Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 51

“One test of the correctness of educational procedure

is the happiness of the child.”


-Maria Montessori
Montessori: A Journey

A woman, a method
and
life’s greatest lesson

Rey Emmanuel Rodis


THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

TO MY FAMILY,

MY GREATEST BLESSING.
Contents

Preface --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1-2

Maria Montessori’s Life and Time life -------------------------------------------------3-6

Philosophy --------------------------------------------------------------------------------7-10

Spirituality -------------------------------------------------------------------------------11-14

Montessori Curriculum ----------------------------------------------------------------15-22

Elements : Teacher ---------------------------------------------------------------------23-26

Elements : Child ------------------------------------------------------------------------27-29

Elements : Prepared Environment ----------------------------------------------------30-34

Personal Journey and Observation ---------------------------------------------------35-41

About the Author -----------------------------------------------------------------------42-43

Acknowledgments --------------------------------------------------------------------------44

Key References -------------------------------------------------------------------------45-46

Notes -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------47
Preface
Our superintendent in the school I’m currently
affiliated to approached me a few weeks ago. We had a
short conversation and when she was about to go she
asked me a question: “How can we instill concentration to
the students in lower primary?” She gave me time to think
about my answer and even encouraged me to do some
research. After a couple of days, I thought of a material to
answer her question: the Pink Tower.
The pink tower doesn’t only teach concentration, it
also teaches the child visual discrimination, coordination
and precision. Looking at a pink tower, the material is so
simple yet it serves as a vital foundation to the other
materials that come after it. It imbues the real essence of
the Montessori Method. I was also thinking maybe it is too
late for these students to manipulate the pink tower and
then I tried imagining them manipulating the material from
their early years in school and thought that would have
made a difference. The pink tower together with the other
materials would have made a difference. For me, the
materials have a ripple effect that when you are done
manipulating with first one you will get this urge to
manipulate another one. As a child goes through each

1
material it slowly establishes the values that lead to a
heightened degree of concentration.
I have come to realize that many of the problems
parents face right now with their child would be lesser to
none if they enrolled their child to a Montessori school
during their early childhood years. Maria Montessori
meticulously created the method that stood the test of time
and is internationally proclaimed as the approach that
perfectly caters the 21st Century learners.
The method encompasses the different aspects that
will enable a child to succeed not just in school but in life.

2
Chapter 1
Maria Montessori’s Life
Maria Montessori was born on the 31st August 1870 in
the town of Chiaravalle, Italy. She broke the norms during
her time when she became the first degreed female
physician in Italy after graduating in a class of all men. Her
advocacy to empower women in the society pushed her to
become a member of the European’s movement which
emphasized the rights of women. Montessori’s background
in other fields enabled her to conduct numerous in depth
research on mental illnesses and psychological disorders.
This was a turning point of her life because it moved her
closer to a lifelong commitment in early childhood
education. Her diverse knowledge in other fields led her to
see children as a whole that needs holistic development to
fully nurture them. During her days in Turin, she addressed
the Pedagogical Congress encouraging them to put
delinquent children from the asylums to an educational
system. This started her advocacy that children who are
differently abled should be given the proper interventions
that they needed. She introduced the clinical observation
where a teacher, a pediatrician and a psychologist were
present in observing and understanding the child not just
cognitively but in all aspects. Together they diagnosed the
3
individual child’s learning difficulties and suggested
remedies to counter it. This is the start of the so called
‘multidisciplinary staffing’ that we have today. It is not just
the teacher who does observations and gives feedback but
other stakeholders as well.

Multidisciplinary
staffing is essential if
the parents want to
know the appropriate
interventions that their
child needs.

After her work with children with mental


deficiency, she concluded a breakthrough finding:
methods used in training children with mental
deficiencies could also be applied to normal children. We
tend to disregard these methods and are anxious to use it
to a regular child but in most cases the methods work
wonders for both set of children. Based on my personal
observations, regular children tend to develop a degree
of tolerance towards children with mental deficiencies
when they stay together in one room. Together they
start to build a lasting relationship that is beneficial for
the two of them. The regular students see the child with
mental deficiency as someone they need to look after

4
and as days go by this bond is strengthened and all of a
sudden you can see the child with mental deficiency
slowly interacting with the regular children.

A regular child and a child


with mental deficiency
reading a book together
with the help an adult.

Maria Montessori continued her education when she


went back to Rome to pursue the studies in the
foundations of education. She then synthesized other
theories from the pioneers in education and came up with
her own that aligned with her principles. She also
developed theories from Sequin and Itard. This is one of
the traits that I admire so much from her, her unwavering
drive to continue learning and make herself better. I could
only imagine being one of her student with all the
knowledge I could get from her. Even though there were
critiques on her method this only gave her the added
motivation to improve the method itself.
In 1907, an opportunity came when Maria
Montessori was asked by Edoardo Talamo to establish a
school in a slum area in Rome. This enabled Montessori to

5
work on her craft further. She now has a platform to test
all her ideas and continue to observe children’s behaviour.
The Casa dei Bambini or Children’s house was the first of
the many schools that Montessori will then establish. From
then on her method spread starting from a very humble
beginning in a large tenement in one of Rome’s poverty
stricken district.

6
Chapter 2
Philosophy
One of the factors that made the Montessori Method
very appealing is its philosophies. When the method was
not yet created Italy’s key instructional routines were
memorization of textbooks, recitation and dictation. This
approach catered the cognitive aspect and purposeful
learning was absent because children were just memorizing
text and reciting it in the future. Because of Montessori’s
background in other fields, this led her to see the child as a
whole. It is not just the mind that needs development but
the entire being. The holistic perspective enabled
Montessori to create materials that teaches the child specific
skills, values and knowledge. For me this is also the reason
behind the five subject areas of the method. In every
material, there is a value that the child can learn that will
not just prepare him for the other materials to come but
will also prepare the child for life itself.

A simple activity like walking on the


line could prepare the child to follow
traffic rules in the future, like crossing
the street using the pedestrian lane.

7
Aside from holistic development, she also coined the
Absorbent Mind of the child: the child perceives everything
around him. This was also a very timely discovery because
I know parents before were questioning their child’s
curiosity and asking questions. Through the Absorbent
Mind, we see a child with an innate drive to learn new
things. Montessori even has a book entitled: The Absorbent
Mind which shows the importance of this phase to a child’s
life. This is the time where children learn without any
filters, have you ever wondered why all of a sudden a child
is already speaking a word that you did not teach him or
her? One explanation is that the child has been hearing this
word frequently and was able to perceive it rapidly in a
short period of time. That is the reason why the people
surrounding the child should be extra meticulous when it
comes to the words that they use.
Montessori also emphasized freedom with
responsibility, which is something that most parents cannot
give to their children or they are too strict in letting their
children discover on their own. Parents should realize that
children learn more in their toddler and pre-school period
than the later periods of their life. Stakeholders should see
the importance of Early Childhood Education and invest
more to it, because you will never go wrong if you give
your child quality ECED. Letting children work with the

8
materials of their own interest will give the teacher an idea
on what materials may be introduced first. However, the
teacher should also keep in mind the appropriateness of
these materials. Letting children choose their own material
and be able to manipulate it successfully will give them a
sense of ownership towards their work.

Letting children take ownership of their own work will fuel their interest
towards the materials and activities they have yet to perform.

Whatever is a person’s age, we always perceive things


through our senses: listening to a song, watching a funny
video clip, eating our favourite snack, etc. We enjoy these
things thanks to our senses. The same goes for children.
They discover through their senses. Maria Montessori
envisioned to develop the senses of the students through
the sensorial materials that she made. She also gave
importance to auto-education. It is not enough that the
9
children are manipulating the materials, they should also be
able to realize their mistake through the didactic materials
and redirect their learning. This also teaches a value to the
children, it manifests that failure or mistakes are part of
learning. Through this, the children will have a new
perspective when it comes to failure: failure doesn’t mean
it’s time to give up, it just means you need to try better
next time. This is a very good point of view that they
could live by when they grow up. I have observed most of
the learners in the 21st Century give up so easily and they
are already afraid to try the second time around.
Stakeholders especially the parents should instill the value
of never giving up after coming short in doing something.
Children should have this mindset as early as possible
because they will later on embody this as they continue to
grow.
The philosophies of Maria Montessori encompass not
just through the method itself but also to the environment,
materials and the people who continue to embody her
method.

10
Chapter 3
Spirituality
In one of my research about Montessori’s spirituality, I
came across a blog post and in this blog the author
mentioned that Maria Montessori referred to the child as
the little messiah. This got my attention that led me to
make further research about the content. I then found out
that Montessori referred to the child as little messiah
because a child seems to have a message not only to the
people in his immediate surrounding but to the rest of the
world. Writing about children, she shared, "Infancy is the
eternal Messiah, which continuously comes back to the
arms of degraded humanity in order to entice it back to
heaven." I cannot help but admire how she said it and I
could not agree more. It also made me think about the
experiences I encountered when a child just lifts up the
mood of a family and how the child unites them back
together in times of misunderstandings. I believe that there
is something spiritual in the child’s ability to brighten up
the mood of a person.
Montessori then further explains her spiritual
understanding of children:

11
“If we consider the child in this light, we shall be
forced to recognize, as an absolute and urgent
necessity, that care must be given to childhood,
creating for it a suitable world and a suitable
environment. It’s a must that we should recognize
children as an urgent necessity and that we should
care for the continuous development of childhood
education because this is where it all starts. And if we
can only build a community, an environment that will
be suitable for these young children then it’s not only
them that can benefit from it. It is the whole of humanity
because we are protecting and putting forward
something that will change how we see things and how
things should work.”

Renilde Montessori, Maria Montessori’s mother


mentioned in one of her lecture this statement: “And this is
perhaps what is needed at this point in our evolution: a
mode of education that responds directly to the exigencies
of the human spirit.” Sometimes we think too much of
what the mind should learn or perceive that learning
becomes too rigid and pointless. Maybe we should focus
on the how we can teach a child that will sustain and
nourish his spirituality in the process and see this as the real
manifestation of learning. This is then the time when we go
back to Montessori’s own understanding of spirituality.

12
If we are able to help the child tie things up into one
meaningful whole then we are slowly letting the child
realize how his learning can come through and eventually
be the key in solving not just his own problems in the
future but the problems in the society that affects him as
well. Through this the child will turn out to become a
responsible citizen as he grows older. Because if we try to
think about it, if only we can stay as innocent as a child as
well as have the mind set of knowing what is right from
wrong then the world will be a better place. That is the
reason why children are born every minute; this is to
remind us that no matter how chaotic and complicated life
can be a child is always there to help us seek tranquillity
and happiness in the little things.
Maria Montessori meticulously prepared her method
for the sake of these young children. The prepared
environment, the materials, and the directress serves as the
children’s conscious care taker of their well-being. We often
use spirituality to describe something in the child that is
indescribable. As we follow this spiritual being ---- the child
we are also seeing that spiritual zest that we also inherent
when we were still children ourselves.
Maria Montessori’s epitaph reminds us of her
unending resolve to attain peace in man and in the world
with the help of the child.
13
It is located in the small
seaside village of Noordwijk,
Netherlands, where Dr.
Montessori passed away. Her
tombstone reads ~"I beg the
dear, all-powerful children to
join me in creating peace in
man and in the world."

The grave of Maria Montessori

“[F]rom the depths of the child’s soul we can draw


something new, something useful for all of us, some light
that would clarify the obscure causes of human behavior.”
– Maria Montessori, The Formation of Man

14
Chapter 4
Montessori Curriculum
The Montessori Curriculum is an innovative learning
framework that incorporates specific learning outcomes
and knowledge skills that align with children’s
developmental needs and interests. It is divided into 5 key
areas.
First you have Practical Life, basically these are
everyday activities and they are involved in all aspects of
life. This is the child’s first step in attaining independence.
The child observes these activities in the environment and
gains knowledge through the real experience of how to
accomplish life skills in a purposeful way. Through the
practical life activities, the child can easily see the
importance of caring for oneself, for others and for the
environment. Children should also understand that we
don’t just work for ourselves; we also work in service of
others and the environment. This enables the child to be
selfless and also think for the welfare of others. Besides
becoming independent the child is now slowly seeing the
consequences of his action towards other people. One
advantage for this area is that the parents can also help in
letting their children try these diverse set of activities

15
because the materials are just at home. It’s the job of the
adult to make sure the child can fully, happily and actively
participate in life. Maria Montessori really saw what the
child needs, she saw that in this stage children are very
curious when it comes to the activities that adults do. This
goes together with their innate desire to do things on their
own make, which makes practical life a vital area in the
Montessori curriculum.

A child can already


set up a dining table as a
practical activity, a chore
that parents don’t usually
allow their child to do at
home is being developed
in a Montessori prepared
environment.

Sensorial method aims to develop the intellectual


senses and use this to classify the things in their surrounding
with precision. Montessori saw the child as a sensorial
explorer, and developed materials that made their sensorial
experiences more meaningful. One thing that fascinates me
when we talk about the materials is that how Montessori
envisioned it, especially the sensorial materials. Usually
when adults relate objects to children, most of the time
they would think of getting flashy ones that are so enticing
16
for the eyes which is obviously not the case for Montessori
materials. Montessori saw beauty in simplicity; how
children get excited for a material not because of its
extravagant decors but because of the joy and fulfillment
they feel when they are manipulating the material which
gives the children a sense of ownership for their learning.
Even some adults cannot help but be left in awe after
manipulating a sensorial material what more if it’s a child
doing it.

“The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to


knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers
the child a key to guide his explorations of the world…”
– Maria Montessori

The pink tower and the brown prism are two of the first sensorial materials that a
child will manipulate in the sensorial area.

17
Language development is probably one of the most
critical periods of a child’s early years of development.
Based on research, children tend to acquire language
deficiencies because they did not experience the proper
interventions that would have developed their language
capabilities. Maria Montessori mentioned in one of her
books that spoken language is a natural function of man,
because we utilize this for social ends. She also mentioned
that written language is not only of physiological
importance, but also a period of development which is
required for the child to be able to do the high functions
destined to perform later. These two functions should be
developed together for the child to achieve optimum
language development. Unfortunately, most of the time
we tend to focus our efforts in developing the spoken
language because this is the immediate skill that we use in
speaking to others and we can directly correct a child
whenever he says something incorrectly. Because of this we
sometimes neglect the development of written language
because of the fact that children don’t write sentences or
phrases all the time. This is one of the cases that I heard
recently, from stakeholders------most of the students are so
good in expressing their own thoughts through speaking
but when it comes to writing them down in a piece of
paper it will take them time to do so. It is necessary to let
children learn their language from birth to six years old
because this is a critical period of language acquisition
making it one of the sensorial periods of the child.
Language acquisitions is at its peak during these early years,
18
and language materials have a crucial role in building the
necessary foundations for an efficient development of both
spoken and written language as the child’s education
continues. Montessori stressed that language develops
naturally and spontaneously, it is not taught. “The mother
does not teach her child language. It develops naturally,
like a spontaneous creation.” This is the reason why it
doesn’t worry me if a child is still unable to speak clearly
most of his words at the age of 3 years old. Language
development doesn’t happen overnight and we cannot see
processes of it. Just like what Montessori said, “we should
be willing to wait.”
“All children pass through a period in which they can
only pronounce syllables; then they pronounce whole
words, and finally, they use to perfection all the rules of
syntax and grammar.”
— Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

A child manipulating the


moveable alphabets. A very versatile
Montessori material.

19
Math is a subject that most children don’t like because
for them it is difficult and complicated. However, for me
this perspective towards math would be different if these
children went through Montessori Math in their preschool
education. I did not get a chance to manipulate these
Mathematical materials when I was still young. As far as I
can remember, I went directly to pictorials without going
through concrete representations. My colleagues before
would say that they would have understand Math and
would have loved the subject if they were manipulating
Montessori materials as an introduction to these Math
processes. I also noticed that some of the students are
afraid to answer Math problems because they are already
thinking that their answers are wrong. With the Montessori
materials, I believe that we can change this view towards
Math. The practical life and sensorial materials give indirect
preparations for these Math materials, this continuous
manipulation of materials will help them build a life-long
love for Math. I know for sure that there will come a time
when all the students will love Math, and they will bring
this enthusiastic vibe as they move forward in their
education.

20
A child working with the number and
counters. A simple yet vital material in the
Math curriculum.

Cosmic Education is a cornerstone of the Montessori


Philosophy. At its core, Cosmic Education tells the story of
the interconnectedness of all things. It describes the role of
education as comprehensive, holistic and purposeful; to
encompass the development of the whole person within
the context of the universe. It also introduces the possibility
that humanity might have a “cosmic task,” to better the
world for future generations. Cosmic is the most advance
among all the areas. These are the set of materials that the
students will be manipulating later on. The other 4 areas
serve as a preparation for the concepts in Cosmic. Most of
the children’s questions about Science are answered as they
go through the materials and lessons in Cosmic. It is like
giving the child an introduction on how the universe works
and their curiosity about the world is at its peak in this
21
plane of development. Doctor Maria Montessori believed
that the world was a purposeful place; and that war,
poverty and injustice, were deviations from that purpose.
She believed that Cosmic Education is a way to restore
harmony and order, and thus allow humankind to realise
their true potential. In the twenty-first century, global
awareness, peaceful communication, and ethical
cooperation are integral to resolving global disputes. By
providing children with a Cosmic Education, Montessori
empowers students with the knowledge to transform the
world as Doctor Maria Montessori states: “The child is
both a hope and a promise for mankind.”

Naming the continents is one of the first lessons under Cosmic

22
Chapter 5
Elements: Teacher
We all know that most of the people see teachers as
the sage on the stage because of the traditional system that
is widely known around the world, but times have
changed. We are now slowly seeing teachers as the guide
on the side, and what a timely realization because we just
recently implemented the K-12 educational system. And
one of the methods that made us realize the true role of
the teacher is Maria Montessori’s method. Maria
Montessori saw the teacher as a directress: whose
responsibility was not to teach the child but to connect the
child’s potential to their environment.

Montessori wrote that “the best preparation for


teaching is a study of one’s self.” The Directress must
prepare her spirit – “her values, beliefs, strengths,
weaknesses, habits and omissions” – before she enters the
classroom to serve the spirits of the children. Children
“literally soak up everything in their environment including
the behaviours and attitudes of the principal caretakers.”
So, the presence of a Directress is as much a part of the
environment as any material on the shelves. The children
feel her spirit, igniting or diminishing an inner drive to
learn and to develop and to self-educate. The journey of

23
self-discovery for the teacher is a critical component of a
successful Montessori environment.
I agree with this statement, that before someone can
teach, she should prepare herself and try to assess where
she stands in terms of the values, belief, strengths,
weaknesses, habits and omissions. If a teacher is unsure of
her own beliefs then it will be hard for her to do her role
as a teacher; to impart something to her students with
great ease and dedication. It’s hard to force yourself to
believe in something that contradicts your own principles.
For Maria Montessori’s case, because of the diverse
backgrounds that she has, this led her to have a clear
perspective of her own principles and beliefs and how she
wants her method to be perceived by other people.

Maria Montessori the first directress.

24
The teacher should also cater to the prepared
environment; she should know how to prepare the
environment for it to be conducive for learning. It is
important to have order in the environment because this
prevents a waste of time and energy. I can attest to this
because there are students that when they see that the
classroom is not orderly they start to disrespect the place.
The prepared environment is what sets the stage for
learning and if it’s not taken cared of properly then
learning cannot take place efficiently. In a Montessori
classroom, the child feels a sense of calm because the child
can feel that he is in the right place and everything around
him has its own place as well. The directress also helps the
child in attaining this sense of calmness. This is essential
because the child will then realize that he can trust his
teacher and together they can form a lasting relationship
that will benefit them both.

The Directress is a critical


component in the classroom,
considered the dynamic link
between the child and his
environment.

25
“The Role of the Montessori directress resembles more
that of a guardian angel than a teacher of the old type.”
– Maria Montessori: Her Life & Work

The Directress is the dynamic link between the child


and the prepared environment. In order for her to succeed
in becoming so, she must be knowledgeable, patient,
observant, tactful and sympathetic. The Directress must be
bold; she must know the function of the prepared
environment and the nature and purpose of each material
that is in the classroom and see its appropriateness to the
child’s level of development. Once the teacher is already
prepared in her own spiritual aspect, her number one
priority will be the prepared environment and should
embody the principles of how the materials should be
demonstrated. When all of these are in place, she can
proceed in serving the child.

26
Chapter 6
Elements: Child
In the previous chapters, I have talked about a few
aspects of the child, a being in need of nurturing and as a
spiritual being. A child undergoes periods of development,
and these periods are crucial as Montessori described it, a
missed period is called dropped stitches. Once a sensitive
period has passed, it will never return with the same
intensity and completeness that it once existed.
Stakeholders should know how to make the most out of
these sensitive periods. Because if they fail to do so, then
this could affect the child as he grows up and we should
not neglect the fact that children are fragile beings in need
of constant guidance. And for us to start implementing
child-centered approaches in our schools today means that
we are going towards a clearer view of how we should
teach children in general.

The child has this inherent


tendency to work.

27
"Among the revelations the child has brought us, there is
one of fundamental importance, the phenomenon of
normalisation through work. The child's instinct confirms
the fact that work is an inherent tendency in human
nature; it is the characteristic instinct of the human race."
- Maria Montessori, 'The Secret of Childhood'
Children have milestones to achieve as they grow
older, and it’s important that they do activities that are
appropriate for their level to achieve such milestones. It
seems like the child is endowed with unknown power that
if sustained will guide us to a brighter future and as they go
through these milestones we also guide them to reach their
potentials.
The greatest development is achieved during the
first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest
care should be taken. We have come a long way from
perceiving a child as a powerless being or an empty vessel
that must be filled with knowledge. We have finally gotten
to the point where we see the child as a constructor of his
own knowledge that is guided by an inner teacher. Most of
us can attest to this true nature of the child, we see and feel
as if that these works that they are doing mean nothing
and out of nowhere we will be confronted by sudden
manifestations of learning; seeing the child unfolding in
front of our eyes is a marvel of nature in itself. For me this
is the start of some realizations: first, that a teacher is just
there merely guiding the students through their learning
process. Second, education is not what the teacher gives to
28
the students: education is a natural process spontaneously
carried out by the human individual. I believe that through
meticulous observation of the child we can gather salient
information that will be essential in reforming the way we
teach children in the present and in the future. And as we
go through this process we are able to discover new things
about the child which will shed light to some unanswered
questions about their nature and will further increase our
understanding of the child.

29
Chapter 7
Elements: Prepared
Environment
The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as
it is possible, to render the growing child independent of
the adult.
— Maria Montessori, ‘The Secret of Childhood’
The prepared environment is as important as the
other elements. Each of them is useless without the two
other elements. The prepared environment basically has its
own principles and it’s impossible to call an environment a
Montessori prepared environment if one of these principles
is missing.

A Montessori prepared environment

30
Freedom is a word that is common in Montessori principles
but Montessori was very careful in her own definition of
the word freedom in her method. Freedom within limits,
Montessori believed that children learn best when they are
free to discover their environment. In order for this to
happen the environment itself should also be at tip top
shape, this is the reason why it’s called prepared
environment in the first place because it stimulates
individual learning. Through exploration the child can
create his own ideas of the things around him, which
increases his knowledge of the world. The prepared
environment enables the child to experience freedom of
movement, freedom of exploration, freedom to interact
socially, and freedom from interference from others. These
materials are crucial in building an ultimate manifestation
of independence; freedom of choice. The Montessori
prepared environment has this aura that whenever you set
your feet inside one you just can’t help but admire the
tranquillity of the place, how the materials are arranged
neatly and everything just falls into place. The best part is
when the children are inside working with the materials
with so much concentration that you can hear a pin drop
in the classroom.

The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to


say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
― Maria Montessori

31
Structure and order, these are two things that make
the environment well prepared. Once you get in the
classroom the materials should be there, well organized
and neatly kept in the shelves. If that is not the case then
you are not in a Montessori prepared environment. By
using the prepared environment as the child’s second home
and as a microcosm of the universe, the child begins to
internalize the order surrounding him, thus making sense of
the world in which he lives. Order as one of the child’s
sensitive periods, should be well introduced to the child to
avoid misconceptions. If the child cannot see this in his
immediate surroundings then the child will think that this is
what is normal.

Order is very evident in a Montessori prepared environment.

32
Children when entering a classroom immediately
notice the colourful decorations that make a certain
classroom stand out from the normal ones. In a Montessori
prepared environment the children are welcomed by the
warmth and soothing feeling of the wooden furniture like
the shelves and also the well-maintained materials. These
give them a sense of harmony and they will start to see the
importance of a clean and beautiful classroom. The warmth
and soothing attitude of the teacher will also help the
children feel at home to their new classroom. There will
come a time that the students will start to work together in
sustaining the prepared environment and learning comes
into play naturally.
Montessori had a deep respect and reverence for
nature. She believed that we should use nature to inspire
children. She even suggested that Montessori teachers to
take the children out into nature and not limit their
learning in the classroom. This is the reason why natural
materials are highly encouraged in a Montessori classroom.
Children have this desire to be with nature. Ever wonder
why children would start to scream in excitement as soon
as you announce to them that they will be playing outside?

Nature has its own way of


inspiring children to keep on
exploring

A nature tray

33
When children come into contact with nature, they
reveal their strength.
- Maria Montessori
Montessori also thought of hindrance that the
children will go through if they manipulate real-size
objects. This pushed her to come up with child-sized
materials which will make the tasks easier for the children.
This also takes away the frustration that children usually
resort to when dealing with a hard task or activity.
The purpose of a mixed-age classroom is for the
students to interact with each other and gather different
views from other children especially to those children that
are older. The prepared environment and the Montessori
Method are designed so that children develop relationships
with their peers through social interactions.
The purpose of the Montessori prepared
environment is to develop the whole personality of the
child, not merely his intellect: a holistic approach. Together
with the materials under the each area and the prepared
environment the child starts to develop his own unique
potential.

34
Personal Journey and
Observation
I visited Abba’s Orchard Montessori School, and upon
arriving I really did not notice the school because from
outside it is just like a normal house.

Abba’s Orchard Montessori School


32 Pres. Magsaysay St, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu

35
When I went inside the school it really felt like an
authentic Montessori school. The walls are white and there
are also plants surrounding the hallways going to the
classroom; there were fewer distractions in the
environment. The security guard instructed me to go inside
the office and there I met the one in charge of inquiries. As
soon as I went inside I saw certificates on the walls of the
proponents of the school. That is when I knew that the
school adheres to the standards set by the Association
Montessori Internationale and these school proponents
were formally trained in all levels of the Montessori
Spectrum.

The students can admire the beauty of nature before they


enter their classroom because parallel to the hallways there
are all sorts of plants.
36
I got a chance get inside one of the classroom and I
saw a Montessori prepared environment. The tiles on the
floor are white, there are wooden shelves and the chairs
and tables are child-size. The materials are also Montessori
materials.

37
The doors of their classrooms are also quite unique.
There is a door for the adults and a door for the children.

When the children get inside the room they will use
the small door. This makes the classroom more inviting for
the students that will get inside.

38
Stakeholders can also observe the children without
disturbing them or getting inside the classroom because on
one side of the classroom instead of a wall there is a
transparent glass. So while working the children can also
see the trees and the plants outside.

The view outside the classroom looking through the transparent glass.

The portfolio of the students placed in


one of the shelves in the classroom.

39
The woman who entertained me said that the teachers
undergo a 2-year intensive in house training in Bukidnon.
The one who will train the teachers are the proponents
who studied Montessori under AMI. There is also very low
teacher turnover, As much as possible the students are
under one teacher in a span of 3 years.
In each class there is a head teacher and an assistant
teacher. This is necessary because the maximum population
of a class is 25 students. The school is also inclusive and
they allow shadow teachers inside the classroom, but they
limit the number of children with mental deficiencies in
one class. This goes the same way for foreign students,
there should only be 3 to 5 foreign children in one class.

Reflection
It was a delight seeing another Montessori prepared
environment with all the Montessori materials. Because of
all the years studying Montessori education I have seen
only one Montessori prepared environment and that is in
the USC Montessori Academy. The opportunity to visit
another Montessori school was also very timely, to be
honest teaching in a traditional school is different from a
Montessori school because basically the method is different
and I feel like I am becoming a more traditional teacher.
However, when I visited Abba’s Orchard Montessori

40
school the memories I had during my practice teaching in
USC Montessori Academy flashed back. It made me want
to demonstrate one of the materials to a child, since it was
a long time ago since I manipulated a Montessori material.
In the end it is always good to see that Montessori schools
are slowly emerging here in Cebu and all over the
Philippines. This is a sign that the Filipino people are giving
more importance not just for early childhood education
but quality education in general.

41
About the Author

Rey Emmanuel Rodis

He was born in Cebu in December 1996, the son of


Ricardo Rodis and his wife Maria Theresa. Rey was not
quite sure what to take up after graduating high school
back in 2013. However fate did its role and led him to the
teaching profession. His view in teaching changed as soon
as he discovered the revolutionary methods of teaching of
Maria Montessori. From that moment on he knew that he
discovered his true vocation, which then led him to dig
deeper to the method and take a Master’s degree just
recently this 2018 after graduating in 2017 with a
Bachelor’s degree in Education in Early Childhood
Education with a major in Montessori Education.
Back in his college years Rey was one of the few men
applicants for the course. This did not stop him from
inculcating
42
the values of the method and embodying its salient
principles while striving in a course where most of the
students are women. It was not a walk in the park college
experience for him, there were ups and downs but he
managed to get a couple of Dean’s List awards. This
pushed him to aim for a Latin honour but unfortunately
was not able to because of a failed subject during his 1st
year. This gave him a rather positive perspective when it
comes to celebrating success in life. A person’s achievement
doesn’t always reflect the amount of skills and knowledge
that he has acquired. He believed that most of the time
failure or coming up short in achieving something is a
better teacher than success.

Rey is currently working in a progressive school in


Lahug. He is blessed to be around head teachers that push
him to try new things and not settle for mediocrity. The
administrators’ openness for other approaches enabled him
to integrate the methods of Montessori education in his
daily teaching experience. However, he is hoping to teach
in an authentic Montessori school someday and fully
immerse himself with the method. Because even though he
is in a school that is open to other methods of teaching, he
thinks that it is still far more different if you are in a
Montessori prepared environment with all the materials
ready to be used; the fulfilment is also greater.

Rey’s story doesn’t end there. He has gone on to write


Montessori: A Journey that will surely become an
international bestseller.
43
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

To my instructor for giving me the opportunity to write this


electronic book.

To my colleagues, for their inputs in class.

To my editors, whose tireless work made this a far better


book than it would otherwise have been.

To my friends and family for their support.

44
Key References

Montessori, Maria: The Montessori Method, 2004.


Montessori, Maria: The Absorbent Mind, 1949.
Maunz, Mary E.: The Absorbent Mind, 2017.
Irinyi, Michelle: Educating the Whole Child in the Montessori
Environment, 2016.
Philipart, Heidi: An Introduction to Practical Life, 2018.
Brown, Laura L.: Comparing Preschool Philosophies: Montessori,
Waldorf and More, 2013.
Hargis, Aubrey: Montessori 101: The Basics, 2014.
Zajac, Aleksandra: Sensory Education in the Montessori Classroom,
2016.
Montessori, Renilde: The Timeless Human Spirit, 1988.
Webb, Seth: Teaching with Spirit: Maria Montessori’s Cosmic
Vision, 2012.
Mcarthy, Jesse: The Grave of Maria Montessori, 2018.
Montessori Academy: An Introduction to Cosmic Education, 2017.
NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog: What is Montessori
Cosmic Education? The Keystone of Montessori Philosophy
Explained, 2009.

45
Carrots Are Orange: Montessori Theory: The Ultimate Guide to
Montessori Math, 2018.
Irinyi, Michelle: The Montessori Teacher and Her Role: Learning
More About The Method, 2007.
Age of Montessori: 5 Things Montessori Teachers Do Differently,
2017.
Association Montessori Internationale: The Child’s Work, 2018.
NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog: Following The Child —
Observing and Guiding Learning, 2015.
Craycroft, Marnie: What is a Montessori Directress?, 2012.
Irinyi, Michelle: The Six Principles of the Montessori Prepared
Environment Explained, 2009.
Montessori Australia: A quality Montessori Prepared Environment,
2017.

46
Notes

The first sentence in the second paragraph of Chapter 5 was taken


from the article by Marnie Craycroft: What is a Montessori
Directress?
‘Montessori wrote that “the best preparation for teaching is
a study of one’s self.” The Directress must prepare her spirit – “her
values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, habits and omissions” –
before she enters the classroom to serve the spirits of the children.’
I used this statement because it speaks accurately to what I
was trying to express while writing the specified paragraph.
I also inserted a few quotations by Maria Montessori to back
up my writing.

47