ICSE or IB? Play-based or Montessori?
Let me first introduce myself, I have been an educator having worked in varied curriculum’s such as ICSE, CIPP, IB, IGCSE and Montessori.
Most often as an educator I come across parents debating upon which method is better for the child. The struggle with admissions is a never ending process. It all begins with preschool years and is carried forward to formal schooling. Being guided by different people on different education systems, the education jargon’s, it all leads to a complete confusion.
Education in modern times, as much as it is progressive, it has also become a business hub. Educators themselves are confused about methodology and most often they call it a mix of methods. In my opinion, there is no such thing as mix, its like providing a mix of tea and coffee to make a new beverage.
An education system, to be a quality one has to have a base with some strong and ever lasting principles, be it ICSE or IB, Play-based or Montessori. The education systems have to focus on a single method to do justice to its philosophy.
So now the question arises that how do we know which method is better?
Any education system is the best for your child if it meets the following criterion:
Experiential learning-Your child should be able to learn by doing, in other words hands-on activities. You may have heard of the famous saying “Tell me I forget, show me I remember, let me do it and I understand”. Involving kinesthetic learning into the classroom has proved to be the most successful, as it ensures enduring understanding of concepts. A lot of learning actually happens with real-life experiences, therefore children should be kept as close to natural surroundings as possible.
Multi modal ways- As goes the theory of Harvard Gardner on multiple intelligence’s, each one of us have different learning styles. Unless a school cannot recognize the kind of learner your child is, it will never be able to provide the child with experiences worthy of his/her capacity.
Real and rich experiences- A child can only connect and relate to the world around him if the materials offered to him are real and have some significance. The child can then work with and apply his/her understanding to the outside world.
Encourage development of skills- Education will remain as a dormant bank of knowledge unless you possess the skills to apply it in the appropriate way. Therefore, life skills such as independence, thinking, motor skills, communication, questioning and social skills are a crucial part of any academic institution.
There goes a famous Chinese proverb; Give a man a Fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to Fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Student/teacher ratio- This is extremely crucial for optimum development of children. Each school’s student/teacher ratio will vary depending on the nature of activities offered. So a ratio between 1:8 or 1:10 is a reasonable one.
Development of values- We live in a society and interaction with people around us is a daily affair. Therefore values such as sharing, extending a helping hand, showing empathy, tolerance, and respect are key elements that should be implicitly and explicitly taught in schools.
Non-competitive set ups- As much as we would like to prepare our children for the real world, non-competitive, pressure free methods are the best. Each person you may know may have a quality better than you. This is a case with every human we meet, then why the competition? We have to learn to appreciate the qualities that are unique within our own child.
We as parents must choose what is the best for our child’s development. Let us all get out of this rigmarole, as “Life is not a race but a journey to be savored each step of the way”.