Maria Montessori was a part of what is known as the cognitive-development movement. Her work as a doctor and scientist set the stage for her theories on “planes of development” and “sensitive periods” in children. She also recognized the need for repetitive behaviour (motor and mental) for cognitive development, as well as the importance the environment plays in stimulating children’s mental growth and health. Montessori was of the view that it was futile to try to accelerate a child’s development beyond their ability at the moment.
Montessori’s philosophy is based on both psychology and biology. By the age of 6, children are more interested in the origins of language and the scientific world around them. They like aesthetically pleasing and beautiful objects and materials. Children at this stage are developing their imagination, morality, and their ability to think abstractly. They want to know their place in the world and universe, hence Montessori’s idea of Cosmic Education. She firmly believed that a lesson, which struck the child’s imagination, would motivate him and have long-lasting effects. She believed that there is a new found sense of freedom and children are allowed to make their own decisions as to which activities to choose. The interests they choose lead them to ask more questions and research and make new observations.
Zigya endeavours to let students in this age group get access to a large online Resource Center which they can access free of cost and look for answers to their questions on any of the topics they are being taught in school. It offers free NCERT textbook solutions as well as solutions to a large number of additional Zigya questions drafted by subject teachers. The platform complements the instructional mode of teaching in schools by providing a self-paced, self-navigating Resource Center that provides structured content adherent to a curriculum.
The role of the teacher according to the Montessori system is not to be an expert in all areas. The Montessori teacher is responsible for creating and maintaining a well-prepared environment that is meant to encourage student exploration. She is also there to ensure that each child has the opportunity to work uninterrupted.
Our system of education and assessment largely still remains instruction based and exam oriented. In order to enable students to grow into responsible adults who are confident in their outlook, it is important to weave in from time to time, alternative methods of learning.