Different Nursery and Pre-School Philosophies – MontessoriTwinsplus Arabia
By Siog Moore , Registered Nurse, Early Years Development expert and co-owner and Manager of Little Land Nursery in Dubai.
How Montessori promotes the individuality of twins and multiples
Do you wonder if you should keep your twins together in nursery class or separate them? Do you worry that they will be expected to be able to do the same things as each other in school? Do you worry that the adults caring for them won’t understand that they are different even though they may be identical to look at or simply because they’re siblings born on the same day?Do you question how you can raise your children to reach their full potential?
To be born a twin or multiple is something so special that only the children themselves can understand. I would always keep twins under the age of four together because I believe that they are very much a part of each other’s growing up and lives so far. Starting nursery is a major event in itself without also separating the children from each other.
Every year in a child’s life will bring a new story and it may be appropriate at some stage to separate twins. Parents will usually have the best instinct about when or if that should happen.
In the Montessori environment we provide children with all the tools they need to develop their individual potential; socially, emotionally and cognitively to its maximum. We understand that each child is different, and we design and plan the Montessori class with this in mind. We provide age appropriate materials and, in line with the Montessori philosophy, the materials are all displayed at child height giving the children true ‘freedom of choice’ within the prepared environment. The materials are designed to allow for individual manipulation and exploration promoting the child’s love of learning. The children are shown how to manage their chosen space, so they are free to work/play by themselves or invite others to join in.
We have 6 areas in the Montessori classroom:
1. Practical life
Through observation the Montessori teacher sees what interests a child most and uses this to plan the next steps for the child. By doing this the child will feel that they are seen and valued, helping to promote their sense of self. In the same way that we feel good when someone does something special for us. For example: a child shows a real interest in animals, the teacher will provide activities, songs and books relating to animals in order to engage the child in fun (and learning) activities appropriate to their own developmental timeline.
Once the teacher has demonstrated to a child how to use a piece of Montessori material, she moves away to allow that child embark on their own learning journey. This can be for as long or as short a period as the child’s interest holds. The result is that the child feels good because they feel valued and they feel even better because they have enjoyed creating and achieving something new.
In the Montessori class there are multiple activities for the children to choose from. Children learn to become decisive by being encouraged to explore the classroom and choose their own activities. So if a child feels like reading, building, painting or working with the math equipment they chose to do it for as long as they feel like.
This is a wonderful opportunity for children to develop their independence. Teachers in primary school always comment that they like when they have new children from a Montessori nursery, because they can always keep themselves busy and know how to start, complete and leave an activity ready for the next child.
Montessori materials and activities increase in difficulty as the child progresses are designed to promote a child’s independence. There is generally only one of each material displayed on the shelves. This helps to foster patience, cooperation and a non-competitive classroom environment, invaluable life skills for home and life in general.
During a morning in nursery, each twin will usually choose a different activity and they will have different stories to share with their parents on the drive home or around the dinner table, even though they have spent the morning in the same classroom. Freedom of choice within the classroom also respects that each child has different energy levels and is able to focus at different moments`.
The Montessori teacher models respect for the individual personalities of the children by being non-judgemental and appreciating all children’s efforts. This is a very important practice as we all develop at different rates. A Montessori teacher will never compare one child’s abilities with another. They will comment only on what the specific child is doing at the time. The children are motivated by their behaviour and the work they do. For example, the Montessori teacher will say things like:
Good job Well DoneI see you worked hard at thatI’m here to help if you need me
They will NOT say:
Clever girl/boy Good girl/boy
Research has shown that when children are over-praised they feel reluctant to try new things for fear of failure.
As teachers, we cherish the uniqueness of each child and in order to help them reach their full potential, we provide an environment that is both challenging and nurturing.
Our success is measured when we see our children leaving nursery with the attitude:
“ I am ….I can…. and I do … “
If your nursery is one that we should be hearing about at TwinsPlus Arabia, please contact us to find out how!