Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Speech for school

This was the speech I made at the Parents day celebrations at my children's school - meant every word of it too :)

Hi Everyone, I'm Aparna - mother of Damita and Shehan and I'm here to share my experience as a Siksha parent. My first memory of Siksha is in 2007 Apr when Damita was not even 2 years old, and we were looking for a place where she would not be lost in the crowd and would be looked after well. Well both those thoughts have definitely been achieved much beyond our expectations!



I remember pestering Neetha and Harish to take Damita at 2 years itself, but since that was not possible for Montessori she finally joined at 2 years 5 months. Atlast ! (I felt because both she and I had been going bonkers trying to keep her creatively occupied at home) ! :) The child that joined Siksha knew only a few basic words of english, so much so that I worriedly told Neetha that she might need to speak tamil to communicate with her. And now the same Damita talks about a hundred words a minute and if you ask her to reply in Tamil she’ll say "I don't know Tamil!!" :). She has grown to enjoy school so much that I can hurry her up in the morning by saying "I won't take you to school if you don't get ready on time!". She has always had a great relationship with her Geethanjali aunty who has been a big reason for her enjoying her time at Siksha so much! Thank you so much Geethanjali aunty!


I wanted to mention a couple of things in particular, which are a concern for all Montessori children's parents. The first is about Phonetics. I think this concept is now a lot better known than it was even 3 years back when I heard of it mostly through Damita. But still as parents when we listen to our child saying "a" "buh" "kuh" instead of "a" "b" "c" it almost sounds like they're speaking a foreign language! Not to mention the pressure from all quarters for children to know to recite “ABC” !! But once we get over those initial apprehensions and jump into the process, maybe read up a little about it, or just learn along with your child - it can be a wonderful experience. I had such great fun with it - and because I also wanted to encourage a love of reading in Damita - as soon as she showed an interest in words printed in the newspaper or on magazine covers, we spent a lot of time figuring out the rules of reading using phonetics and I am so proud that Damita is a star reader now!


The other concern that is the biggest thing on our minds is about school admissions. I think this leads to a lot of people pulling out children after just a year or a few months of the Montessori program. But as we have seen with Damita, in 1 year the child has just about started getting the benefits of the Montessori method. As they grow into the second and third years, that is when they get into more complicated concepts in English and Mathematics, and you fill find them learning about them in such interesting ways. Damita spoke of Addition strip board and Rabbits jumping and so many more like that that it just made me wish I had learnt things that way. I definitely never thought children could understand multiplication with such ease! We have reached a stage that I hardly have to help Damita with her homework except when I want to keep track of what she is doing :). Of course there are days when I have to nag her to do it, but what's the fun of being a child without moments like that :). And more and more from a primary school's point of view, I think they are becoming much more aware of the Montessori method and are becoming open to taking children at the 1st std level. We found quite a few options when we looked around, and in a couple more years I'm sure there'll be even more!


And let me not forget to mention the extended session through which the children get exposure to a classroom (with benches and blackboard) kind of environment, and it also makes the parents get creative in packing their lunches as they start having them at school ;).


Damita has been in Siksha for 3+ years now - she joined in Nov 2007 - and we have had no second thoughts about our decision to choose this school. We have also cemented our relationship with Siksha further by admitting our son Shehan in July this year. He also has grown to love his Vini aunty and is enjoying going to school and I'm glad that the experience will continue for him for the next 3 years !! I would like to thank Neetha, Harish, Pratibha, Geethanjali, Vinaya and all the other aunties and also the help staff of Siksha for our wonderful years with Damita and wish you all the vert best for all your future aspirations for the school. Thank you!

8 comments:

  1. And what better endorsement could the school have got? :) I am a big fan of montessori too. Ads went to a montessori for 1 year and my only regret is he could not have gone for a couple more years.

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  2. Thanks Aparna :)

    As a postscript, Damita has now got admission for 1st std to Kumarans so a big sigh of relief all around and thankful that our decision worked out!

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  3. oh wow...congratulations...and good luck!

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  4. wow..heartfelt one..btw why did you choose montesorri over mainstream..i read up on the method of teaching and quite liked the concept but my concern is, will the children find it difficult to cope with the mainstream line later on?

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  5. hi Uma,
    I knew of a couple of children who went through montessori and after researching more, fell in love with the system. The children are given a lot of independence to do their activities, but also learn a lot. My daughter will in fact hopefully find the normal 1st std syllabus quite easy, as she has already done basics of even multiplication/division, and also some hindi and kannada!
    Most schools also work to prepare them for a classroom environment by the time they finish their montessori. So I am quite convinced about the benefits :). Maybe I will write a blog entry in a few months about how Damita is finding 1st std! Do email me at apster@gmail.com if you have any specific questions/doubts and I will be happy to answer.

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  6. hey thanks aparna for the reply..actually, for some reason, your comment in reply to my query did not find its way into my inbox. I just stumbled upon this accidentally today hence my late response. My son is 15 months now, so some more time for me to decide about pre-school. But would like to explore options before finalizing. will surely write to you if I need more info..Will wait for your blog..:-)

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  7. Anonymous3:17 AM

    Hi Aparna,

    Loved all your blogs.I am working mother of 2 children.Son is three and half yrs old and daughter 6months old:)..i have enrolled my son at akshara montessori,sathnur yelahanka branch..will be happy to know feedback abt this school from you..pls share:)

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  8. Thank you Anon :)

    Akshara Montessori, Yelahanka - I am sorry I don't know much information about this specific school, as I stay very far away from this area :(. But if you have looked at their setup and found that they have all the usual montessori work materials, your son will surely have an enjoyable experience!

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