The world's most popular and progressive Montessori method, Modern Montessori International (London) MMI) has been introduced to Sri Lanka through ANC-MMI, giving pre-schoolers the advantage of a higher rate of development in physical, social, emotional and cognitive areas. Currently practised widely in Singapore and other Asia Pacific countries like India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, MMI lays the foundation for future learning through its inquiry based and child centered Montessori programme.
"The warm and caring environment we have created for our children in our ANC-MMI Montessori in Colombo stimulates development skills and fast tracks a child's progress to reaching his or her full potential," proclaims Principal Mutiara Hoole, whose training and teaching experience enables her to collate and leverage on the synergies of her dedicated team of teachers, to whom the commitment to a child's development and foundation is paramount. "Our method is unique because we make children active learners, investigators of the world around them, curious and interactive. From the youngest of 18 months to those who leave us for primary education at six, we create an environment that stimulates all their senses, faculties, skills and talents."
According to Hoole, because each child is treated as unique, the MMI method prods development at their own pace with different learning styles. "Lessons are conducted on an individual basis or in small groups which means children gain individual attention. The teacher therefore discovers more about the child and his or her pace of development." The curricular is extensive but fun, challenging but stimulating and creative but far thinking. "We have practical life exercises, sensorial education, language, mathematics, culture, field trips, the arts and physical programmes, all aligned to our mission of maintaining the rich Montessori tradition of providing the most up to date and comprehensive courses and child development services based on the Montessori Method of Education," she explains.
General Manager-MMI for ANC Education Holdings Aruni Mahipala believes that ANC-MMI has carved a new road in preschool and Montessori education in Sri Lanka, "and this is something we would like to see expand to other parts of the country too. We are looking at penetrating to the suburbs and also to the larger cities around Sri Lanka, by either acquiring existing Montessoris or establishing our own, so that all children have access to this very progressive foundation in their academic life."
She also mentions that with ANC's input into Montessori arena, children now have a natural path of progression from their formative years into Primary and Secondary education through Wycherley International School which also comes under the ANC umbrella, an international school offering the Cambridge system of education and examinations from Grade 1 through to grade 12. "And because we have ANC which is a higher education institution carrying out degree programme from US, UK and Australia in Sri Lanka affiliated to universities around the world also being in our Group, we are able to groom our students from day one, all through, into career options that make them sustainably employable, suited to their talents and skills."
She also mentions a boon to working parents stating that ANC-MMI will soon extend hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. giving them an option of having their children stay over through the day, enjoying the stimulating environment at the Montessori while also being assured of very high safety and health standards. "Our model is designed around the Singaporean model which is of very high quality and standards are above average. Given that this is ISO 9001:2000 certified and the hallmark of excellence and quality assurance in early childhood education is etched further with the numerous prestigious awards and accreditations including the Singapore Franchise Mark, Singapore Quality Class, Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organisations, CaseTrust for Education, Open & Distance Learning Quality Council (U.K.) and British Accreditation Council (U.K.), I do believe we will build a foundation that will encourage, nurture, develop and create a holistic student ready for the future."
Some of the unique features of the MMI process is the interactive and hands-on nature of the curricular where classroom teaching is done in areas as practical life, sensorial education, communication and language literacy, cultural subjects and creative and imaginative play, all of this is made interesting, fun and creative learning rather than by rote. "The customised workbooks for English and Mathematics for instance are very motivating," informs Hoole. "Then there's the Traveller Palms programme, which gives children a passport to the world literally, where they learn about countries and places in depth, enjoying the food, costumes, cultures and traditions of identified countries. We also have field trips, at least once every fortnight which take children away from the school and where they experience new ideas, new places and new environments. They are encouraged to create their own gardens using the six senses as a concept." While facilities and amenities are of very high standards, Mahipala adds that ANC-MMI will also introduce computers, speech and drama, swimming and an indoor gym to give children much more exciting reasons to be in Montessori.
"To us, the priority is the children," declares Hoole. "And that's why our highly trained teachers are so committed because we are like one large family. Because the teaching is so hands-on, teachers and students bond much more strongly and there's certainly more dedication displayed by the teachers." And to this Mahipala says, "To any teacher who wants to further his or her career in education, the MMI Diploma can be obtained at ANC and this directs a pathway for a Bachelor's or Master's in Education at the University of Middlesex".
The Modern Montessori International (London) located in Havelock Place currently has over 100 students and is growing rapidly. Most of their students have gained admissions to St Thomas', St Peter's Royal, Ladies', St Bridget's, Asian International, CIS, Lyceum and other prominent schools.