Montessori in Turkey

There is an increasing interest in Montessori education and Montessori materials in Turkey. A lot of parents are considering sending their children to Montessori schools, so we saw the need to provide a brief guide.

 

What is Montessori?

Maria Montessori was one of the most important early years educators of the 20th century and has built the Montessori method, which is a personalized, child-led education approach.

Montessori focuses on developing the child in a holistic manner and places importance on sensorial, emotional development and practical life-skills in addition to more common focus areas such as language and math. Montessori claims that children grow into successful adults if they are independent individuals and learners starting from early ages, experiencing and sustaining the joy of learning.

 

How can I find Montessori schools in Turkey?

An increasing number of preschools and primary schools in Turkey have started talking about Montessori or using the name Montessori in their school names. However, very few actually adhere to the Montessori principles enough to truly be deemed a ‘Montessori school.’ There are international networks and accreditation bodies that visit Montessori schools around the world and audit the quality of learning environments, and it is our aim following our first year of operation to become accredited as an authentic Montessori school. You can use the following links to research schools in Turkey that are being audited and accredited by these institutions:

http://www.montessori.org.uk/schools

https://amshq.org/School-Resources/AMS-Member-Schools/AMS-Accredited-Schools

 

How do I choose the right Montessori school?

A school that fully adopts a Montessori approach displays certain characteristics. You can inquire about or make observations regarding the following items when assessing whether the school is genuinely aligned with Montessori:

  • Child-Led Learning: Each child actively chooses what she will work on and continues to enjoy learning due to following her curiosity. Children actively plan their work under guidance instead of being assigned tasks or being told what to do. Children are not required to all learn the same material at the same pace.
  • Mixed-Age Classroom: Children of different ages work side by side in the same environment, so the young and the old learn from each other. Each child is given ample time to cover the full curriculum at his or her own pace. Older children gain leadership skills and develop confidence while younger children benefit from learning from their peers.
  • A Full Work Cycle: The children are given the chance to focus on work for extended periods of time – a typical Montessori cycle alots 3 hours of free exploration, compared to the 40-minute, adult-led lessons in traditional schools
  • Freedom to move: Children can sit or move in whichever way they like while working at a workstation. With an understanding that young children like to move, many works available provide children with the opportunity to move their bodies while also learning.
  • Independence: Teachers aim to foster independence and self-sufficiency. The child is encouraged to handle her own needs e.g., dressing, eating without adult intervention. This freedom and sense of responsibility helps children feel supported and empowers them to become creative and independent adults.
  • No Time Outs or Traditional Discipline: In a Montessori classroom, inner-discipline is promoted through role play and quiet personal reminders, not through punishment or public shaming.
  • Didactic Materials: Montessori materials are designed to assist learning by touching and manipulating, children gain knowledge by using their senses rather than through memorization.
  • Trained Teachers: Teachers are expected to be trained on Montessori philosophy and learning approach, and preferably certified by an international Montessori training institution.
  • Teacher as the ‘Guide by the Side’: The teacher is mobile within the environment; they support children 1 to 1 or in small groups and keep constant observations on each child’s progress.
  • Access to the Outdoors: Outdoor play and exploration is considered integral to the Montessori curriculum and children should have access to the outdoors during the work cycle or at a minimum it should be permanently scheduled into the daily routine in a meaningful way.

 

Can Montessori be applied in primary schools?

Montessori especially stressed the importance of the first 6 years in a person’s life as a period of tremendous learning capacity. She referred to this as the period of “the absorbent mind”. However, the Montessori education method is a holistic, child-centered approach that is used across primary and middle schools as well.

 Education for the ages of 6-9 is developed as a continuation of the preschool curriculum. Some of the same materials are revisited with greater depth and many new materials are introduced. Psychologically there is great change in personality and drive at this stage, and the Montessori approach for this age group takes into account the child’s new found needs for socialization and a more profound capability for abstract thinking.

This is a period where core knowledge is built and the seeds that have been sown in the preschool environment have an opportunity to germinate into an incredible acquisition of knowledge. Independence and the pursuit of personal interests continues to be at the core.

Who is Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori became the first female medical doctor in Italy upon completing her training in 1896. She focused on the therapy and treatment of children with special needs. Montessori started her first school in Rome in 1907 and later continued opening other schools to help socio-economically disadvantaged children realize their full potential. She used these schools as labs to improve her education method, making countless observations and performing scientific experiments.

It later became obvious that her methods would serve as effective tools that could be used in supporting the development and education of any child. Montessori then focused on improving her methods and increasing awareness around the world. She traveled around the world, opening many schools and publishing many scientific articles up to her death in 1952 at the age of 82.

 

Montessori at home

Many principles of the Montessori philosophy can be employed at home and we will help provide families with tools to help their children to develop in the same way in their home. There are very basic concepts such as creating opportunities for independence with an accessible coat area, involving your children in cooking or other household tasks, and simplifying your child’s environment and play space, that can help your child to be happier, more confident and to develop self-discipline through freedom.

You can explore the following resources to help educate yourself and start using the Montessori approach at home:

 

Famous people with a Montessori background

Montessori schools have been around for more than a century so it is possible to identify many famous people who attended Montessori schools. Here are a few:

  • Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google
  • Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
  • Prince William and Prince Harry, United Kingdom
  • Julia Child, chef and author
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author with Nobel prize for literature
  • Musicians Yo Yo Ma and Joshua Bell
  • Actors George Clooney and Helen Hunt

 

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