When a person is successful and their money is counted by millions, it is difficult to go unnoticed. Maybe their success is just a coincidence but what if a detail becomes a common denominator among several powerful people?
Let’s look at these few people: Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet who created Amazon, the creator of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, Sergey Brin and Larry Page who are behind Google. They all share a common thing – besides the fact that they are all men, all four of them studied under the same system from a very young age: the Montessori method.
Not only was Maria Montessori the first woman to graduate from a medical school in Italy but she also stood up against many who tried changing her mind. While working in mental institutions she found kids "abandoned by the system", that left her deeply shaken. Montessori decided to try to get them out of there and give them an education, teach them to read and write, add and subtract – In short, she sought to give them the opportunities that life had denied them.
Her method – although she did not like to call it that – made these kids learn in a wonderful way: she got them to engage in sensory experiences and focused on hands-on experience rather than abstract theory. These kids came to pass the most important primary tests in Italy.
Maria Montessori’s approach meant that no adult would say "no, you are doing it wrong" as it’s a method based on individual abilities and interests, thus allowing children to grow up with a healthy self-esteem.
The Montessori method has gained popularity in recent years, both globally and locally, here in Bulgaria. The first step to adopting it is to learn the fundamental principles:
Plan the space and materials for the games.
The ideal is to have a space or corner in the home with furniture at the height of the kid where, in an orderly manner, the child will have their toys and stories. You can have a table with materials for them to draw, paint or just choose the games they want.
Forget about prizes and punishments.
The kids must learn to do things for the satisfaction it provides them with – not in order to obtain a prize or for fear of severe punishment. Instead of punishment or forbidding an activity, teach the consequences of wrongdoing and focus on the best way to correct mistakes.
Personal autonomy is important.
In order for kids to learn to be independent, it is necessary to adapt the environment to them. For example, the time of the meal is an excellent moment to exercise autonomy. Give the kids the right cutlery, let them touch and mix the food. Surely you will have to pick up the mess afterwards but with patience and love you will see the evolution and learning process.
Here comes confidence.
For the kids to gain confidence in themselves and have a healthy self-esteem, it is necessary to encourage and applaud their achievements in a balanced way.
Boundaries are nurturing.
For Montessori love means freedom with boundaries. A goal of the method is that the kids grow in a structured environment, full of confidence; that they be recognized, respected and given the opportunity to know that they can do things for themselves, be curious and explore the world.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez – a Noble Prize winner and a former Montessori student himself, wrote: "I do not think there is a better method than the Montessori to sensitize kids to the beauties of the world and to awaken curiosity about the secrets of life".
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