The Montessori Method, the kids club’s future ?
19 June 2019
Montessori pedagogy is increasingly being emulated all over the world. Focused on the child’s personal development, it also inspires the kids’ clubs of luxury hotels, always with the last trends. What if the holidays were an opportunity to get closer, directly or indirectly, to this new method? Little Guest helps you to make an opinion…
Work with your little hands in total autonomy!
1 – One method, several opinions
Books, forums, articles and podcasts, everyone is talking about Montessori pedagogy… as a miracle solution that many parents consider for their children. In Europe as in the rest of the world, it’s more and more popular, and there are between 20 and 30,000 Montessori schools all over the world. In 2016, even little Prince George of England entered a Montessori kindergarten!
A growing success that doesn’t go without raising debates, criticisms and questions. So, Montessori pedagogy, a real pedagogical innovation or an elitist education? Before considering the future of this trendy method, a brief return to the roots is necessary.
2 – Montessori, the main lines
This global educational method is the work of an exceptional woman, Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor and teacher from the early 20th century. After her medical studies, this avant-garde woman turned to child psychology and founded the “Children’s Houses” (Casa dei bambini) in the underprivileged districts of Rome. From the daily observation of the youngest, from babies to teenagers, she develops a pedagogy that is as close as possible to their needs and rhythms…In the main lines :
- Autonomy is one of the main concepts of Montessori pedagogy. In fact, it’s about the child learning to do it alone, like a grown-up! In Montessori schools, children are free to choose the activities they wish to do. A very constructive freedom, essential to develop their personality
- The teacher has a very specific role: the adult is considered as a guide, a benevolent companion who encourages children’s desires without imposing anything on them. It ideally allows children to develop in a balanced way by adapting to their needs and rhythms…
- Move from the concrete to the abstract. Maria Montessori advocated it: you have to experiment to learn better! By exercising their 5 senses, by working with their little hands, children develop their sensory and intellectual activity and learn in a much more effective way. As the old saying goes, it’s by forging that one becomes a blacksmith!
Such a revolutionary philosophy for the 1930s! As we know, in a few years his method will have followers from India to the United States, to the point of questioning the principles of today’s traditional school…
3 – The Future of the Kids Club?
What if the holidays were the best time to get closer, directly or indirectly, to this popular pedagogy? At the beach or by the pool, undecided parents can take the time to make up their minds. And from the children’s point of view, it’s really a good time to learn while having fun!
To the delight of the curious little ones, more and more Kids clubs are incorporating principles that are similar or inspired by the Montessori method. A trend that can be found in their programs: manual activities that encourage attention and concentration, sports activities that involve toddlers in the movement, group games that strengthen mutual support and collaboration…
Little Guest takes you to discover its favourite Kids-club, in the Montessori spirit!
4 – Spaces dedicated to children’s well-being
Montessori, we can never repeat it enough, is a global pedagogy, which above all ensures the personal development of our little ones. The environment, the way space is arranged, is at least as important as the activities offered to the students.
An invitation to rethink the space with children’s eyes and at children’s height!
At Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas, a custom-made place is reserved for your little ones, an exceptional play area, dressed in a shade of blue and animated by cosmic mobiles. The place, compartmentalized and flexible, is divided into several small corners: a bed of comfortable cushions for those who would like to rest or simply stay for a moment of observation, a reading area, a mat with some games… These small well-defined spaces, in addition to giving them landmarks, create a safe space for children.
The play boxes and most of the shelves are placed within children’s reach, as Maria Montessori advocated. This way, they can catch a book, a plush or a ball, in total autonomy!
Parents know this, children don’t like to pretend: on the contrary, they love to imitate Mom and Dad “for real”! The Marbella Club has understood this very well. This exceptional Kids-club has a dance and music area, another dedicated to DIY, a small garden but also a large kitchen and workshop. For their greatest pleasure, children are invited to use everyday tools, trays, kitchen utensils, broomsticks and even small wheelbarrows. A great way to strengthen their self-confidence and prove to them, that yes, “they are already a little bit big! “
5 – Discovering the world with THEIR 5 senses
Touching, exercising their taste buds to recognize new flavours, learning to listen or smell… with their habit of touching everything, their desire to taste everything, our little ones love using their five senses. Maria Montessori encouraged to stimulate all the senses to learn and promote the child’s “sensory refinement”.
Cutting, painting, pottery… Creative activities are more than just entertainment, they also allow them to exercise their creativity and develop their imagination. At Blue Waters Antigua, girls and boys can learn how to make jewellery: manipulate pearls of different textures and sizes, recognize colours and thread them the best they can on a string. All these gestures strengthen dexterity, coordination and concentration. Future mathematicians even take the opportunity to learn how to sort and count pearls. Good news, pearls and their handling occupy a special place at Montessori. Let us not forget, “intelligence comes from the hand“, the Italian pedagogue kept repeating.
Cooking classes for our little ones flourish in the children’s clubs of the best hotels. They are an excellent way to develop their fine motor skills and concentration. Spreading, cutting, peeling… All these are ways to use their little hands and to learn how to “do it yourself”.
At Domaine de Manville in the heart of the Alpilles, children are invited to a jam preparation workshop with fruit picked during a walk in the orchards. A great opportunity to combine an introduction to botany, physical activity and concentration work. And then, what a pleasure to leave with a jar of jam just for yourself! On the borders of Thailand, at Soneva Kiri, our little chefs enjoy tropical flavours by cooking coconut: a very gourmet way to discover exoticism and to awaken to other cultures!
Holidays: so many new landscapes, new habits, new flavours but also new fragrances to discover. Marbella Club Hotel has understood this by offering children the opportunity to enjoy their stay and create custom-made perfume! The little noses will be able to exercise their sense of smell in the Aroma Workshop reserved for them. Recognize fragrances, mix them, create your own perfume… here is a workshop for families with style!
To discover through experience is also to take the little bit out of your nose and become aware of your external environment. Nature is full of surprises! Eco-pedagogical programs or gardening classes, wildlife observation or grazing… there are as many ways to raise awareness of flora and fauna among the youngest as there are Kids-clubs!
On the other side of the world, in the North East of South Africa, little adventurers can follow the trail of savannah animals thanks to the Mack & Madi Kids’ Adventure Safari Club of Marataba Safari Lodge. The observation of lions’ footprints or porcupine quills will take you to all kinds of discoveries…
6 – Montessori on holidayS
Today, more and more parents are adapting Montessori pedagogy at home and integrating its principles into their daily lives. Little Guest offers you some ideas for simple games, in the Montessori spirit, to entertain your children intelligently with the themes: the shore, the sea or the countryside.
- At the beach:
What better way to discover a place than by walking around? Walking on the beach allows you to feel the sand under your feet but also to collect small treasures (shells, pieces of sea glass or pebbles). The older ones will be able to sort their harvest according to its size or shape and even practice counting them… A great way to learn math without realizing it!
The transfer is one of the method’s main exercises and has the advantage of also being intended for very young children, from two years old. What better place than the beach to concentrate between two sandcastles? Have a small bucket (or a bottle with a tight neck, if you want to make the exercise more complex) and a shovel. First, show your little ones how to do it and how to pour the sand from one container to another, then let them do it by themselves!
- In the mountains or in the countryside:
Nature’s resources are infinite… To begin with, why not land on the grass, and focus on one of your senses? Close your eyes and listen together to the sounds that surround you, the murmur of leaves, the song of birds, the smell of a lavender field… A concrete exercise so that your children can perceive the variety and richness of things that surround them.
In the same spirit, and to develop touch, parents take advantage of a country getaway to make their tribe guess, with their fingertips, about certain elements that surround them (a branch, a piece of moss, a pinecone). Bonus, it’s usually a real source of laughter!
Mylène, 28 years old, art lover and travel addict, from Strasbourg, France