Today I was reading an article on montessori education on WSJ and was just thinking how it is misused/abused here in Bangalore. You will probably find a montessori school in every nook and corner of Bangalore. Sadly, very few of them follow the true montessori spirit. Some of them follow a mix of traditional kindergarten + montessori method of teaching, which leaves the child totally confused (IMO).
My first son got his preschool education in US and the second one in Bangalore. There is/was a huge difference in the thought process. That is when I decided to totally stay back at home and take control. I told the preschool to not thrust anything on him and that he is coming there only to socialize. I think paying 35K to socialize is not a good investment, but atleast they were not doing any damage or undoing the things I taught!
Here are a few things that I don’t like –
1. Creativity – Just not encouraged. Why do you have to tell the child that the sky has to be blue only. Haven’t you guys heard of Aurora Borealis or a setting sky 🙂
2. Freedom – There should be discipline but it is after all a little child. Let the child discover and do things at his or her own pace.
3. Reading vs Writing – I don’t understand the fact that why preschools here emphasize on writing, rather than reading and comprehension. An average first grader here, cannot still read a small storybook, let alone read and tell. I partly blame the messed up system on parents, because they want their child to write A-Z faster than their neighbor’s kid. Trust me, A-Z remains the same even when you turn 100 years. And research has actually proved that forcing a child to write before 4 is not a good idea at all. Improve their motor skills first with jumbo crayons, playdough, etc. and let them doodle with color pencils and eventually write with pencils. I taught my first son to write the alphabet just before he wrote the first grade entrance exam. But the school was actually expecting cursive writing in first grade :(. Will probably write about the transition from US to bangalore school in another post.
Coming back to the article http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/04/05/the-montessori-mafia/ , it talks about Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Julia Child and rapper Sean “P.Diddy” Combs; why they are all so creative and inventive. I hope parents and Montessori teachers learn a thing or two from that article.
I think, we Indians are very conservative and always want to take the safe route and make more engineers/doctors. We are mostly raised with that mindset. Probably that is why we don’t find many entrepreneurs here even though many have the potential. Some of you may argue saying that you are successful even though you were raised conventionally. Good for you but for all you know, you could have been a picasso, or pele, or ansel adams…
Hope it changes with the newer generations and I sincerely hope that the foundation is laid well at the preschool level!