Brief History of the Centre for Montessori Education
Chief (Mrs) Bolajoko Efuniyi is the founder of the Centre for Montessori Education (CME), Lagos. She studied in the United Kingdom in the 1960s.
CME was started in 1976. It was formerly known as Tunwase Montessori Centre, but later became Lagos Montessori Centre; that was between 1993 – 1996. Since then, it has been registered as Centre for Montessori Education.
The centre was started because the concept of montessori method was not properly understood by the generality of the teachers in Nigeria. Most of them or all of them had never seen the didactic montessori materials before. They were trying to take the course by long distance learning and were aspiring to go overseas to obtain a diploma in Montessori education.
Owning to this, it was necessary first of all, for them to come to a workshop in their own locality, then go through the workshop to enable them cope with the workshop in another culture (say Europe).
Then, the only way you could learn about Montessori system was to go overseas after learning long distance, but they use to fail because they weren’t farmiliar with the materials and their uses.
Later, it dawn on me that teachers could be trained here since Dr. Maria Montessori herself said that wherever the method is to be used, it is to be adapted to the culture of that country.
Understanding the Montessori Method of Education
The Montessori method of education was established by Maria Montessori, the first Italian female doctor who lived from 31st August 1870 to 6th May 1952. Although her first job was with mentally handicapped and socially deprived children, she found that if the method was used by normal children the sky will be the limit, since the aforementioned children performed wonderfully when they were placed side by side with normal children in examination.
Her main principle can be classified into three (3) for the benefit of developing the whole personality of the child. These are:
- The Principle of Observation
- Prepared Environment
The summary of the whole method is that the teacher is the directress of the spontaneous activity while she watches out for the children silent plea of “help me to help myself”.
The Benefits of the Method
1. All the didactic materials are self correcting as they contain control of error
2. Children work according to their own pace. There is no comparison, no reward, no punishment
3. Children learn from practical to abstract, there is no rote learning. The Chinese proverb of “teach me i will forget but show me and i will always remember” is at work.
4. Children work for the joy of working and sense of discovery. The absorbent mind of children and their ability to operate in the prepared environment.
5. Children can read without strain or effort before the age of 5 years because of the special use of the phonic method which has now been world wide acclaimed, although sometimes wrongly used with children in schools.
The Uniqueness of the Method
The main aim of the method is to help the child develop his/her full potential in all areas of life. Therefore, activities carried out in the environment promote the development of social skills, emotional growth and physical co-ordination as well as cognitive preparation for future intellectual, academic endeavours.
The prepared environment aims at self-directed learning.The materials are those that the children enjoy working with, which lend themselves for repetitive activities and follow a sequential pattern.
The teacher is a facilitator, a custodian of the prepared environment, a scientific observer and one who wait patiently for the true nature of the child to unfold.
The Goal of Montessori School
The main purpose of a Montessori school is to provide a stimulating environment which will help the child develop his/her full potentials. Some of these are:
1. A positive attitude towards work/school. All activities are geared towards the needs, level and readiness of individual child.
2. The development of self-confidence. All learning go from known to unknown. This eliminates the negative experience of frequent failure.
3. Concentration; through a series of absorbing experiences, the child forms the habit of extended attention, thus increasing his/her ability to concentrate.
4. Encouraging curiosity; for any individual to make meaningful progress in learning, curiosity is a pre-requisite. The Montessori child has the opportunity of discovering qualities, dimensions and relationships by the use of varied didactic materials in the prepared environment especially in sensorial education.
5. children are encouraged to take initiative through the many experiences encountered in the prepared environment. The work cycle helps them to develop the attitude of completing a given task when emabrked upon.
6. Fostering inner security and a sense of order. There is orderliness in the prepared environment. Everything is in its place and a place for everything. They learn to bring materials out and take them back after use.
7. Attaining independence. Various activities within the prepared environment help children to attain independence at a very tender age. All the activities carried out during practical life exercise i.e dressing up, opening and closing, polishing, cooking, pouring and carrying, washing, sweeping and dusting etc. all help them in this area. The cry of the child from the day he/she was born “help me to help myself” is almost met.
Our Consultancy Service
C.M.E offers consultancy service in the following ares:
- Gives advice on the establishment of schools, develops the curriculum and supervise the periodic running of such school for at least 2 years.
- Recruit teachers and runs initial workshop for the take-off of the Montessori methods for such schools
- Organizes seminars and workshops on any areas of the curriculum (E.g 2-day workshop on Early Mathematics, Language, using the Montessori Phonic programme). These seminars and workshops can be held at individual schools or at the Centre.
- There is a Montessori Nursery/Primary school and a High School attached to the Centre for children.
- The atmosphere of these schools are Montessori-oriented and children work at their own pace in a non-competitive way incorporating the Montessori principles.
- Registration is N5,000.00
Montessori offers a lucrative field of human and natural advancement with thses in mind:
“Educate a child and you educate a nation”
“The child id the father of man”