Learning in Godisang according to Montessori

Many of the children in our preschools come from families where the children are not looked after well. Many of the children are raised by their grandmothers because their mothers died.

I am trying since last year to do regular visits in our two preschools and in the afternoon programms. I take Montessori material along and I present it to the children so that they can work on their own. What is most fascinating for the children: I’m not talking while I present the material. Montessori has discovered that children cannot listen and watch at the same time. So it is important to separate talking and doing. Each step has to be done slowly and gracefully. The children watch fascinated what I am doing, Sometimes the eager ones want to do it at once. But there is also a strict rule: The teacher has to finish first, then the child is allowed to start the exercise.

Last week I had an amazing experience : I took the Montessori anguage material to Godisang. To learn writing is for all children a big dream. In Montessori writing begins with feeling sandpaper letters with your fingertips printed on boards. I showed a four year boy. He ran his fingers over the sandpaper letters. The teacher pronounces the sound the letter makes when talking. I also had an object with me which showed the very same sound. After repeating the three letters several times, Botshelo (which means life) said: “Now I want to write” which was originally intended not so fast. But he was so determined that I gave him a pencil and he started writing. The two teachers in kindergarten were just flabbergasted and so was I. Botshelo had never written before.

For me it is fascinating to see how the 150 year old Montessori pedagogy “strikes” at the African situation. Teaching often means: The child has to repeat what the teacher has said, like a parrot. Montessori came to her theory by while working with among children in Rome who were completely neglected. Nobody cared about them because their parents were busy fighting for survival. Today we have a similar situation in our communities and families. With the exposure to the Montessori material I hope to give some children the joy of learning by discovering for themselves.

Written by Christel Hermann

Learning in Godisang according to Montessori
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