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Montessori Environment

At the junior campus in Hari Shree Vidyalayam, we endeavor to provide an environment conducive to the holistic development of the child. Our team of trained teachers ensures that a cosy home like atmosphere is created and the children are happy while working. The school maintains a teacher student ratio of 2 : 30 for Pre-Primary II and Class I. There is one dedicated ayyamma in every environment. We are mere facilitators and aim at children being inquirers and life long learners. We are grateful to the parents for their high level of involvement and constant support.

When a child enters your life, it is time to learn. It is not time to teach. Most people think it is time to teach; that is the misfortune. If a child enters your life, it is time to relearn the life that you have forgotten. That a child can laugh without reason, that he can jump around for no reason, that he can become an exuberant burst of aliveness – that’s life.

- Sadhguru

The purpose of the Montessori environment is to provide a platform for the sheer exuberance of childhood, so beautifully captured in the quote above, to emerge naturally. At Hari Shree, children from the age group of 3.5 to 6.5 follow the Montessori system of education. The Montessori environment encourages concept based learning in the following key areas:

  • The Exercises Of Practical Life
  1. Sensorial Activities
  2. Language
  3. Arithmetic

Exercises of practical life 

“The organization of man has three parts, brains, muscles, senses. Movement is the final result to which the working of all these delicate mechanisms leads up. In fact it is only through movement that the personality can express itself.” – Dr. Maria Montessori in the absorbent mind

The aim of the activities in the Exercises of Practical Life is to help in focusing of attention and control and co-ordination of movement. Thus pouring of grains from one container to another, opening and closing of containers, making of buttermilk and lime juice, cutting carrots, pounding pottukadalai, washing hands and washing chowkis are some of the activities offered under the Exercises Of Practical Life. These activities help our Pre Primary I children settle in the environment and form a foundation for all other activities in the environment. 

Sensorial 

‘The senses are gateways to intelligence. There is nothing in the intelligence that did not pass first through the senses.’ – Aristotle

The primary purpose of the Sensorial Activities is to help the child sort out the many and varied impression given by our senses. Instead of the traditional method of concentrating only on the acoustic and visual senses, the Montessori environment has activities like the Touch tablets, Fabrics and Touch boards which assist the tactile sense(the sense of touch),the Baric Tablets that assist the baric sense( the sense of weight)tasting bottles to assist the gustatory sense(the sense of taste), thermic bottles to assist the thermic sense( the sense of how hot or cold), smelling bottles to assist the olfactory sense( sense of smell) and stereognostic bags to assist the stereognostic senses( to use the other senses except the visual sense).The sensorial materials follow a developmental succession and are scientific and precise. Almost all the sensorial materials prepare the hand for writing.

Language 

‘There is in every child a painstaking teacher, so skillful that he obtains identical results in all children in all parts of the world. The only language men ever speak perfectly is one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!’ – Dr. Maria Montessori

Language starts from day one in the Montessori environment. The assistance given is direct as well as indirect. Phonemic awareness is created while enrichment of vocabulary takes place with the help of name lessons, storytelling, picture cards, planned conversations, songs and rhymes. The child is encouraged to express his ideas orally as well as in writing. So reading and writing are introduced as fun and useful activities which help children understand and appreciate the world around them and to share their ideas and experiences with others. It is wonderful to see the ‘explosion’ into reading and writing happening in the Montessori environments. 

Math 

‘Human intelligence is no longer a natural intelligence but a mathematical intelligence. Without a mathematical education, it is impossible to understand the progress of our time or to participate in it. In our time a mind without mathematical culture is comparable to that of a person ignorant of the alphabet. In its natural state the human mind is already mathematical; it tends towards exactness, measures and comparison.’ – Dr. Maria Montessori

The abstract subject of math is given a concrete form thanks to the materials created by Maria Montessori. When the children are introduced to numbers, the quantity is given first and then only are the symbols for the quantities given. The child is introduced to the decimal system of numeration and the four basic operations namely addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are introduced with the help of a lot of parallel exercises. The foundation given in the Montessori environment stands the child in good stead. 

Culture activities

The Class 1 children are introduced to elementary concepts in Geography, History, Botany and Zoology to create awareness in the children and to further kindle their innate curiosity. Activities take the form of picture cards, group discussions, stories and field trips. 

Parent program

Education is about nurturing the whole child. A human being is not a completely grown person if there is no emotional growth along with physical and intellectual growth. Emotional growth is possible only when the child is given a secure environment, conducive to learning.

Very often young children become highly anxious when separated from their mothers. Bearing the best interest of the child in mind Chettinad Hari Shree Vidyalayam has implemented the parent programme in which the mother of the Pre-Primary I child accompanies and stays with the child in school for the first six months, that is, till the child completes four years of age. Though the program was held between June and January in the initial few years, in view of the practical challenges faced by working parents, expectant mothers and mothers with a toddler to care for at home, the program has been curtailed and is now being offered for only a month.

Since its implementation six years ago the positive feedback from both mothers and facilitators has been very encouraging. Children settle down with ease into the school routine comforted by the thought that their mothers are just in the next room. By the end of the programme, the mothers, as a group, become a part of the Chettinad Hari Shree Vidyalayam family thus bringing the school and parent together in their collaborative effort in educating the child.

Beyond academics 

  • The Bhagwad Geetha Chanting has become an integral part of the junior campus. The ease with which the children chant the shlokas continues to amaze us.
  • All festivals are celebrated with great joy and fervor. Parents and grandparents come and participate in all the festivities.
  • The Sports Carnival has children playing games in a carnival like atmosphere. The main aim of the carnival is to create an atmosphere for children where they can employ their abilities of coordination, dexterity and skills to play games, at a pace comfortable to them. There are no winners or losers, only very happy children.
  • An annual parent child and teacher day trip is planned wherein parents decide on the place to visit. Fun activities, games and food are organized for the children and it is a wonderful opportunity for the parents, children and teachers to bond with each other.
  • House Visits are planned every term in which children go to a classmate’s house, play games, eat a scrumptious snack and thoroughly enjoy themselves.

 

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