Since the outbreak of the pandemic 18 months ago and the need for schools to move to virtual learning, there has been a growing realisation of the need to improve the mental health and well-being of children. This has been readily accepted by the majority of mainstream schools with many different initiatives having all ready been put in place ready for the start of the new academic year.
Whilst it has always been the case that pastoral care has been available, it has to be wondered, given the tight time restraints imposed by following academically driven curriculums, how these additional measures will prove effective and also of their longevity once the world eventually returns to normal. The mental health and well-being of children has always been an important part of Montessori not as some bolt-on to a standardised curriculum but as an integral part of this world renowned pedagogy. Different to mainstream education which typically promotes a high pressure, examination fuelled environment, children are instead allowed to develop at their own pace not only to obtain the best possible academic qualifications but also to develop personally, socially and emotionally. There are no tests or examinations in the earlier years and where homework is strictly kept to a daily reading book and weekly spellings. We consider children should instead be allowed to play, spend quality family time and follow an interest that they enjoy. Students are not confined to sitting at a desk, in a square box all day following a rigid prescribed timetable but are allowed instead to move around, to choose their own learning within limits and to work in different areas of the school including outside following their individualised learning plan. Different to ordinary schools, there is no heavy reliance on text books and worksheets but were students enjoy hands-on learning using beautiful, natural materials and to acquire real life experiences through project based learning and enterprise. At mont21, the older students will have the option to take a brain break and spend time in the yoga hub or elsewhere in our natural environment readily accessed from all areas of the school. All students practice yoga and mindfulness as part of daily life.
It is this flexibility and self-discipline that Montessori students acquire that enables them to achieve the highest academic qualifications without damage to their mental health and wellbeing.
To find out more about how our forward thinking school could benefit your son or daughter, visit www.mont21school.org