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Sep, 15 2009

The Montessori approach

With the preschool segment growing by leaps and bounds the sector is likely to cross Rs13,821 crore by 2012, according to brokerage firm CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. Introducing the Montessori way of teaching the tiny tots, American Alliance ABC Montessori

In the year 1907, Dr. Maria Montessori opened her first Montessori School in Rome, Italy. Six months later, people were travelling from all around the world to visit that school to see for themselves the amazing results of a new approach to the education of young children. Times change, influences in the lives of children change, but the basic nature of developing child never does. The latest mind research only confirms Dr Montessori’s remarkable insights of one hundred years ago.

It has been scientifically proved that the most important period in human beings emotional and educational development is from birth to 6 years as children develop most of their skills in these primary years of their life and 50 per cent of the child’s adult intelligence and 90 per cent of the adult brain patterns are also developed in these formative years. Montessori helps the children in their most crucial birth to 6 years by emphasized learning through all five senses. This focused approach on development of five senses (sight, smell, sound, touch and taste) in the crucial formative years ensures the competitive edge through out the life span of human being.

The unique aspect of this education method is its child centered approach (other methods are teacher centered) which treats each child as a unique individual, allowing him to learn optimally at his own pace through use of self-correcting, multi-sensory material with emphasis on how to reason and understand, identify and solve problems, work in teams and communicate effectively. It has been established that a Montessori child is normally one-and-a-half years ahead of his peer group due to effective Montessori methodology which enhances the development of analytical and logical thought process of the child.

Unique teaching method

The traditional education is no longer acceptable to the masses as it has failed to achieve its objectives. It has been the subject of debate for a while now with more and more educationists, intellectuals and researchers coming to the conclusion that it needs to be revamped. Random, adhoc and piece meal changes have only made matters worse. The scene is characterized by unimaginative syllabus and curriculum, with great emphasis on rote knowledge. Tiny tots are saddled with heavy school bags with work to be completed at home. Teachers sit in judgement to punish or reward performance. Children are expected to hold a pencil and write even when they are unable to grip the pencil. Going to school is hardly the pleasurable experience that it ought to be.

The parents want the best for their children. They want the children to be creative, caring, have knowledge and not be burdened with heavy school bags. Going to school must be a joyful experience and Montessori fulfils all these conditions. The goals and outcome among Montessori graduates are similar to conventional schools, but the experience of getting there is so much more pleasant and stress free for children, parents and educators.

Today, the sensorial based Montessori method is recognized worldwide as the very best way to enable a child to reach his full potential; because it is based on the universal laws of life. This holistic approach, taking into account all aspects of the child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs, in a scientifically designed environment, lovingly maintained by a specially trained teacher, facilitates the maximum development of the intellect.

Teaching the ABC

ABC Montessori is taking on the challenge to provide the best possible opportunities for children, recognizing that they are the future pillars of our families, societies, and nation. Talking about ABC Montessori’s education initiative, Gurmeet Singh Arora, Chairman, ABC Montessori says,In 2004, we adopted the Montessori system of education as it is a socially needed venture. Our commitment is to enable children to reach their full potential by providing schools and Teacher Training Institutes meeting the highest international standards.”

ABC Montessori is India’s fastest developing American chain of Montessori Day-Care Pre-Schools and Teacher Training Institutes, having a pan-India presence with over 86 franchisee networks across country.

An American alliance with The Academy for the Brilliant Child, Georgia, USA and the Montessori Teacher Training Institute, California, USA, ABC Montessori is an ISO certified unit of a registered educational society and enjoys the support of over Rs one hundred  crore  GCS Group which has experience in franchising since 1994 and has over hundred successful franchise network in education sector.

ABC Montessori maintains the highest standards and interpretations of the Montessori method of education while remaining open to the contemporary, advanced research and innovations being made in the field of philosophy, psychology and educational theory.  Benefits of authentic Montessori methodology are refined further into a blended curriculum to give an extra edge to pre-school students while meeting the aspirations of traditional education system.

It is no wonder that Montessori is the most preferred contemporary method of educating young children. Montessori schools are operating successfully around the world in 52 countries on all six continents, and hundreds more open each year. This success story has given rise to a worldwide demand for qualified Montessori teachers.

ABC Montessori is Member, The International Montessori Council, USA and Member, The American Montessori Society, USA (both the bodies are school accreditation bodies). The students graduating from ABC Montessori are awarded with international certification. The teachers have an option to get their internship in India, US or in any other country subject to visa.

ABC Montessori is working to spread ‘The Montessori way – knowledge of how children naturally learn’, across India, as its effort to improve education, and has mission to nurture, inspire, and support the development of strong, successful Montessori day‑care, pre-schools and teacher’s training institutes.

Replicating success

ABC Montessori introduced Montessori system as a pilot project in 2004 at Model School Patiala, Punjab. After experiencing a grand success of the project the same is now being offered and replicated at multi locations across India under the brand name of ABC Montessori to impart quality Montessori education to the children (age group 1½ to 6 years) for classes Pre-nursery to UKG. The Montessori Diploma Course is being offered to adult aspirant teachers with inclination towards Montessori philosophy and passion for early childhood education.

ABC Montessori has already consolidated its strength to over 86 franchisees, and targets to double it by the end of this year through tie-ups with existing crèche, daycares, preschools, schools, educational institutes, training institutes and entrepreneurs having passion for education.

On opting for the franchise mode, Arora says, “Franchising is one of the most modern ways of growing together. The benefits of the chain are reaped together in the form of low cost input material and proven systematic approach. Even the otherwise beyond reach high budget advertisement and promotional campaigns, could be easily executed for mutual benefits due to equity sharing among the participating franchisees resulting in considerably reduced cost per franchisee.”

ABC Montessori operates on two kinds of franchise formats – Master Franchise and Individual Franchise. The Master Franchisee is assigned a clearly demarcated zone to act and operate on the company’s behalf to develop and nurture the assigned territory. All the support to the franchisee is re-routed through the Master Franchisee. Zonal Marketing efforts are assured by the Master Franchisee. On the other hand, the Franchisee is appointed for a particular location and his success is ensured though periodic marketing and academic orientation trainings, along with zonal and national advertisement campaigns, academic and promotional material etc.

Franchisee is provided with complete guidance and solutions to establish, operate and manage his/her own prestigious Montessori Day-Care, Pre-School, Teacher Training Institute virtually without any extra cost.

Talking about franchise audits, Arora informs, “The academic, administrative, marketing and financial audits are periodically conducted by us on both internal and external basis. The delegates coming for periodic academic or marketing training are adjudged for their retention of previous imparted knowledge by experts in respective academic and marketing domains and they are further trained for the mutual benefits.” The administrative formats are made available to the franchisee and received reports are periodically analyzed. Periodic self appraisal by the franchisees is encouraged to identify the strengths and weakness.

Making women entrepreneurs

ABC Montessori is primarily focused on early childhood education which is a sector prominently dominated by women. The company is empowering housewives with Day-Care and Pre-school franchise which they could conveniently operate even from their residential locations by transforming a portion of the same into a Montessori environment. As a matter of fact, the majority of aspirants for Teacher Diploma are women and the institute helps them to become a professional, and develop the skills needed to have a positive impact on the lives of children. Over 60 per cent of ABC Montessori’s franchise network is dominated by women entrepreneurs.

The future

ABC Montessori is operational across India and is also receiving tremendous response for international franchising from developed as well developing countries. Arora avers, “Our focus now is on developing our network in all major towns and cities and launch international franchise operation by the end of this year.”

The concept promoted by ABC Montessori is over 100 years old, scientific, globally acclaimed and highly effective method of educating, which could be used with great success with each and every child. The education sector in general and pre-school segment in particular has evolved in a big way in India over the last few years. This is the line of activity which has an unlimited potential for growth. It is a unique field where parents will happily forego something for themselves so that their child gets the best they can afford.

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