Once upon a time...
More than 20 years ago, I was enrolled at a Montessori school (only a handful of them were available at that time). My mom used to work at a reputed watch company back in the time and she used to come to school for what was known as the Observation Session - where parents come and sit at a corner in a Montessori classroom to observe their little comrades. I don't have any memory of the same but she tells me that all the children were excited to go to school every single day. She was puzzled by this and started reading about the Montessori method. She traveled around to explore more such schools across India and returned home convinced that there was no way of teaching that came close to the Montessori regime. She quit her job and started her training at the Indian Montessori center where the Veterans of the Indian Montessori ecosystem passed on the manuscript. Thereafter, she did another year's course at the Indian Montessori Training center to teach Montessori at an elementary level. She later joined one of India's oldest Montessori schools and started teaching and continued her research on early education. After a year she decided to start a little something of her own called the 'Sanskrathi Montessori House of Children' at a 3BHK house at JP Nagar. Sanskrathi Montessori later became a household name at JP Nagar with over 200 children educated at the premises over the years.
I spent a part of my childhood at my mom's Montessori school. Although my mom worked insanely hard at the school she always had time to share her learnings with me, it could be lessons about child psychology, new inventions in early educational models, and more. Although I was very curious, I never really imagined this to be a career for me.
*Back then I wanted to study public policy*
I did study public policy, while I was doing engineering and spent some time at Brussels and Paris with folks from UN working on Children and Youth policies. That is when I started reading a lot about Montessori and early education, My mom's advice was to visit as my schools as possible and like a fly on the wall, observe what children did. Note that down, analyze and get your why, what, and how answered.
I then decided to start academic research with my uncle and aunt, who had just come back from teaching at Texas A & M University. I was parallely working at a private Indian firm back then as a Marketing Manager and was making more money than anyone in my batch.
After careful deliberations, we decided to build a world-class authentic Montessori school with the finest of trained Montessorians with all the Montessori materials (almost 300 of them) in Bangalore, India.
I also got along with my friends Anubhav (who was already running an ed-tech firm), Yeshwin (who was working at GE) to join hands with us. Later Sharad (A Design Engineer) joined us.
I have often been asked as to why I did this?
I have told them to wait and watch as we revolutionize early education in India.
M0 : 15 months - 25 months (typically)
Our primary objective during this time is to provide a kind, nurturing, and pleasurable environment for this sensitive age, as the child is away for the first time from their parents.
We work on social and language skills, engage them with activities of practical life and care for them as their tender brains start to develop.
We have 50+ activities that the child can choose from which are accessible to him/her anytime he/she wants to get his/her hand on it.
One of the core principles of the Montessori method is " Mixed-age group' all the children are working (notice, I am not using the word playing) in the same environment. this will enable the younger children to learns from seniors who will develop leadership skills working with younger ones.
M1,M2,M3 : 25 months - 6 years (Promotion is not based on age)
I am co-authoring a paper with a professor from Cambridge on a subject called the early bias; the hypothesis is that the human mind is filled with biases and opinions formed at different ages until they reach 22 years of age. The interesting fact here is that most of these are made by the age of 6 and are extremely hard to change for better or worse. It becomes extremely important for the children to get the best learning at the age from the right people.
I and my team are in this to make sure children are engaged in activities that will not mold their future into something rigid but help them see the world with a much better and have had a broader view than we did. We will introduce 250+ Montessori activities that will they will choose to work only to come out on the other side better than their peers who did not get this opportunity to study at a Montessori school.
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