Social/Cultural Upbringing in Montessori

Within the child lies the fate of the future.
– Dr. Maria Montessori

We are a proud Montessori school and hold fiercely to the tenets of the Montessori Method, as laid out by Dr. Maria Montessori. A central and core component of our schools’ curriculum is the social and cultural curriculum. We encourage kindness and respect, building an understanding of harmonious living amongst our students, which we hope they will take to heart and carry on as they develop into adults.

Every experience is thought through and purposeful. In their daily activities and interactions, our children develop social and emotional awareness as they relate to their classmates, teachers, and surroundings.

Children learn the world they live in and the various cultures through subjects that include science, zoology, geography, history and art. In their mixed-age classrooms, children experience mutual learning opportunities and collaboration. Through daily interactions and group activities, our students develop social skills necessary to relate and participate in a harmonious society.

It is our belief and hope that in helping to set this fundamental foundation for our children, we have set wheels in motion. They start to learn self-awareness and awareness of their surroundings. This helps eases difficult transitions and inculcates a sense of confidence and comfort as they age and develop.

Social Development the Montessori Way

Humans, by natural design, are social creatures. In the real-life world, interactions with others occur regardless of differences amongst us (e.g. race, religion, age). A Montessori classroom of different age-groups seeks to mirror this.

Mixed-aged grouping is a classic part of a Montessori curriculum. Montessori pedagogy believes in peer-learning through mixed-aged grouping as it avoids competition amongst them and promotes a healthier learning adventure. Every day in class, the children develop the social skills necessary to relate and participate in a harmonious society.

In a class of different ages and skills, the older children become more sensitive to the younger children’s needs and through their own, personal experiences, can predict and help problem-solve the challenges a younger child might currently go through. It is often common in our schools to see an older child wiping tears off a younger child’s face and holding their hands to calm them down!

On the other hand, younger children feel less ‘pressured’ in a new environment – especially for new additions to the class. We see that the younger ones have trust and support in, relying on the older children for guidance. This mimics the siblings-at-home relationship, and we have seen many interactions where the younger children are inspired by the older ones, who in turn ‘lead’ play and lead the way.

Having the experience of being helped, and admiring or looking towards the older kids for inspiration imparts confidence and a sense of security in the younger children. We also encourage them to see that one day, they too, will be older and can pay it forward to other newer, younger children.

Cultural Development the Montessori Way

Cultural lessons/experiences enliven a child’s understanding of the very much adult world around them, and helps them make sense of it through their discoveries.

Admittedly, the Cultural exploration in Montessori curriculum is very broad in content, but it does tend to be quite specific in its intent. Typical topics such as Botany and Zoology are well-received by children of various ages as they tend to be worlds that children experience in a daily sense and therefore can relate.

Experiences such as observing caterpillars morphing into butterflies, growing seeds into edibles, rearing stick insects or even nursing injured birds back to health give children concrete and tactile understanding of the essential needs in life. They develop emotional depth as love and care naturally pours out while taking care of the animals and plants, as well as a deep-rooted understanding of one’s sense of self.

Travelling to different parts of the world at a much younger age is common for many of our students. Deeper and more complex topics such as History and Geography – just to name a few – makes sense as well. Going through the puzzle maps of the countries of the world helps them relate to their travels and to the different countries they’ve been.

The act of the Montessori birthday walk tracks and marks a child’s year in life in a simple but essential history lesson. It drives a child to understand how ‘much’ they have grown. This in turn, helps them to make that connection to the milestones they have gone through to get to where they are currently. It helps to facilitate a lifetime habit of pausing, self-reflection and acknowledgement of growth.  Comments such as “I was so small and could only cry!” or “I could only crawl then!” are common throughout birthday walks and mark a child’s understanding of their physical and emotional growth.

It is a natural inclination for people to seek connections through their experiences, especially with young children. The cultural concepts taught through the Montessori pedagogy aim to help children connect and make sense of the world through their own discoveries and experimental journeys.