The latest contemporary stop for kinaesthetic learning for school children, SPK Jain Futuristic Academy, held a panel talk on ‘Parenting Challenges in Today’s Global Village’ on December 17, in association with The Telegraph. The keynote speaker for this event, Ramya Sridhar, Association Montessori Internationale Primary Trainer, conducted an interactive session with the audience on the Montessori method of learning and various issues regarding parenting.
Sridhar talked about their maxim, which is to help and support a child’s holistic growth. She opened the talk with a brief history of the Montessori system and how it came into play in India and moved to talk about the methodology and style of learning. Ramya spoke about the cosmic education style and said that the system believes “education is not just about passing exams but how good of an individual are you”. An expert in the elementary program, she talked about the environment kids are put in. A classroom with mixed ages (from age three to six), which she termed a “mini-society”, prepares the children to go into the world with a better perspective.
She said, “Children under the age of six create their personalities, create who they are. Parents and the immediate family can only provide the right surroundings and raw materials for their growth, but the children will learn according to their inner timetable always.” Further, Sridhar discussed about the materials used in the Montessori system, that are aids for education in a prepared environment, which is made to suit one’s needs and development and to facilitate growth. The teachers in this system follow the child’s actions; they observe them and cater to their needs; their principal goal is to lead by example and show in action rather than say it.
While talking with parents in the audience, she focused on — making children independent from the primary age, allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them, appreciating their hard work rather than the materialistic prizes, saying ‘no’ when it is required, and letting the children follow their own pace in learning.
Darshan Mutha, the founder of SPK Jain Futuristic Academy, spoke about how the new institute is distinct. He said, “The biggest change is the infrastructure; the entire school comes with centralised air-conditioning and is equipped with a prepared environment according to the Montessori method of learning, everything is made accessible for the children.” The materials are hands-on learning tools for children to use in their activities. On being asked about teachers, Darshan said, “Every teacher has to go through the special training sessions apart from the mandatory educational training like B.Ed., which will empower them to understand their students better, and instead of one teacher being assigned with one class or subject for a year, every teacher will be with one class for three years, which makes them even more responsible.”
Lastly, he talked about the safety of the children; the campus will have a security team and sufficient CCTVs along with motion-sensing cameras. He also spoke about the need for having annual sessions with teachers and parents on the prevention of sexual violence against children. Darshan said that the change in the style of education would receive mixed reactions initially but highlighted how each method is backed up by years of research and tests, and the best proof is the countless success stories around the world who benefitted from this pedagogy of learning.