Sunday, April 14, 2013

{Islamic Montessori series} Islam + Montessori?

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

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Welcome to my second post in a series of posting regarding educating the (Muslim) child using the Montessori method 

What is Montessori Method and how can we relate it to Islam?

The founder of the Montessori method of education was Maria Montessori. In 1896 she qualified as Italy's first woman doctor. As a result of her pioneering work in the slums of San Lorenzo, she subsequently directed her energies towards education and opened her first school there in 1906. Her educational philosophy quickly became internationally acclaimed and is now known worldwide.

The Montessori “method” is an exceptional system which introduces unique ideas to children utilising materials, teaching them new concepts in an independent yet structured environment; establishing learning situations where peer interaction plays a crucial role in conveying and reinforcing the concepts being taught; and accomplishing all of this in a way that is, to the children, incredibly FUN!

 The Montessori method nurtures the natural instincts of a child in cultivating the child’s own desire to learn, harmoniously blends with the Islamic view of a child’s fitrah. MachAllah!

Montessori makes no reference to any religious dominations so you can easily intregrate the Montessori methodology and Islamic values. The combination of the two will help the little ones to be good Muslims and kind Human beings.

Fostering the firta in education

 Fitra is an Arabic term that means the innate and beautiful essence of the human being that seeks virtue and is in harmony with the natural and spiritual world. In the Islamic world view, each baby is born on the pure fitra. Further, Islamic teachings are meant to be compatible with the fitra and are designed to cultivate it to a character of excellence. To match human nature, Islam provides a “middle way”: both balanced and moderate. As educators attempting to foster the fitra, we believe that we should not impose an artificial order to the child's life, but unlock their innate virtue—since within them are already the seeds of integrity and intellect. A gardener does not attempt to force a seed to change into the shape of a tree, but rather provides a fertile environment and lets it grow. Similarly, the child needs to be provided with resources, inspiration, guidance and companionship to self-actualize. The Montessori Method has proven to produce great results by tapping this inner potential and emphasizes self-direction and creativity.

Montessori philosophy echoes Islam’s focus on learning through reality by leading the child to understand his or her place in the “cosmos”. It also resonates with Islam’s focus on developing the innate human inclination to virtue and intellect. Thus, reconciling them did not require force-fitting either one to the other as they are mutually compatible. Rather, it required thinking deeply about how Montessori principles and methods correlate with teachings in Islam and then weaving them together into one harmonious whole.

How to intregrate Montessori and Islamic Education? 

Parents can customize the Montessori class plan with a blend of Islamic values, add an Arabic language class and a Quran recitation class to daily class time with a dedicated Arabic teacher.

Emphasis the Creator Allah and HIS creations, the five pillars of Islam, daily basic Masnoon dua’s. Five Pillars of Islam The story time activity of Montessori can be replaces with stories from the Quran and of the Prophets. Lessons and examples taught by the Prophets (peace be upon hiùm). Field trips to the zoo and or nature walks will be related to the creation of Allah Ta’ala. Emphasis can be given to the Islamic Holidays by explaining to the children the purpose of that holiday.For instance, planned activities during the month of Ramadan and mock Haj, explaining the significance and importance.Character development activities to inculcate fairness, morality and responsibility. Richly diverse student body and emphasis on mutual respect.

We as parents are held to a higher standard by the words of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him):

  • ” Verily, God decreed ihsan (excellence) on eveyrthing" (Sahih Muslim)

  • Verily, God loves when anyone of you takes on an endeavor that he perfects it”  (Bayhaqi) 

  Thus, our endeavors to guide ourchildren in developing excellent characters should itself be excellent. and

 A vision on the world 

I believe that knowledge of the world and religion are compatible and intertwined, and therefore, we make no artificial distinction between secular and sacred knowledge. When we teach our children math, science, language, and other subjects, we are teaching students about Allah’s creation. Children grow not to see religion and God as a separate part of their lives, but as a way of looking at the world that permeates everything in the universe. Therefore, I'm *trying* to use Montessori method in combination with Islamic studies to teach my children. So stay tuned in for our adventures ....

If you've the first -- just click here!

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