Weekender Bahrain, Tuesday, July 07 2020

Holistic Parenting

admin 10-Aug-2016

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How to choose the right kindergarten for your child?!

   This last month of summer vacation is your last chance to start thinking about the upcoming academic year. It may seem crazy right? School just got out and you are traveling, heading to malls and on play dates with other families. Well, it is not crazy; actually you should have been done with your research by last March. That is when registration period starts. I will speak here specifically about children between three and five years old, because it is a very crucial period. With so many different kinds of kindergartens and preschools emerging you may have some visiting to do before this upcoming academic year. As I say time and time again, make sure to visit the school and observe, ask questions, take tours, and see if the school is a fit for your children and family.

Always look for a kindergarten that facilitates a natural love for learning, educates the whole child (e.g. doesn’t focus in language and ignore personality development), focuses on the individual child and their potential, and abstains from rewards system which trains the children to achieve for the reward instead of the intrinsic value of learning, possessing a skill, or contributing to their community. By the way, you can find all of these aspects in a Montessori kindergarten!

 Montessori curriculum is named after its creator Dr. Maria Montessori,an Italian doctor of medicine, educator, and visionary, acclaimed for her educational methodology that builds on the way children naturally learn. She opened the first Montessori schoolin Rome on January 6, 1907. There are now over 22,000 Montessori schools in at least 110 countries internationally. 

 Montessori understood that kids are naturally motivated to learn and are eager to explore the world around them. She also thought the child was able of initiating learning in an intentionally created learning environment. Even though known for its solid academic base, the Montessori curriculum is a whole child method that values the emotional, social, physical, and intellectual learning of the child. In Montessori classrooms, the child is the center, which means the room and the day is arranged with the child’s standpoint, needs, and independence in mind. In this peaceful and empowering environment, students find pleasure in learning.

 The Montessori movement started to reach Bahrain since the 80s, and then it began to prosper after the establishment of Bahrain Montessori Centre in the late 90s, since then Montessori preschools and kindergartens started to open, although not as quick as it should be. There are still only few Montessori kindergartens located mostly in the Northern and Capital governorates. Therefore, when I failed to find a Montessori kindergarten for my son in Riffa, I decided to establish one. I called it Al Shorooq Preschool, which means sunshine, it's bilingual, and I hired American and Bahraini teachers who are Montessori trained. This is how important it was for me to enroll my children in a Montessori Kindergarten.

 Furthermore, since that Montessori kindergartens are very difficult to find in Bahrain, it is another reason for you to plan and register early before the seats are full as I mentioned earlier. The first six years of your children's life are essential and irreversible, whatever he experiences and learn during it, will stick on him for life and will directly affect his future. So choose wisely!

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Noora Albinkhalil

She is the Founder and Principal of Al Shorooq Preschool in Riffa. As a working mother, she took it upon herself to offer the safest and most nurturing environment that helps raising her children holistically. She established Al Shorooq Preschool, a children friendly environment that delivers Montessori curriculum. She is the author of several articles on education and management. In addition to writing, she enjoys movie making as a hobby. You can reach her at noora@shorooq-bh.com