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Education for children is always a major consideration for ex-pats living overseas. Luckily here on Koh Samui there are several great schools where you can ensure you children get the kind of education you wish for them. One school however, is a little different to the rest. On the old Monkey Theatre Soi in Bophut is a Montessori school owned by Mira Celeste. Mira, from California in the USA, came to Thailand five years ago and fell in love with it.
The school came about when as a mother in Samui Mira became very frustrated with the lack of community space for children. She considered leaving Thailand to be in a place where she could find education centers and community space for mothers, children and families but because she was so in love with Thailand she decided to create it here instead. What she has created is a learning environment that is respectful to children and has a high standard of education.
The Montessori style of teaching was created by Maria Montessori, who was always a little ahead of her time. After seven years of engineering training, she began pre-med and, in 1896, became the first female physician in Italy. In her work at the University of Rome psychiatric clinic Dr. Montessori developed an interest in the treatment of special needs children and, for several years, she worked, wrote, and spoke on their behalf. In 1907 she was given the opportunity to study ‘normal’ children, taking charge of fifty poor children off the dirty, desolate streets of the San Lorenzo slum on the outskirts of Rome. The news of the unprecedented success of her work in this Casa dei Bambini ‘House of Children’ soon spread round the world, people coming from far and wide to see the children for themselves. Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom, within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society.
The Montessori School in Samui takes children fifteen months to six years. They have classrooms for toddlers upstairs and for primary school children downstairs. The classrooms are child-scaled and teach isolated concepts in a way that children can grasp. The children are given individual instruction to the materials as they become ready and are then free to choose and work with those materials for as long as they desire. The materials are created and based on children’s natural tendencies and needs and this means that they are excited to use them. The school has mixed age groups to generate social responsibility in older children who learn more by instructing younger children. Younger children in turn are introduced to materials earlier than in main stream schooling and are intrigued by higher subjects enjoyed by their peers. The school’s classrooms are full of colorful education aids that can be felt and touched. There is a plant care area, a geography area with globes and maps, a language area and a practical life area where children can learn valuable life skills.
Montessori Curriculum consists of: Practical life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, Geography and Science, Cooking, Arts & Crafts, Singing and movement, literacy, grace and courtesy and much more. It is one of the most well balanced and rounded programs available to small children.
To find out more about the Montessori School visit http://www.samuimontessori.com/