How is a Montessori School in Japan different from regular school?

With over 22,000 schools across the world, Montessori schools follow an education system backed by systematic methodologies. With the world having transformed so much over the past century, it goes without saying that our children … Read More

With over 22,000 schools across the world, Montessori schools follow an education system backed by systematic methodologies. With the world having transformed so much over the past century, it goes without saying that our children deserve the most enriching benefits of the advancements done in the field of imparting quality education. The Montessori school system of education has evolved through scientific studies and therefore makes it a choice of schooling definitely worth considering if you’re a parent looking to secure the best education that the country’s high-ranking schools have to offer. A lot of Tokyo international schools have been adapting this system of education for their students. 

An overview of the Montessori Method

A pioneer in children’s education, Maria Montessori was an Italian educator-cum-physician who held a PhD in Medicine. She staunchly believed that children have an inherent need to learn in order to develop themselves. This arises out of the child’s desire to craft themselves into the best version of an adult that they can be when they eventually grow up. She advocated that allowing a child to follow their natural trajectory of development is the key to ensuring that children realize their full potential. Her commitment to helping children improve their quality of education is the reason she dedicated a huge part of her life towards developing a new concept of learning in the early 1900s. She emphasised understanding the needs of every child and providing them with an engaging environment to shape their trajectory of growth upwards. 

How do Montessori schools adapt to the culture of imparting education in Japan?

Just as the study of arts is seen as an important part of our country’s culture, the Montessori method too, is focused on providing opportunities to learn that encourage children to think beyond the limits of conventional academic disciplines. It would not be considered out of the ordinary if children at a Montessori school are focused on painting or doodling at one moment and are then in the pursuit of sharpening their academic inclinations in another.

Principles that form the backbone of Montessori schooling

  1. Self-directed learning

When children enter the classroom in a Montessori school, they are free to choose what they want to work on for the day. While the scope of their work may be limited by the availability of the set of materials they can choose from, they are encouraged to follow their own path of self-discovery to learn to make their own decisions and be independent in thought.

  1. Customized curriculum

As each child learns to work independently in the classroom environment, the teachers comprehend the unique needs of all children and tweak the curriculum to help the children grow more efficiently.

  1. Learning along with peers 

As children in a Montessori school study with those who are slightly younger or older than them, the ones who are good at one objective can teach the method to those who are new. Such interactions develop social skills in children at a very early age.

  1. Freedom of movement

The relationship between improvement in cognition due to an optimal level of movement has been strongly supported through many scientific studies. At a Montessori school, children are free to move anywhere across the classroom and find places where their level of concentration also matches the level of their comfort.

  1. Non-traditional role of teachers

In the opinion of Maria Montessori, teachers would stand to improve the understanding of children if they simply provided the tools needed to acquire knowledge just at the right time the kids need them. Hence, teachers are often seen playing the role of guides as they have deep-seated conversations with the children on a one-on-one basis.

  1. Focus on holistic development

The flexible framework of a Montessori school aims to go beyond the scope of traditional subjects to ensure that the children’s emotional, mental, physical and spiritual, i.e, their overall well-being is looked after.

What sets apart Montessori Schools?

While a lot of classrooms in traditional forms of schooling focus on educating children by having them rely on listening to what the teacher has to say, the Montessori method encourages children to learn through practice. Contextual learning is an important aspect of the Montessori method of imparting knowledge. As they practice with the tools of knowledge provided to them at their own pace, children are able to master working with the tools in a way that ends up making their learning experience deeper and much more enriching. Thus, the materials in a Montessori classroom are also specifically designed to challenge the critical thinking abilities of children in an engaging manner. Furthermore, since the principle of self-directed learning is involved, children are allowed to spend as long as they want on mastering these concepts instead of having to stay limited to pre-defined time intervals.

Is there an enhanced method of schooling beyond the present system of Montessori schools?

The natural framework of education imbibed by the Montessori method is crafted such that it leads to the development of children to a point where they are several years ahead in their abilities to practise basic skills as compared to other children of the same age. 

That being said, the Global Indian International School in Tokyo, situated in the city of Tokyo, has amalgamated the original theories of Maria Montessori’s teaching principles with modern research and insights along with the latest innovative learning tools. Referred to as the Global Montessori Plus (GMP) program, this teaching methodology provides students of this Tokyo international school with immense scope to realise their potential and achieve significantly improved levels of development as they proceed through the program’s unique curriculum.


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