Montessori

Preschool Philosophy- Montessori System of Education

montessori system of education

“The child is both, a hope and a promise for mankind” – Maria Montessori

Education. A necessity of humans which can’t be put into words. It has played a major role in shaping the minds of young aspirants. Talking about young blood and the current educational scenario, we must not forget the Montessori system of education, which has played a very vital role in nurturing the process of pre-school education in an efficient manner.

We may discuss about the approach followed by the Montessori system of education, and analyse it through every aspect. Talking about its origin, it is an educational system developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori which lays emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.

It focuses majorly in a whole hearted human development, where emphasis is laid on the emotional, physical and psychological development of the child where they have the liberty to choose and act freely within an environment, for optimal development.

Certain principles in this model are given primary importance, such as, exploration, activity, order, orientation, purposeful activity etc. Montessori system of education focuses on free activity within a “prepared environment”, in other words, an environment tailored specifically for basic human wants and needs, and those of children at different ages, not forgetting the individual personalities the children possess. The sole purpose of the environment is to help and allow the child to develop independence in every term according to his or her inner psychological potential.

Focussing the impact of this system on India, our country was one of the first few countries to see the propagation and implementation of this system. The Indian Montessori Organisation is one such initiative taken up by the Indian officials in expanding awareness about the Montessori philosophy in the Indian educational system. Click here to see some of the preschools that have successfully adopted the Montessori system of education.

And therefore, with the introduction of the newly implemented ECCE policy, the Indian pre-primary education has made a significant progress, which has its focus upon early childhood education and its importance in the development process of a child. When focussing upon India, there are many centres and institutes offering courses to train educators in the Montessori system of education.

While discussing the impacts and issues related to this system of education, let us first discuss and know the importance of this system. The Montessori System of Education is known to be the most scientifically advanced, comprehensive in nature, and an efficient and effective humane system of early childhood education and development.

Montessori system of education helps in guiding children in their day to day activities by trained Adults. These trained adults are basically individuals who are trained in the Montessori ideology, playing an extremely vital role in the development process of a child’s personality and intellectual upliftment. This method effectively portrays the issue of building self-confidence of a child. As it is an extremely known and important fact that self-confidence is something which should be inculcated within a child early in life.

Make Children Aware About Child Sexual Abuse

Child Abuse fact-1

Child sexual abuse is a topic, which is rarely discussed in the public domain, until a major controversy breaks through. Often, we find it morally difficult to talk about cases of child sexual abuse, even though, India witnesses a case every 10 minutes. It is ever so difficult for parents to acknowledge the travesty affecting their children. The fact is, each day, parents worry for their child’s safety, however, eight out of ten find it difficult or frivolous to talk to their children about this great travesty.

Many find it unnecessary to discuss the menace with their child or to make them aware about the “good touches” and the ‘bad ones’. Besides that, a parent cannot be present physically with their child 24*7, therefore, it is hugely important that the child is made aware about their body parts and how to deal with the unforeseen circumstances. Ever since I started writing professionally, Child sexual abuse is a topic that I really wanted to express my views upon. However, what I realised with time is that most parents found this topic unnecessary and lame. But the recent events of sexual offences against the three and four year olds, have changed the overall scenario and the time is ripe to talk about the growing ‘pest’. Hence, I realized it’s time that parents should realise the importance of educating their child about the Do’s and Don’ts. Also, schools should play a prominent role in making children aware about themselves. (Click here to read why it is important to include sex education in schools.)

Easy said than done…

child sexual abuse

Yes, it will be foolish and unpractical to talk straight about it with children. Also, there are chances that your child may choose to ignore it or may find it incredibly difficult to deal with it. Therefore, going indirect is the right way to make your child aware about the child sexual abuse.

1) Make Children aware about their Body parts

A child, who is in the age group of 3-4, more often than not, is aware about their body parts like hands, legs, face, etc. However, what they aren’t familiar with are the genital organs, which should not be touched by people other than their parents. Now, there are two ways of educating them about this.

  1. Talk straight: You can teach your child that they shouldn’t allow anyone except mom and dad to touch these parts.
  2. Indirect approach: Tell them a story relating to their favourite cartoon and how the protagonist never allowed anyone except the mom or the dad to touch these private body parts.

The most important point, however, is to repeat this process with your child, at least once in a week. Children, at a tender age, lack the long lasting memory of adults and tend to forget things. Therefore, it is important that these facets are taught to them regularly so as to inculcate these as a life long habit.

2)Difference between “Good touch” and “bad touch”

The second part of the child sexual abuse prevention is to make children understand the difference between a friendly touch (good touch) and a bad touch. This has to be taught with a lot of caution as this could also backfire, as a child may regard a friendly poke as a bad touch, therefore necessitating a lot of thoughtfulness. In our ‘friendly’ society, it is very common for people to touch and kiss children, and rarely would a parent discourage such an approach towards their child. Some examples of a bad touch can be a long rub on the back or a pinch anywhere or even a prolonged cheek pulling followed by a lot of touches.

Parents could play a game where each bad touch could be marked with a sad sticker, and a good touch be marked as a laughing smiley. This would, in a friendly way, educate a child the difference between a good and a bad touch.


It is imperative to keep children motivated and focused enough to play this game often. Again, we have to repeat and talk about it again and again for them to remember it.

It may take some time for the kids to understand and comprehend any of this at all.

I wish all parents realize the prominence of talking about child sexual abuse at an early age (I wish we didn’t have to but we need to) and continue talking about it for many more years till they are old enough to clearly understand it.

Teaching children with Interaction

Theoretically, at the time of their birth, a child knows absolutely nothing. Apart from a survival instinct, which is apparently one of the best gifts imbed upon each one of us by the almighty, children are a blank slate – waiting to be written. Though, however overwhelming it might sound, but the fact is everything our child will learn will be from what we teach. Moreover, the truth is, the learning cycle is never-ending as there are a plethora of opportunities to learn from. Starting from the toys and music which surround a child since their birth to development of different parts of their brains. One cannot hide from the fact that a parent is child’s one of the primary teachers. It’s a responsibility which one cannot run away from and has to be fulfilled with utmost consideration.

One thing that I have experienced over the years is that to make a child familiar with various concepts and intricacies of the subject, they have to be involved with in lessons. Learning, or for that matter almost any activity, should be interactive. For instance, teaching a child how to kick a ball requires a primary effort from the parent where they initiate by kicking the ball themselves, or developing a child’s reading habit can only be nurtured by parents constantly reading out a story to their children.

Learning a second language – in this global world, where children are always competing with each other to learn new skills – is always beneficial for a child. In addition to that, with more youngsters choosing to study abroad, learning a second language will always be advantageous for them in the latter stages of their career. It is not to say that these things are easy for parents to adjust to, however, if they have the zeal to teach their child, any effort won’t go wasted. And, it is still a parent’s responsibility and job to find a way for their child to interactively learn new language.

In early childhood settings, each moment that parents and children interact with one another is an opportunity to develop positive relationships. Parents can use a variety of strategies to build positive relationships with children. Actions such as listening to children, making eye contact with them, and engaging in many one-to-one, face-to-face interactions with young children promotes secure parent-child relationship. Talking to children using pleasant, calm voices and simple language, and greeting children warmly when they arrive help establish secure relationships between parents and a child. It is paramount for parents to use developmentally and exclusive strategies that take into consideration children’s differing needs, interests, styles, and abilities. For instance, with infants and toddlers, by responding to their cries or other signs of distress, parents let children know they care about them, and are always there to support them.


For parents, teaching children with interaction and everything they need to be prepared for their own life, is a big responsibility and one to be taken very seriously. We have to take that and do all we can to teach our child as much as possible. Each day comes in with its own set of challenges but the sight of our child succeeding in life or comprehensively learning a new skill is a feeling not to be undermined by any individual.

Make Rejection work for you

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In the past year I’ve built up a long list of freelance writing gigs, and over the course of time I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve also had a lot of edits, moderation and yes, Rejections too! My most recent rejection, if I remember correctly, was an article I had written for my website. My editor decided the article wasn’t good enough to be uploaded on the website but suggested me to use it elsewhere. I got very embarrassed and heartbroken at first.

I thought, “If the piece of writing wasn’t good for him, maybe it just wasn’t enough, period”.

However, with work on my personal site backlogged thanks to my extensive work hours and deadlines, I decided to risk publishing the rejected piece on my website and went ahead with the idea.

The result? A few days later, it showed up on one of my favourite sites and after that I was on cloud nine when I saw it being shared on various social networking sites, newsletters, and finally which brought a lot of traffic to my site bringing me fame and making me popular and (my editor extremely subdued ‘pun intended’).

In short, a piece I had thought of throwing away due to one rejection became one of my most valuable contributions to my website and brought me a lot of appreciation.

Rejection Isn’t Failure

In both my freelance writing and my job, I hear a lot of, “you aren’t writing the ultimate article”. Frankly, I think everyone hears it while either interviewing for jobs or putting them in a position to seize new opportunities. It is not easy when faced with that much rejection, in such a vulnerable state.

But ‘no’ is not the end of the world. When you keep trying hard and are sometimes ready to alter your approach, you can create opportunities out of something passed on by others. In my case, I didn’t get approval of my editor for that article, but I did get innumerable website hits, many first time visitors, and appreciation from new followers (most importantly).

 Rejection is a Building Block

 I often get asked how I’ve been so fortunate in accumulating so many ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’ and building a regular audience for my site. I honestly believe it all comes down to the fact that I accept rejection not as a failure but as an opportunity to alter my approach and adopt a new perspective. The catch is that you have to keep making that final effort of trying to innovate and improve your work style. “An editor” or “a boss” cannot and should not become a block in your pursuit of perfection.

Curbing Child Labour

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Child labour is an issue that affects children and deprives them of their fundamental right to education. Even after 65 years of independence, every day, millions of children are forced to work in hazardous, illegal, and exploitative conditions, which apart from posing a danger to their health, also hamper their growth. Moreover, it is in direct conflict with the right to education law, which is the backbone of the Indian education system. Although it is illegal to force a child to work, however, many flout this law continuously. Our society is equally responsible for this, as we choose to ignore this problem because it does not affect our own children. As with any social menace, child labour suffers from poverty and illiteracy, the two major reasons, which force families below poverty line and compel their child to work. Of an estimated 215 child labourers around the globe: approximately 114 million (53%) are in Asia and the Pacific; 14 million (7%) live in Latin America; and 65 million (30%) live in sub-Saharan Africa[1]. In the least developed countries, nearly one in four children (ages 4 to 15) are engaged in labour that is considered detrimental to their health and development. In the world’s poorest countries, nearly one in four children are engaged in work that is potentially harmful to their health[2].

Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on DHS, MICS and other nationally representative surveys, 2005─2012.

Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on DHS, MICS and other nationally representative surveys, 2005─2012.

We, as a society, have to play a major role to curb this menace by performing our moral and social responsibilities, for instance, one could start by not employing children as domestic help. Cases of child labour should be reported to the concerned agencies and strict action should be taken against offenders. People can form welfare groups to both spread awareness about the importance of child education and also encourage people below the poverty line not to send their child to work. Affluent sections of our society should come out and actively support this cause by providing food and shelter to children, also reporting cases of child labour to the concerned authorities is another strong measure against this lethal menace. An evening class program can be started in localities where poor children from nearby areas are taught free of cost; this helps people who cannot afford to send their children to school because of lack of resources. Boycotting both child-manufactured goods and the people who employ them can force them to change. The Government has to introduce model programs in coordination with various NGOs to empower weaker sections and spread awareness. License of industries employing child labour should be cancelled.


Children are a beacon of innocence and purity and they should be given an equal opportunity to build their future. Sustainable living for all can be achieved only when each one of us contributes for the welfare of society. If we work together diligently, we can overcome this problem. India will truly become a force to reckon with when every child is provided with an equal opportunity to succeed.

[1] http://data.unicef.org/child-protection/child-labour

[2] http://data.unicef.org/child-protection/child-labour#sthash.jweB8x0g.dpuf

Importance of Preschool

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Many parents ponder over the pros and cons of putting their children in preschools and think about what their children will learn by getting into one. The worries are endless and the increasing cost of education is not helping the cause in any way. Ironically many parents forget the importance of the preschool years in shaping the overall psyche of the child, they believe a child can learn more by staying at home.

Personality Development.

The advent of society led to the evolution of human beings to a superior species; they said our forefathers appeared more like monkeys than human. But with adaptation and evolution and advent of society, we learned to live in harmony, help each other and work towards the betterment of society. Later, education became the tool for change and helped us evolve into something more substantial and helped us in adapting to countless surroundings and circumstances. We learned through imitation in our quest to better ourselves. The race to achieve and outscore each other led to improvement of our skills and instincts.

Similarly, for young budding children, preschool is an organised environment where their skills are developed and a strong base for their future growth years is laid. Children continuously learn from their surroundings, and not just the rhymes or alphabets or the tables, which we expect them to memorise by heart and recite boastfully in front of guests, but the actual essence of life, to discover their hobbies and interests. Also, a child develops the pace of learning and interests, learns to control emotions, discovers confidence and a never say no attitude. And a preschool is a perfect environment for a child to learn.  A preschool is a perfect place to improve the cognitive, motor, emotional, intellectual development of a child. Yes it is well known fact that home is where a child learns his basic skills, however, a school is the place where the child learns to control the instincts and behaviour with peers and develops his social skill.

The brain is a fascinating chip, the more info you feed the better it becomes, one can train the brain to be happy, curious, excited, and positive but again in a systematic way. The inputs help to start a positive chain of development from a young age, and a preschool plays an important role in this. It starts with – preparing a child mentally to stay away from the families and learn to adapt amongst the strangers; it improves the emotional development. The good behaviour which a child learns from the preschool years makes them socially responsible and ultimately helps them in leading a good life.

Cognition Development

It is a scientifically proven fact that our brains are developed almost 85% by the time we get to the age of five, coupled with bizzare questions from a child which include a diverse range of topics and taking them as different lines in grey matter. These are the base for their future development and thinking process. In preschools, children are made familiar with systematic data through visual, oral, and experimental means, thus helping them in development of key brain areas. If implemented in true spirit, the teaching methods coupled with a skilled teacher brings a long lasting and carefree learning experience for the children.


The delay in realising the importance of preschool years can push a child behind by a few years in comparison to their peers. Under the guidance of a trained preschool teacher, a child’s emotional control, basic instincts, and inhibitions and fears can be controlled. In case of children, the time span of attention is critical because of their lack of cognitive skills and meandering nature. School can be a perfect environment of change where a trained teacher can create miracles by appealing the attention of the kids. With growing age, a child’s attention span also increases proportionally, therefore a teacher has be creative and innovate new teaching skills to provide an enriching as well as stimulating environment; which again highlights the importance of a preschool as a learning centre.

Technology and Therapy

bigstock-Technology-and-medicine-Stet-26473718Imagine yourself living in the Stone Age; with no access to your mobile or laptop or for that matter even your fancy car. Difficult, isn’t it? To say our lives are dependent upon the new age tools and technologies would be a gross understatement. With passing years, science has made tremendous progress; with inventions leading to accessible tools which have ultimately shaped our lives. The field of speech and language therapy is no different. Communication skills are the base of the human relationship; we use various forms of speech to communicate, share emotions. But technology is playing a major role in new discoveries. Many ailments, which in past were considered beyond human control can now be easily cured. Let’s look at three major discoveries in speech and language therapy.

Robots & autistic Children

Gone are the days when robots were only used for tasks like moving objects or in operation theatres or in the ‘infamous’ Hollywood blockbuster series – Transformers. Scientists have successfully been able to develop robots who can be talked to or tickled with by children. One example of it is Kasper, developed by the researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, it can be used by doctors to detect autism in infants. Earlier, detecting autism in initial stages was extraordinarily difficult as it could only be detected by monitoring a child’s social skills like interaction with his surrounding, which develop only after a certain age; thus leading to delay in detection. But with advent of Kasper, things have changed for the good.

This robot can be used to detect autism in the initial stages as it detects symptoms through nonverbal communication like body movements and facial expressions. Also, Kasper can be a good motivation for children as the robot is child friendly and plays the role of a companion effectively.

Patients with chronic speech impairments

Until few years ago, the capacity to be able to interact or to express themselves was a distant reality. For instance, for stroke victims, loss of speech can be a common and deliberating consequence. However, recent developments in form of a new computerized treatment, which helps patients in gradually rebuilding speech has allowed the patients to be able to speak again. The technology is effectively used by doctors to give high-intensity stimulation through images to patients with high stroke and brain damage. And the results have been phenomenal, as doctors were able to improve the damaged nerve systems and enable such patients to speak again. For some, this may be “the usual science geeky stuff”, but for those who suffer from such ailments, this is nothing short of a miracle.

Speech Recognition

When we pay attention to speech, we are exceptionally forgiving: we can efficiently figure out words against the engine noise or the sound of colliding waves; filter out a particular voice amidst the uproar of an unruly crowd; handle unfamiliar accents, or make out the emotion in a speech. Though breakthroughs have been made both in speech synthesis and speech recognition technology in recent years, however, machines are still long behind when compared to the human ability of catching up or interacting fast and naturally; continually adapting and learning as we do so. But the researchers at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Sheffield have accomplished this feat too. They have been able to develop a machine which is able to make speech technologies more usable and natural by shrinking the performance gap between machine and humans. Now imagine the next time you speak amidst an unruly crowd and a computer being effectively able to decipher your words and pass on the message or the voice assistant in your smartphone being able to decipher your commands even in a crowded field.

Apart from being revolutionary, these developments have been able to fundamentally alter our lifestyle. Technology, apart from bridging the divide is also positively impacting the medical science. Diseases which in past, posed phenomenal challenges can now be easily diagnosed. Doctors sitting thousands of miles away can conduct complex surgeries using these discoveries. I wonder if there ever was a more effective tool than technology!

 

Children and Pets

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Whether it is playing with a pooch or getting a kitty, there is no doubt that the elation and love a pet brings to a family is unfathomable. A house is not a home without a pet and I can give you umpteen reasons to validate my claim. Having a pet is usually a rite of childhood. Almost every child you come across would want to have a pet in their family. Whether it is a fish or cat or dog or horse might depend on the personal discretion but every pet brings with them a whole lot of advantages – love, care, attention, cognitive development, and health benefits are a few to name with. The biggest advantage of raising a pet is the fact that they accept us for who we actually are. Many studies can validate the point that raising a pet can be beneficial for a child, especially for those who do not have any siblings, as pets, and moreover dogs, can easily understand the human emotion. It has been found that children respond positively to a pet and can easily confide in them. The worry for many parents today is the inclination of their children towards computer games and gadgets, therefore bringing home a pet can spur a child to be more physically active.

Benefits of Pets

Mood and Health

It’s a whole lot of fun to play with pets; they are able to successfully motivate even the most lethargic children to become more proactive. Owning a pet is the best way to move children away from computer games and helping them to achieve physical fitness. All children have a basic “need of touching” and pets successfully fulfill it. Simple activities like – walking your pet, feeding them, or playing with them is a great beginning to get away from sedentary indoor activities.

Not only kids but pets have a positive impact on the lifestyles of adults as they become less prone to ‘modern’ alienations like depression, hypertension, and anxiety. Pets elevate levels of – Serotonin & dopamine – the enzymes responsible for controlling our mood swings, thus making people around them more calm and composed.

Emotional & Cognitive

Pets can facilitate self-esteem and a sense of responsibility as they are a good vehicle for learning; activities like: feeding a pet and taking them out for walk are all part of the learning curve where a child learns to become more responsible and assertive. Pets are wonderful social facilitators making children more interactive. Children are more likely to interacting with kids playing with pets, therefore a pet can successfully become a link between a less social child and other potential playmates.

Encouraging children to read more about their beloved pet can make them more aware about its needs, therefore influencing the cognitive development of a child. For instance – If your child’s desired pet is a horse but you live in a small apartment; encouraging your child to research horses anyway can help them in understanding your reasons for not owning the pet of their choice and nonetheless, the reading experience will be valuable to them anyway.


Apart from the fact that pets are fun to be with, bringing a pet home is a commitment not for a child but the parents. Every pet has to be nurtured with love, care, and affection. Owning a pet is beneficial and comforting only for those who appreciate and love domestic animals and have the money and time to raise them like their own. However, once that commitment has been made and a suitable pet has been found, the joys and benefits of the human-pet relationship, will help in forming a strong bond between the two, lasting for many years.