BENGALURU: Munira Akhtar, thinks education should be a joy for students and for teachers.
Munira completed her Montessori training from Association Montessori Internationale at Bengaluru two decades ago. Then came a seven-year-long gestation period when she worked as an assistant Montessori trainer. What she really wanted to accomplish was to implement the Montessori methods as an educator and so she became the principal at a school that was purely guided by the ideals she had assimilated.
She says, "During our work with children, I realised that just Montessori techniques were sometimes not enough. I got amazing results with majority of the children but one or two out of 20 children did not respond like others. This made me do a one year-diploma-course in Specific Learning Difficulties and a slight modification and adaptation of the Montessori materials yielded excellent results."
After 15 years as a principal administrator, during which she had conducted orientation workshops for parents and teachers, she decided to take insights gleaned from her experience to more people. She began to travel to places where Montessori training was unheard of. Places like Mysore, Kannur, Ernakulum and Tirur.
Munira says, "I have now formed a team under the name Montessorians United which has like-minded people with the Montessori ideals uniting them. It is our aim to make Montessori available to as many teachers and children as possible. We realised that most of the time, the reason for not having Montessori philosophy in many pre-schools and schools is because of the lack of trained staff."
And because, it is difficult for people to do a one-year Montessori training course, the team has designed and formulated many short and full term flexible courses. Shares Munira, "Our team members will travel to the cities and even other countries where we are needed to conduct the programme. Apart from these regular courses, we have also launched a unique combination of an online and offline programme."
The aim is to clarify the myth that the Montessori method is being 'diluted' if not implemented in a textbook Montessori environment. Munira says, "We believe that a child needs the best methods to assist him/her during the most important and formative phase of development. We feel the schools which do not have the Montessori materials and trained staff should utilise the amazing approach of this method because it can be adapted to all early childhood education environments."
The idea is to nurture a sense of wholeness in the child, foster independence and inculcate the love for learning. Education in the end, says Munira, is not about forming the child but following his or her lead.
To know more about Montessorians United visit www.montessoriansunited.com or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/montessoriansunited