Wednesday, May 28, 2008
First Posted 13:39:00 05/27/2008
Parents of children 7 years old and below are invited to join the Oneworld Montessori in a seminar on Montessori Education on May 31 at 2:30 p.m.
The resource speaker is Jocelyn Kintanar, Ph.D., the founding president of the Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines.
The seminar will give the participants an overview of the Montessori approach.
Oneworld Montessori is located at 145 Salvador Extension, Banawan, Cebu City. To sign up for this free seminar, call 2533191 or 4185115 or log on to www.oneworldcebu.com.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
by Jocelyn C. Kintanar, Ph.D.
President, Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines
The decision of the Cebu City government and the Department of Education to train more than 200 of their pre-school teachers and day care workers on the Montessori approach of teaching young children was a step in the right direction. Contrary to the common belief, the preschool education and not the university studies are the most important years in a person’s life. Investing resources in training these teachers and day care workers is money well spent and will go a long way towards improving literacy, particularly among the underprivileged children.
The greatest realization expressed by most participants who attended the Montessori training program at Oneworld Montessori House was the importance of movement and freedom in fostering the child’s intellectual development, following the child’s natural tendencies and interests and letting the child “paddle his own canoe”.
In her book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, Dr. Angelina Stoll Lillard, expressed her belief that the “traditional American schooling is in constant crisis because it is based on two poor models for children’s learning: the school as a factory and the child as a blank slate”. Further, she said that “school reforms repeatedly fail by not penetrating these models.”
Not too long ago, the Sec. of Education, Jesli Lapus, admitted that the Philippine educational system, which is patterned after that of the United States, is in a “very bad shape”. He pointed out that “the quality of education in the country has sunk to its lowest level” and that “the problem is systematic”. An “intervention” during the formative years could be a solution to the problem, he said. The need for retraining of teachers, particularly in English proficiency, “to arrest the declining quality of education in schools” cannot be overemphasized.
Is it possible that the traditional way of treating the child has negatively influenced the learning outcomes? Yes, it is. When teachers were asked on their perceptions of the child, it was surprising that most of them still regard the child as a “tabula rasa” or a blank slate. This philosophical view was advocated by the English philosopher John Locke at the end of the seventeenth century. Perceiving the child as an empty vessel or a blank slate has many implications for schooling, according to Lillard. If the child’s mind is empty, the teacher is obliged to pour knowledge. She does not need to involve the child actively in the learning process because “empty vessels are passive by nature”. Yet, children learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process.
In the traditional classroom, it is common to see children sitting down for several hours while listening to the teacher standing at the blackboard and imparting her knowledge. Most often, the teacher fails to consider the interests, the learning style and learning pace of the child. Being empty vessels, “there is nothing in them from which interests could stem”.
Further, children are not allowed to make choices and decide for themselves. Teachers and School Administrators choose what should be learned. “People fare better when they can make choices about their lives and environments, not when others have all the control. Traditional schooling does not allow children this control”.
In a Montessori classroom, according to Lillard, “ the child decides what to do when, within limits of what is constructive for the child and good for society. Allowing children this freedom gives them experience in making choices, an important skill for life.”
Dr. Maria Montessori described the child as having an “absorbent mind” and that he has the innate ability to acquire knowledge effortlessly given the “prepared environment”. She developed a “system that worked well with children, rather than against them”. She was a strong believer of Aristotle’s philosophy that “Nothing exists in the intellect which does not first exist in the senses”. Lillard indicated in her book that research findings today have largely upheld Montessori’s major ideas on teaching young children based on her empirical observations.
(For more information about Montessori Education, the writer can be reached at Oneworld Montessori House Tel. No. 253-3191 or visit www.oneworldcebu.com)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Montessorians also gave workshops to pre-school, elementary teachers from public schools
Hoping to improve the educational system in the city's public schools, the Cebu City Government, the Department of Education and the Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines (AMSP) are joining hands to train preschool, daycare and elementary teachers.
Around 60 preschool, day care and elementary school teachers gathered for a 10-day workshop starting last week at the Oneworld Montessori House along Salvador Extension in Banawa, Cebu City.
The seminar/workshop trains the teachers about the Montessori education so they can apply this when classes resume in June.
Handling the seminar/workshop are teachers from Oneworld Montessori House.
The activity is one of the recommendations that Dr. Jocelyn Kintanar, Oneworld administrator and AMSP president, included in her proposal to DepEd and the City Government on how to improve public education in the city.
After submitting the proposal to DepEd and the City, Kintanar sat down with Joy Augustus Young, Cebu City's consultant on education, and DepEd officials to discuss how to go about implementing her recommendations.
The present batch of participants is only part of the projected 290 teachers who will benefit from the program, said Kintanar.
Kintanar said she came up with the idea after noticing that something is lacking in the mainstream educational system.
She said the Montessori method could be a viable alternative to improving literacy of children.
Like all Montessori schools worldwide, Oneworld aims to promote the total development of the child through parent-teacher partnership.
It strives for a holistic development of the child by seeing to his cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual growth.
"We look at the child individually. We respect each child's learning pace and learning style. We implement individualized instruction," Kintanar said.
There are many other things the public school teachers can learn from the Montessori method, she said. This includes mixed age grouping in class; a hands-on learning instead of the textbook approach; the teacher not as center of attraction in the classroom but as a "guide" or "facilitator" only, and many more.
ONEWORLD Website http://www.oneworldcebu.com
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
By J.C. Kintanar, Ph.D.
While a lot of people have heard about the Montessori method of educating children, not too many fully understand what it is. In an interview made by Barbara Walters in the ABC-TV Special "The Most Fascinating People of 2004," the two founders of very popular Internet search engine Google.com, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, admitted that their Montessori education was an important factor in their success.
Montessori education "has allowed them to learn to think for themselves and gave them freedom to pursue their own interests." Since then, a lot of televiewers started to get curious about Montessori education. What is it?
Dr. Maria Montessori, the first Italian lady physician, established her revolutionary method of teaching in 1907. Taking full advantage of the child's innate desire to learn, her approach was based on scientific observations of children from different countries and cultures.
She observed that children have an "absorbent mind" and thus, have the ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings "almost effortlessly," somewhat contrary to the traditional concept of a child being "tabula rasa" upon which knowledge is impressed. Much of the system of education-obtaining today, which emphasizes rote learning, spoonfeeding and teacher-oriented curriculum, derives from this view of the mind as being a blank tablet.
So, how does a Montessori school differ from a traditional school? Even a casual observer will notice a different classroom environment in which the rooms are divided into curriculum areas filled with instructional materials easily accessible to the pupils for them to manipulate and experiment on with much freedom. Most of these materials have built-in "control of error" features enabling the child to self-correct with little adult intervention.
In a Montessori school, the education of movement and of character comes before the education of the mind. Children are taught how to take care of themselves, their environment and each other. The child progresses at his own pace and rhythm.
Several studies in different countries have been conducted on the effects of Montessori education. Among the salient findings were: (a) Montessori children were more creative and kept things in order; (b) Children did better in mathematics when they used didactic materials; (c) The Montessori method is a favorable prerequisite for language development; (d) Children developed positive attitude towards school and learning; (e) Children concentrated and cooperated better than those without Montessori experience; (f) Montessori children were more independent.
The researchers concluded that the Montessori method of education has a positive long-term impact on children.
Today, there are more than 7,000 Montessori schools established worldwide. Most of the Montessori schools in the Philippines operate in Metro Manila. Not too many of these type of schools are in the Visayas and Mindanao, although many traditional schools have integrated some features of the Montessori education into their curriculum.
There is a common misconception that a Montessori school is for the elite. While the Montessori method is more demanding in terms of teacher-student ratio and instructional facilities, it need not be overly expensive in the Philippines where personnel cost is way below compared with the foreign counterpart. Many Montessori schools in the Philippines and Cebu, in particular, have a large base of middle-income families as their clientele.
For more information about the Montessori education, the following websites may be visited: www.montessori.org or www.montessori-ami.org or www.montessori.edu.
The writer, who is the president of the Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines, will be pleased to receive inquiries about the subject matter at her office at Oneworld Montessori House on Salvador ext., Banawa, tel. nos. 253-3191 or 418-5552.
Friday, February 29, 2008
THE Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines, in cooperation with Oneworld Montessori House, held an intensive two-week training program in Lower Elementary Montessori .
The training was supported by the Australian Business Volunteers.
After the Montessori training, the association plans to send qualified Montessori administrators and teachers to Australia to participate in a month-long trainers’ training program.
With the increasing number of schools implementing the Montessori approach, the trainers’ training program is deemed necessary to meet the increasing demand for qualified Montessori teachers, the group said in a statement.
The training program’s resource speaker, Elizabeth Alcorn, is an active leader in the Montessori movement in New Zealand and Australia.
She was an educational consultant and educational director of Montessori World Educational Institute for 25 years.
She has traveled to different parts of the world to give Montessori training and to attend conferences.
She has written several study guides and Montessori curriculum manuals.
Alcorn trained under Margaret Homfray and Phoebe Child who were appointed by Dr. Maria Montessori to run the Montessori Training Center in London from 1946 and onwards.
She helped organize summer courses in Montessori Education in New Zealand and Australia conducted by her two mentors.
Along with Helen Wheatley, the principal of St. Nicholas in London, she was designated by Homfray to continue the work she had inherited from Dr. Montessori.
For inquiries about Montessori education, one may call Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines Inc. president Jocelyn Kintanar at 253-3191.
Picture above: Montessorians with the Australian Educational Consultant, Elizabeth Alcorn, during the Montessori Training held at Oneworld Montessori House from May 28 to June 9, 2007
Who is to blame? Many sectors would automatically point their fingers at the educators, teachers and the government. The educators are blamed for designing a curriculum which may not be fully responsive to the needs of the schoolchildren while many teachers are criticized for lack of competence and inadequate educational preparation. On the other hand, the government gets most of the blame for its perceived lack of commitment to support public education as reflected in its meager budgetary allocation. With a burgeoning fiscal deficit, education appears to be relegated to the bottom of the ladder.
Is there anything that Filipino families can do? Absolutely, yes! Parents can get actively involved in the education of their own children. Lack of parental involvement is a key factor in the children’s low achievement level. Parents themselves have a lot to answer for the lamentable situation, exacerbated by the technological advances that, while immensely useful in enhancing the economic pursuit and contributing much for the enjoyment of life, have also diverted the attention of children in their quest for basic education.
While it is true that the teacher’s main responsibility is to facilitate the education of the schoolchildren, teaching is not an exclusive function of schools. Parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers. They play an active part in their children’s learning experience.
Many studies indicate that active parental involvement serves to enhance children’s self-esteem and motivation to learn. Children whose parents were actively involved in their children’s education were observed to perform better in school than those children without parental involvement.
Early childhood is a very special time of life. It is a time when the child starts to develop his own personality and form his habits. Parents, therefore, play a critical role of guiding their children since they are vulnerable and impressionable. Most young children are not yet capable of discriminating right from wrong. How then can parents assist their children become literate and improve their academic performance?
One of the many things that parents can do to achieve these goals is for them to get actively involved in the education of their children. For instance, parents can regulate habitual television viewing of their children. Several scientific research studies have been undertaken to determine the effects of television on children. According to researchers, there are more negative effects of habitual television viewing on young children than there are positive ones.
Researchers have concluded that habitual television viewing affects both reading ability and attentiveness of children. They have observed that the decrease in both is associated with the frequency of television viewing. Likewise, they have concluded that when children watch television, they are not reading. They noted that children who spend more time watching television tend to be less attentive and develop reading difficulties. Children’s inattentiveness, according to researchers, may be partly attributed to the “quick, slick, snappy format of television”.
Studies likewise indicate that a child watching television expects to see new images and pictures, and hear sounds every few seconds. When this does not happen in the classroom, the child tends to be restless and look for “new, faster-paced stimuli”.
Jocelyn C. Kintanar, Ph.D.
Contrary to what many parents believe, the most important years of a child’s education are the first six years of life not, high school or college. A famous Italian physician turned educator, Maria Montessori, believed that the first six years of life are critical years because these are the formative years of the child both physically and mentally. The child’s early education will largely determine the kind of person he will become. Thus, it is important for parents to find the best school for the child.
What should parents look for when visiting schools? Parents need to visit as many schools as their time allows them to find the best fit for their child. They should not be tempted to enroll their child in a school without visiting the classrooms or observing how teachers relate to the child. It is best for them to ask permission from the principal and watch the children at work.
Here are some tips to spot a good school for your child:
Classrooms are warm and inviting.
Classrooms are filled with a wide range of interesting, attractive learning materials which stimulate the children’s desire to learn and develop creativity.
Learning materials are placed in shelves which the children can easily reach.
Emphasis is placed on children’s learning rather than teacher’s teaching.
Emphasis is placed on the formation of wholesome values.
Adequate space where the child can run and play with other children.
Offers a balance between indoor and outdoor activities which are exciting and fun, “not demanding and stressful in the name of high standards”.
Teachers are good role models, caring, competent, patient and not condescending.
Children are given adequate exposure to arts and music.
Children are exposed to practical life activities thus allowing them to develop independence and autonomy.
After visiting the schools, both parents must jointly decide which school fits the kind of education they want for their child. As one American educator says “No one educational approach will be right for all children. Ideally, parents should seek out the best, not only between their child and a particular school, but also between their family’s values and goals… “
Find a school that does not compel the child to do something which is not developmentally appropriate for according to Plato “knowledge acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind…let early education be rather sort of amusement; this will better enable you to find the natural bent of the child”.
So, parents keep this in mind. Do not place the education of your child to chance. Find a school that best fits your child. Keep your child in a school where he is happy and successful. Remember that children exposed to one consistent educational approach tend to benefit more over the long run than those children who have gone to several schools.