A SEarch that turned Futile
In 2017, as our daughter was about to turn two, we felt it was time for us to explore the early childhood schooling options. We were both excited and anxious about her stepping into a new environment. Little did we know that this excitement is going to vanish soon. The more places we visited in Noida, the more disappointed we got with the type of learning experience they offered – despite all the tall claims, a poorly implemented pedagogy delivered through a factory-model of education oblivious to each child’s individual personality or needs. Their limited understanding and misconceptions about a young child’s developmental needs were so stark. A vast majority of early education centers seemed to be running coaching and training centers to push children to the next level of schooling – what a loss of child’s potential in early years! Our Children deserve better from our generation of parents and educators. To deliver effective coaching, many of the schools have also resorted to using electronic and digital media for delivery of curriculum – doing the exact opposite of what extensive research about exposure of young children to screens/devices suggest. A smart screen can’t deliver learning that hands-on work and real meaningful interactions with adults & peers do.
A PHILOSOPHY Distorted by vested interests
While we knew a bit about the Montessori approach already from our time living abroad, our need at hand led us to research about it in greater detail and it became clear as to why it is one of the most popular methods for alternative education across the world and while it originated over 100 years ago, why it is still so relevant in the current times. We rekindled our search for a Montessori school in Noida this time - only to find a bigger disappointment in store for us. Just like Yoga, Montessori is a philosophy and has not been trademarked. Montessori pedagogy is deeply rooted in child developmental psychology and if practiced in the right way with children, it offers a truly transformative learning experience for the child.
Montessori education has existed as a strong movement in India for over 70 years but North India particularly, is flooded with distorted or inauthentic versions driven by the lack of understanding among educators, unaware parents, misinformation spread by schools, blatant commercialization of education, franchising models etc. Just as it is futile to do yogasanas as a set of exercises in a gym, so is the mindless deviation & distortion of Montessori practice from the original method. It was really sad to note gross deviations by schools who proudly claim to follow this method in their pedagogical approach.
WHEn PAssion became A STRONG purpose
Current research in brain development has supported the fact that Montessorians have always advocated - the first five to six years are most crucial phase in life and the foundation for what comes later is formed in this period. We were convinced that as parents, the greatest gift we can ever give to our daughter is to provide her a learning environment which focuses on her holistic development in this crucial phase of her life – a setting that prepares her for life and not merely a school or academics. And thus, began the journey to establish Sketches Montessori – the first such effort to establish an authentic Montessori House of Children in Noida.
The school opened on the day our daughter turned two which was also her first day at Sketches and soon, other parents joined hands to create a community of young Montessori learners. We are building a community of like-minded parents who believe in Montessori principles and are imbibing those in their parenting style as well so that both the environment at Sketches and at home can support child’s development to fullest potential.
Gift your child an authentic Montessori learning experience in their foundational years of life – a balanced education that is so hard to find and so necessary for their success in these changing times.
We invite your child to join our toddler (1.5 – 3 years), primary (3 – 6 years) and elementary (6-12 years) community of Montessori learners at Sketches and for you to be a part of our growing community of Montessori parents.
Thanks for reading our story and we wish you a joyful parenting journey!
Niti Gupta | Nishant Gupta