents of Vishesh)