Everywhere around the world parents, children, schools, teachers have been talking about a lost year that is the 2020-21 academic year. Virtual learning- while has its perks- surely cannot beat in-class learning is the universal opinion.
But in so far as Montessori goes, surprisingly enough, virtual learning has caused children to dig deep and understand better. Montessori, by virtue of being hands-on, was not expected to adapt well to the online format. We provide scientifically designed material in smooth wood and hard metal for the children to easily manipulate and learn in a vibrant environment that is the classroom. We provide a community of learners who interact and teach others. The challenge was to translate this to a home learning environment.
The extended Montessori community worldwide rose the challenge and how? We managed to make the most crucial of materials with cardboard and paper. We made PPTs, we used ice cream sticks, we used beads, we used buttons; we used every craft available on hand to make materials as accurately as possible.
The advantage of this being, children got to make their own material- chequered board, large bead frame, fractions, grammar boxes, grammar symbols, polygons, and solids to name just a few. These on-trend DIY projects of material making, helped the children understand how the material works, and hence the concept was that much easier for them to grasp using the material.
We hope the children can come back to the environment with a more working knowledge of each material and concept than they did earlier. If not they at least did not lose touch with the work they started in the Montessori environment. Either way, it was definitely not a zero year for Montessori children.