Montessori Schools are now approaching the second week of distance learning, having successfully adapted their unique teaching philosophy and instruction for internet access in record time in reaction to the closure of all schools as a result of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Pandemic.
Beginning earlier last week, Montessori’s 15 schools started providing at least two hours of live instruction through Zoom, covering core academic subjects such as reading, spelling, science and math, as well as specialised classes (e.g. yoga, music, painting and sign language). Live teaching is also complemented by a pre-recorded video library of academic lessons for infants, toddlers, pre-school and elementary students.
In addition to exercises and sports, Montessori has also developed instructional tools for use at home. Students aged four and up receive videos from instructors delivering guidance along with instructional workbooks that exercise the principles of the lesson. As an alternative outlet for caregivers, schools have now been holding support group phone calls for parents of babies and toddlers to address everyday struggles and brainstorm ideas.
Maria Montessori herself argued that schooling should be a versatile concept — one that is flexible and can be tailored to suit not just the needs of the infant, but also the constraints of the community. With the ongoing public health issue and subsequent school closing, you may be asking yourself whether or not Montessori should be learned online.
In short, the answer is ‘yes,’ so be supported. Montessori can be learned online, but there could be some hurdles to overcome if online learning is to be successful.
You may assume that nothing can override the role of a real teacher in a “real” learning environment, but the Montessori approach lends itself very well to distance learning. Here’s the reason:
Montessori encourages self-paced learning.
One of the drawbacks of online learning is that it is mostly self-paced. This benefit of distance learning is well known and funded by online schools and universities around the world. The online learning experience provides a space in which learners can access lessons individually and advance through content while they master the skills they need.
Montessori is promoting freedom
No matter how nicely teachers teach online classes, they are, even by their nature, less stringent than those learned in the conventional classroom setting. Both by intention or by necessity, online learning would eventually promote learning freedom as students acquire greater control over their learning environments. Without an instructor watching over their shoulders, the students must take the reins and be accountable toward their education.