How do we prepare for life in a montessori environment? Undoubtedly, from the initial levels of education , the school is a fundamental pillar that trains us to face future challenges that with some uncertainties challenge educators on a daily basis. But just transmitting knowledge or concepts is no longer enough. In a context that is often competitive, it is necessary to educate the child in love for himself and his peers. Incorporating “other” skills is essential for the modern world.
Many times we read or hear the phrase that says that “we have a 19th century school, 20th century teachers and 21st century students.” Well, therein lies the main objective; unify all of us in the current and put into action strategies and educational proposals that offer students the possibility of preparing for the current context. We are all aware of the failure that the education system has in this regard and it is up to the professionals in the area to begin to manage that change that the world is crying out for in the school. As an educator, I am convinced that the most meaningful learning is the one that is done heart to heart, because, after all, we are social beings. For this reason, I consider that all the members of an educational community are an active and key part of this process and, as in an ecosystem, each one has their role and is complemented by the others in pursuit of the development of each and every one with the objective which is to prepare young people for an uncertain future.
Under this premise, the most active learning is framed , with less focus on the teacher, more prominence in the students and focus on the learning processes. Today, educators should not be satisfied with transmitting content, but also helping children and young people to apply, question and socialize it based on work projects and clear objectives that allow them to self-manage and optimize their potential. To achieve this, the development of soft skills are essential.
Also called 21st Century skills, these aim to promote collaborative teamwork, enhance creativity, encourage critical thinking and communication skills, among others. They are vital for the development of projects and joint work plans, the autonomy and the reflection necessary for all these built learning to break the walls of the classroom.
In order to develop these skills, it is important to understand that a change in roles is necessary in which students are the protagonists and teachers are the mentors of those processes that will be carried out motivated by the interests of the students and a work environment that offers freedom and promote engagement. All processes must be formative and invite discovery. Observation, experience, active work and reflection will thus be some of the fundamental pillars of these tours in which new learning will be developed collaboratively in challenging projects for children and also for teachers. Undoubtedly, the evaluation is also linked to these forms of work in the classroom since they cannot go through different paths but it may require another particular reflection.
I will exemplify these concepts with a case that occurred at Noordwijk Montessori School, where we promote the development of these skills from the Montessori Method.. A few days ago, secondary school students carried out research on health care, prevention, and healthy habits that, in addition to its development, was aimed at being shared with children between 6 and 8 years of age at the primary level. For this purpose, they not only investigated it, administered information and reached their own conclusions, but they also had to apply creativity to make an entertaining piece and make themselves understood by their recipients, using the appropriate vocabulary and communication codes accessible to them. public. That is what the skills point to, to learn aware of what we do it for, the context in which we find ourselves and our strengths to carry it out.
Debunking Myths About Skill Development:
- Creative is born. FALSE. There is a myth that creativity is a gift that you have or you don’t have, but creativity also develops and it is through the proposals we make and the environment we provide that we can do it. Creative is the one who creates… not only the one who has good ideas.
- Soft skills are job skills. FALSE. They are thought of as job skills because they involve working with others, being creative, having goals, and being self-managing. But in reality these tools will not only be used for the workplace, but also for life. So, we say that soft skills are life skills. This is how Maria Montessori thought of them when designing her method focused on learning and developing skills, responding to each stage of development with the aim of accompanying the training of adults who can be agents of change.
The development of skills has a social impact: TRUE when Maria Montessori refers to “learning for peace” in her method, she refers to living and learning with others. to respect them as well as respect yourself and the environment. That a student grows aware of her environment, her strengths and weaknesses as well as her actions is precisely educating for life in a context in which being an empathic part of a society is essential.
The method alone already puts the student in a place of leadership. Our training invites them to be expositors, critics and already from a young age that they can begin to make decisions that favor their performance as adults and propose their own life paths.
They are motivated to develop articulately in all areas based on their interests and styles, while working on their confidence and tolerance. Some of today’s leaders who were trained with the Montessori methodology are Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (creators of Google) as well as the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
It should be added that it is difficult to carry out a learning process of this type if the student and the teachers do not feel comfortable, content, comfortable, loved and respected. The care of these healthy emotions is a pillar because they will make the child choose to come to school and get “hands on. Regarding teachers, it is essential to understand as a team that if we want to lead the teaching and learning processes from this point of view, it is essential that we live the experience firsthand. In the pandemic we had to prioritize the mental health of our entire educational community and through knowing how to adapt and to make decisions, we did not have “burned out” teachers or parents who demanded more zoom.
Learning for life paid off.
The current times challenge us educators in an overwhelming way and invite us to move from place to transform ourselves and build a new educational system that dares to take risks and meets the needs of the new generations on time. It is a matter of launching ourselves into this challenge, understanding that we can do it with our students giving ourselves completely physically, mentally and emotionally.