Where budding minds bloom

Grooming

Small acts : Children involve themselves in different activities at Blooming Buds at Vontikoppal in Mysore. Dh Photo

What is so different about this place that strikes one the moment one steps in. The footwear that is neatly arranged is not by the helper or the teachers. It is the tiny tots themselves who keep it neatly. It is also the cleanliness. It is also the utter freedom, the joy, the carefree, footloose and fancy free looks on the faces of the little ones that strikes one. Take for example the two-and-a-half year old child sitting on the mat just watching her classmates or looking into thin air, with no teacher breathing down her neck.

This is the true Montessori school in action. The children here are not distracted even for a minute with what ever activity they are doing be it building blocks, joining letters, adding sums or even folding a handkerchief neatly. After all it is Casadi Bambini—child is the head of the family--- a concept that is believed and followed in letter and spirit here at Blooming Buds in Vontikoppal.

“Starting a Montessori is not an easy task. It is a real challenge, as first, we have to convince the parents about the concept. Secondly, if there is only one teacher who is Montessori trained and the remaining or not, then it will never work.

Third, the teaching methods here are totally different as you can see it is not filled solely with textbooks, writing paper and pencils.

Instead it is filled with many materials that teach a range of levels and concepts all set up so that at a moment's notice a teacher can reach for a material and teach a student or students the concept they need to know.

Or students can reach for the same material and use it in the way that they were taught so that they can practice a concept that they are working on,” said the directress of Blooming Buds Krupa Nandakumar.

Herself a trained Montessori, Krupa began with just five children  about five years ago and today there are 50 children from the age of two-and-a-half to five-and-a-half enjoying their freedom and growth here. “Each child is treated as an individual. There is no rote learning here.  As a result the parents get worried when their child has still not learned how to write even after a year. But we ask them to be patient and then there are smiles on their faces, the following year,” she says.

Once the child enters the Montessori, it learns all the life skills that most take years to learn or even might miss out on many important daily skills like cleanliness, how to fight fear and learn to live life with joy.

After all this training, how fit are these kids to enter the so called normal classrooms at class one. “They are best suited as they have already learnt languages like English, Kannada and Hindi and they are really good in maths. But they could find problems in adjusting to the regular classroom teaching,” she said.

“That is why we put them in a classroom environment in the last six months. They sit on the regular bench and desk and learn,” said the principal Ratna Vishwanath.

The Montessori concept was started by Dr Maria Montessori in Rome, Italy in 1907 and around 1934, the Wadiyars did bring it to Mysore by sending a few of the teachers, probably after being impressed with the totally different method of learning, said Krupa.

 The demand for the school is growing by word of mouth and there was a call from Australia recently as they had seen about us on the internet and they plan to admit their kid next year, said the chairperson Nandakumar, in whose ancestral property, in the pristine surroundings, the pre-school is located.

There should be more such Montessoris opened but they should not be just namesake ones but the real ones.

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