We provide a very different learning style for children aged 5 years upwards compared to ordinary international and public schools. At the majority of schools, the way children learn has not dramatically changed for at least the last 50 years where the principal aim is the delivery of knowledge. This is achieved through an adult-lead approach where the teacher stands at the front of the class delivering standardised one-size-fits-all instruction over a set period of time (normally 40 minutes), reinforced through a mixture of note-taking, propriety textbooks or printed worksheets. The children are regularly tested to see how much knowledge they have memorised, assessed against pre-determined targets and test scores in preparation for their examinations for when they leave school. The difference at a Montessori school is that the emphasis is very much on the children learning for themselves rather than being merely receptors of subject content in accordance with a prescribed curriculum. It is considered essential for children to acquire a love of learning from an early age by providing a level of autonomy that would not normally be found in an ordinary school. However as it remains imperative for the children to achieve their maximum potential academically and to obtain excellent paper-based qualifications for when they leave school, there has to be a balance between a totally child-led learning environment and one which is adult-led as found in most schools. At Mont21 school, we achieve this through a carefully planned strategy where through the use of class timetables and dependent on the subject, there are different ways in which learning is accomplished. As an example, in respect of literacy and mathematics, these commence with a short period of direct classroom teaching followed by a longer period of time where the children work independently, collaboratively or in small breakout groups with the teacher/guide. The work is differentiated in accordance with each child's ability. They also have the freedom to work wherever they feel they can best concentrate either inside or in the outside environment but where the teacher is always available to help with questions on a one to one basis. This is further extended through the use of personalised work plans where learning is tailored to each child according to his/her stage of development and where they are responsible for self-assessing their own work and time management to ensure all items are completed by the end of the week. Through this flexible and real-life approach to academia, the children become highly motivated learners who excel beyond their normal years.
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