Updated: May 21
In some areas of the educational world, it can sometimes be difficult to see how a pedagogy, developed over 100 years and the recent insurgence of AI, can still remain relevant in the 21st Century.
The fundamental principle of Montessori pedagogy is child-centred learning where every student is able, within certain parameters, to choose when and what subject he or she learns developing curiosity, interest and at a pace that suits them based on their own individual style and ability, from which they inherit a love of learning.
It is this sense of autonomy that children thrive not only academically but also personally, socially and emotionally that is so essential for them to develop into whom they will become in the future.
There are also other fundamental principles that Montessori has always been at the forefront for example, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, care of the natural environment and, from the fostering of kindness and empathy, promotion of peace.
It is through this long established holistic pedagogy that some innovative and forward thinking schools are now embracing especially with increasing use of digital applications and AI where the learning program can now be personally tailored for each child depending on their ability and interests.
This is very different to traditional mainstream education where children are segregated by age, are all directly taught the same content at the same time and with very little space in the daily timetable to foster both emotional intelligence, life skills and health and wellbeing that they will need in the future.
It is however accepted that the principal barrier to a child-centred, holistic education is the existence of a content heavy national curriculum with artificially imposed targets and expectations dictated by politicians whose primary aim still remains for every student to obtain a University degree for the overall economic benefit of the nation.
It is however hoped that with the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence and the corresponding need to foster essential human skills and competences, this will be the long awaited catalyst to change how we educate children for the 21st Century.