In the multitude of methods applied in working with children with developmental disorders in our school is the Montessori method. The award I received with the recognition of the Best Educator of Serbia in 2014 I used to purchase and equip a classroom designed for the implementation of the Montessori program. This is the realization of one of my desires. Namely, a few years ago I attended the basic and advanced Montessori program, and we did not have the means to equip a classroom for its implementation. The school provided space, and the funds from the prize were welcomed to complete the program and thus achieved my goal. This classroom in the school is only intended for use by this method and is equipped with the teaching tools used in such work. Mostly they taught (we do not call them toys, although they mostly resemble toys) that are applied in mathematics, but they can also be used in other teaching subjects and skills. In addition to those purchased through shopping, a part of the learning can be built on its own. The pupils of the older classes in our country make them out of cardboard and other materials that they process through teaching.
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) appeared in Italian education when the system of education was alienated from contemporary social life. Unfortunately, this system has not changed much in the national school system today. Montessori has managed to embody the basic starting point of contemporary pedagogy - we do not need to teach the child's mind "but to help him develop himself." Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times - 1949, 1950, and 1951. France awarded her the Order of the Legion of Honor, and she is also the winner of several honorary doctorates of the most important Universities in the world. She has written over 50 books and handbooks on the topic of education and upbringing of children. They have been translated into the Serbian language from childhood to adolescence and absorbing mind.
The essence is that Montessori Pedagogy believes that a child from birth to his sixth year has a "absorbing mind" and that this ingenious possibility of mental absorption allows children to learn their mother tongue, perfect body movements and adopt certain rules.
Montessori quickly realized through the work with children that the natural development of children comes only if children spend time in an environment that supports such development. In this case, children have the power to educate themselves. Later, she called this process self-education (auto-education). It defined seven pillars of self-education applicable to both children and adults who want to be creative and self-motivated:
- lifelong learning.
In working with adolescents, Montessori recommended the "Erdkinder method" based on recognizing the special features of adolescence and focusing on understanding human connectivity and interdependence with nature.
More about Montessori's method and self-education online: http://samoobrazovanje.rs/montesori-metoda/ , and http://www.montesori.org.rs/specijalna-pedagogija–brosura/montesori-metod-i-specijalna-pedagogija .
The application of the Montessori method in our schools is, it could be said, only at the beginning. It is a little more represented in pre-school institutions, as well as in schools for children with disabilities where it has its place. The reason for this is likely that curricula and programs for several grades of elementary and secondary school, that is, the material prescribed by them, are less suitable for this method, on the one hand, and require much more preparation for teaching this method on the other pages.
In our school it is applied in the younger classes and in the teaching of mathematics in the older classes. The children we work with have developmental disabilities, their opinion is concrete, they want to see everything, hear, touch, smell, taste ... So they are based on the basic sensation while their abstract thinking is foreign. The main advantage of this method is that using appropriate learning children engage their senses of hearing, hearing, touch ... and in that way they adopt concepts (specifically in my work - mathematics).
What Montesori's teaching method is like in our school can be seen in the following movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTHyhaoot1A
When we equiped the classroom, our goal was to have the program and learning "in a slightly different way" attended by students, younger and older ages of our school, as well as students from other schools. Unfortunately, lack of space and two-shift work does not allow students to use the classroom from regular schools. For now, they are used by those students who come to our school for additional assistance and support from teachers in individual subjects or with professional associates. Montessori material produced by students of our school was also shown to other schools and teachers, at events such as the May Month of Mathematics and Igromat in Nis and appropriate exhibitions at school, town, school ...