Montessori World

An educational blog for children and adults

If you are working with children from elementary group, you may need this. 0306c8caeb8cec7e486bd556cf02ad72

May 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Words of Advice to Montessori Teachers, from Maria Montessori herself, 1924

I received this link from a WhatsApp group’s message and it has been a constant reminder on the door of my Montessori career. I feel so inadequate in many ways and areas. Becoming a Montessori teacher is a life long journey!

Some Words of Advice to Teachers, 1924 – Maria Montessori

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Poster on Mental Health

I think there should only be one mission in a teacher’s life : to create an emotionally and mentally healthy environment for a community of children.


February 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s Contribute to Malaysia’s Education Policies 2019

To All Malaysians:

Jawatankuasa Dasar Pendidikan Negara (JKDPN) is trying to reach as many citizens as possible to contribute towards the development of education through the formulation and implementation of education Policies.

To this end, JKDPN has met hundreds of stakeholders in Face to Face discussions, Town Hall Meetings, Briefing and syndicate Discourses.

Thus, we are inviting you to also provide feedback and contribute to the betterment of our education system.

What would you like to see change/improve in our education system?

If you’d like to be part of this, please share your recommendations here:

If you prefer a form template, please request by emailing to us here:

Do share this with your friends and family to help us have a comprehensive collection of contributions.

Thank You.
The Secretariat of JKDPN.

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

19th Montessori Europe Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria.

If you wish to attend an international Montessori gathering in the month of October, Association Institute Montessori Bulgaria is  organising a congress in their ancient town of Sofia. The programme includes introduction, keynotes, break-out sessions, workshops, MMUN (Montessori Model United Nation),Teachers’ Workshop and AGM.

I tell my colleagues, co-workers and teachers to always be outstanding, to mingle with the international crowd and to emerge from the rest. Only with this type of confidence they can give their best performance in the classroom environment. So, I will do the same.

There are suggested topics for workshops and paper presentations, although the deadline is over, the topics are good reference to start with for upcoming talks and reflection notes in the school you are working. Do not confine your abilities and knowledge within the boundaries of your own school. Breakthrough the boundaries and make the world to recognise you as one of the invaluable members of the Montessorian community.

Learn more about the congress at:


August 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Welcome to the fairly new space on this blog: CONVERSATION WITH MONTESSORIANS!

CONVERSATION WITH MONTESSORIANS is a place to connect and share thoughts, ideas and experiences, as a result of conversations with Montessori guides, directresses, principals, head teachers, students and children. This is my contribution to the Montessori citizens out there, an appreciative record and recollection of the accounts of Montessorians in Malaysia and throughout the world!

It’s been far too long since I’ve written for this section of the blog. In this third post, let’s connect with the latest addition of Montessorian, who is no exception to the other interviewees as she has a lot to offer to the education world with her skilled and motivated ways in order to promote confidence and kindness among her children, students and team members.

Maladavi N. Thanjappan, 61, knew about Montessori Method of Education when she had her own children in the 1990s in Setiawan Perak. Believing in the philosophy and the system, she studied for the course in Jakarta, gaining a full certification with London Montessori Centre (now known as Montessori Centre International).

After completing her diploma and teaching practice in Damansara Montessori School, Mala started a Kumon centre in 1995. After two years, she and her family moved to Thailand where she worked in a British International School, supervising and shadowing a three-and-a half year old child with autism by designing a programme, communicating with the Department of Special Needs and planning a curriculum with the class teacher.

It was also during this period that Mala’s third and last child, Visha, was diagnosed as a slow learner having delayed development in physical and language areas. (Prior to that, when her child was in Malaysia, she was beaten by her kindergarten teachers because she couldn’t write well, thankfully this experience did not last long but the impact was quite traumatising for her. In Bangkok, when she was 5 years old, her class teacher in an international school, requested for a diagnose to be performed upon observing certain suspicious signs. From that point onwards, Visha has been receiving special treatments and assistances for her needs. Read more about Visha in this interview I had with her for an assignment.)

In 1999, Mala’s personal and professional interest prompted her to complete a distance learning Montessori Special Needs course with Montessori Centre International. A year later, she had the opportunity to work as a trainer with Modern Montessori International and helped to set up a training centre in Bangkok. Unfortunately, after about a year, she had to put her career on hold to recuperate from a surgery in Malaysia.

As a parent, having a child with special needs can be a blessing in disguise. In 2008, Visha had difficulties completing her GCSE due to her delayed developments. Furthermore, Visha who was sixteen years old, also started to develop distorted thoughts which are related to mental health. Turning to Australia’s education policy, especially in the territory of Victoria, which enables a person with special needs to obtain a vocational certificate with appropriate guidance and help, Mala also started to pursue a master’s qualification through a transfer process known as RPL (recognised prior learning). Consequently, in 2010, she obtained a Master of Education from Victoria University (Melbourne, Australia) at the age of 53!

After her Australia’s stint, Mala found her life’s calling in a company which she established in Malaysia, named as Davi Consultant or DC Consultant. Her objective was to share this powerful and beautiful philosophy, pedagogy and methodology, designed by Maria Montessori, to every layer of the community which will eventually learn to appreciate the values by applying the method in their classrooms or communities. It is basically to bring the message to all levels of society despite of culture, hierarchy and economy backgrounds.

“So, I thought if we can help those who have already have knowledge and experiences in the traditional early childhood environment, have accumulated years of classroom management and leadership skills, and what they just need now is the methodology and knowledge of Montessori’s educational method, this course that I’ve created can help them.”

“I know this, for a matter of fact, that there are many teachers, principals and owners of childcare centres and kindergartens who are not prepared to go to college. So, I thought how I can help this type of people. As a result of this, I divided the usual Montessori course into three levels: Level One for age group one and a half year old to 3 years old; Level Two for age group 3 to 5 years old, and  Level Three for age group 5 to 6 years old.”

After training hundreds of teachers from non-Montessori schools and formal qualification, Mala is convinced that the Montessori Method, when broken down into stages can be delivered to any types of teachers who are more adept to hands-on leaning as compared to research-based or theoretical based assessments and examinations. Many schools in the northern and southern regions of Malaysia have transformed their premises to a child-centered and Montessori integrated environments.

Mala’s success stories and testimonials are evident in the non-English speaking crowd who is willing to learn more about Montessori’s educational philosophy and pedagogy, and a marketing team who uses their entrepreneurial skills to design multi-sensory extension materials for schools and parents.


What advice do you have to cheer on teachers and owners of Montessori schools?

“Each school has their own uniqueness and creativity. One school will not be the same as the other, because the people in the school are the one who is going to make the school as it is. A school’s success is dependent on its identity, values and missions, which are all reflected in the high level of passion for the teaching career and children.” This sense of empowerment involves Mala to remodel a school by getting involved in the renovation and preparation of the materials in the indoor and outdoor environment, reducing teachers’ paperwork, inspiring teachers to plan and design extension materials and conducting meetings to inform parents about the purpose of the change in the school (before and after implementation period). “With proper coaching and mentoring, teachers are also urged to communicate and build trust with parents through empathy, compassionate and assurance by providing fact-based observations and knowledge on child development.”

Mala suggests that three parenting workshops are held each year to create awareness among parent about the education of Montessori method, so that they understand the curriculum and this will surely reflect on the school’s positive image as a school that cares and helps the community. Some parents may also take a step ahead to understand the changes that may happen in their home, with their children, which sprout from the child’s experience in the school.


Looking after her last child who requires special care and psycho-pharmaceutical treatments have added extra meaning to Maladavi’s life, leading her to work closely with Malaysia’s Mental Health Association in giving workshops on caregiving and motivational talks for children and parents. She has also successfully established a centre for children who typically need support in the area of emotional, mental and social development to come together as a member of a community and family. At the centre, the children are free to explore and discover themselves through art therapy, stone therapy, zentangle, stone art mandala, paintings and drum/musical community circle. “I’ve seen children who are burned out and loss interest and focus in studies and life itself. Some were even caned or beaten by their teachers in school. They come to the center simply to be themselves and be happy.” (This special centre has been closed since December last year. Mala hopes to re-establish this type of centre and is looking for sponsor for this project.)


When asked to choose to be a colour among the rainbow, she was attracted to violet because it represents clarity, purity and absorbs negativity. It is certainly impossible to wear her hats and be in her shoes without positivism in her life.

Life is not a piece of cake but a mixture of certain ingredients which are chosen to be put into the oven through heat and pressure. Maladavi has been a baker of many cakes in this lifetime and she wishes to do more for the educators in this country by feeding them the ingredients from the pedagogy of Montessori Method. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s famous saying “To be the change”, Mala would like to continue to build an informed and educated community through a team of dedicated and self-sufficient team members of her companies, DC Consultant and MDC training consultant.  That is her only mission in this later stage of her life.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Montessori Jamming Session presented by Montessori Association of Malaysia.

My obsession with Montessori transcends age group and limitations of curriculum (and soon it will cross borders between countries too).

In this session, which I have created and arranged on behalf of Montessori Association of Malaysia, involves two entrepreneurial, ambitious and charismatic youths who are eager to make a difference in the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people. This Sat, 30 June, Gaithri and Janakar will facilitate a community drum circle with drums and percussions. They will also introduce and talk about their future project which includes opening a venue for young people with special needs.

After their session, I will facilitate a dialogue session with attendees on the theories and applications of Dr Montessori and Dr Piaget. For me, this will be a challenging session because it is a participant-centered activity as opposed to a presenter-centered one. Participants are required to be actively involved before and during the discussion, especially those who are teachers and have prior knowledge about the pedagogy of teaching from various theorists and practitioners. If Montessori teachers believe strongly that life-long learning is part of their professionalism, this is the space where they can come together, brainstorm and analyse the path of high quality teaching and learning. (Meanwhile, I am scouting for an experienced senior professional to advise on the knowledge of learning theories.)

If you have been following my blog, this is the best time to meet me and other educators as we chat obsessively about the only topic we love – education and children. See you at Desa Sri Hartamas this Saturday!

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Welcome to the fairly new space on this blog: CONVERSATION WITH MONTESSORIANS!

CONVERSATION WITH MONTESSORIANS is a place to connect and share thoughts, ideas and experiences, as a result of conversations with Montessori guides, directresses, principals, head teachers, students and children. This is my contribution to the Montessori citizens out there, an appreciative record and recollection of the accounts of Montessorians in Malaysia and throughout the world!

In this second post, let’s connect with a veteran Montessorian who is also an AMI graduate: Siti Nora Abdul Manaf.

It was in 2015 that I first met Siti during a tour to Bangalore, India to visit Montessori schools with a group of Montessorians from Malaysia. Siti was the co-organiser of the tour. She appeared to be strict, sullen and completely not the type whom one can spark a conversation immediately. However, a conversation with her and another senior Montessorian in the room where we were staying changed my perception of Siti and proved me absolutely wrong of her first impression. I still remember the most profound impression of her after the first long conversation is that she is strict but she can smile, joke and talk about anything by adorning immaculate words to it. Moreover, she was one of the earliest batches of AMI-trained teachers in Malaysia. One of the rarest, one of the Malaysian gems who is still breathing, working and training about Montessori education. So, I promised myself that after that educational trip, I will interview her for a post in my blog.

Siti first learned about Montessori from her brother’s friend’s wife who was also a Montessorian. After working as an accounts clerk for almost a decade and seeing not much prospect and interest in it as a career, her brother proposed and co-sponsored her to take up the AMI Montessori course.

In 1981, Siti pursued the AMI Diploma 3-6 in Hyderabad, India, where she met another fourteen equally enthusiastic and excited future Montessorians under the tutelage of Mr.R.S.Swamy, who taught the lesson on Montessori Philosophy. All the observations were done by Miss Taraporewalla,( who was trained by Dr. Maria Montessori herself),  at Taraporewalla House of Children. “Miss Taraporewalla watches over her students like a hawk, standing in front or behind us, without saying anything.” Students do their learning observation sessions in the morning until 1pm. After that, they practised with the materials about two to three hours before taking a break of two hours. At 7pm, they continued with class lecture with Mr.Swamy. Classes are conducted every day Mon-Sat, with Sunday being a day for them to rest, refresh and revise.

Want to listen to the old school system on how lessons are delivered: “There were no hand-out notes. No point of putting down the notes, and don’t understand. These lecturers, they don’t expect you to write, they expect you to listen. You understand then you write it down. Presentation also doesn’t have notes. Watch the children and do it yourself. Then, the teacher says this is how you do it. Then you go back and analyse and look at your own way of doing it.”

At that time, Siti had doubts about her decision to take up the course because she found it to be very tough, too much of practical, note-less and she could hardly understand Mr.R.Swamy’s strong Indian accent. It took Siti and her classmates about one month to adapt to the strong Indian accent and his words. Besides him and Miss Taraporewalla, there were Miss Dey, the tutor and Meenakshi, the examiner who assessed their practical sessions and checked on their notes, assignments and essays.

After a year of stringent, exciting and tough times alike of completing the course, Siti worked at a spastic centre in Petaling Jaya for two years. And as the saying goes, if you have studied a Montessori course, you can brazen yourself to work anywhere at all including at a special needs centre.

When there was an opportunity to accompany her brother and his family, to Wisconsin, USA, Siti went on the bandwagon and was fortunate to attend many human development classes in the University of Madison. Her knowledge about child psychology and behaviour modification patterns expanded. She was equally impressed by the operation of a day care centre which was managed mostly by parents in conducting programmes for babies and very young children.

Upon returning from US after her sister-in-law’s completed her studies, Siti opened her first day care centre, My Tree House Of Children, her style and her way, the Montessori way in 1986, at Datok Keramat, Ampang, Selangor. Her very young niece was her first student. The first area she set up in the centre was the Practical Life and Early Sensorial area, in which the materials were mostly prepared and made by her and a carpenter. There was no Montessori manufacturer or shops at the time and carpentry work was cheaper to hire.

There is certainly a bright flame to teach, nurture and care for young children in Siti, which all parents can see when they send their children to her centre. Siti admits that somehow she understands children and they approach her naturally even after they have grown up into young adults with their own families. The lack of a child-friendly and child-centered educational place during the mid-1980s was also a large factor for her to set up her own centre so that her nephews and nieces can have a suitable place to go to during their kinder-years.

[Siti shared something that resonates with my concept of a school appearance too, that a kindergarten or early years centre need not be bright with colourful and fluorescent colours. In fact, a plain and pastel colour is the best combination of hues for optimum teaching and learning to take place. There is a whole load of articles and research written on this premise alone. For us Montessorians, the concept is pretty straightforward and simple. The idea of the environment is to allow smooth ‘communication’ between the child and the material as no to let any other agents or factors in the environment, like the coloured wall, shelves, mats or even teachers to interfere with the internal and cognitive learning process of the child.]

After nearly three decades, Siti opened her second school in 2015, in SS17, Subang Jaya and another new one to be opened in the very near future. For a person who chooses quality over quantity, her advice to future Montessori school owners is, “…you have to persevere, expect for the worse and your pocket must be very deep, because for at least three years you will see a lot of expenditure than earnings.” Siti motivates herself to strive ahead in this business by looking at her batches of children who are now adults with their own families and offsprings. “My first batch of graduates is in their 30s and has finished their tertiary education. My niece is 31. Seeing them growing up to the person they have become today, tells me that what I am doing with the school is right.” And if you have any doubts about your journey as a Montessorian, or just feel exhausted at the end of the day, Siti strongly suggests going for a holiday and come back recharged and rejuvenated.

Another aspect of being a Montessori educator is to guide parents to understand Montessori’s philosophy of education and her method. Siti emphasises on parental talks. “We have two talks in a year for the branch in Subang, and one talk a year in the KL branch.” The talk is a-day programme for parents to understand the journey which the children experience daily in a Montessori classroom. Siti also mentions about the 3-year developmental plane when the child is attached to a single teacher for three to four years.

“We also explain to the parents that we don’t have concert in this school. We have presentation and observation day for the parents to have an idea of the learning outcomes of the children in the school.” Through their own observation and the children’s presentation, parents will realise that not only children do academic or subject learning, but they participate voluntarily in art and performance, in order to develop confidence and self-concept. Ultimately, parents also have a general understanding of why children do not develop addition operational skill within a few months until they have a good understanding of the concept of addition through repeated practices with concrete materials.

Teachers play a very important in every child’s learning process. Knowing the importance of this, Siti provides in-house training for her assistant teachers. “The head teacher is certified and trained. When it comes to interview new teacher or trainees, I always ask this question: Do you love children or do you enjoy working with children? If they say they love children, that’s not the candidate. You can’t be loving children all the time. If they say I enjoy working with children, and be with children, then that is the right candidate.” To build a close relationship with her teachers, Siti has personal talks with them, whether in the school, during dinner, or for a weekend outing.

I asked  Siti a quick rounds of topics related to Montessori:

On working around themes:  “No. We really do Montessori. We don’t talk about themes because it breaks the Montessori cycle. That’s not Montessori. If you look at Montessori, it covers everything under a theme.”

On observing: “I told the teachers in Subang, you should not be sitting with the child from the time they come in until the time they go home. Just sit at one corner and just watch. If they need help, make sure they come to you. You don’t go to them. They must come to you. Try to do that and it really works. I go to Subang and I observe. The teachers are always there and everywhere. I said no. It’s not necessary to be there and everywhere. We should look invisible in the environment, it’s about the children, it’s not about you. Sometimes it takes two years for them to understand and improve on observational skills.”

On knowledge about the materials on the shelf: “ I tell my staff the theory behind it. I‘m not going to teach you how to use a material. You need to understand the theory, if you do not want to change, you are not meant to be in this school. I only want people who is willing to change because Montessori teachers are adaptable, if you think it is too difficult, you have to leave. I’m strict with my teachers and parents.”

On the most memorable Montessori moment: “A 7-year-old boy told his mum that “I dont want to be number one.” Mum asked “Why”. “I only want number 7. Nobody wants number 7. Too many people are fighting to be number one.” I think he’s trying to say why are you fighting over something that is so difficult to get? This same boy told his mum “Can I take a break from school?” Mum asked “Why?” “You know my head can only take that much information, I can learn so much. Now it’s full, can I take a break?” He also told his teacher that he doesn’t want to join Sukaneka (sports event). Teacher called mum to asked  why. Mum asked him and he said “All they do is run around. They are not doing anything.” The teacher respected his opinion. He is the only one who told the teacher and didn’t join the sukaneka.  I told the mum to let him be as long as he is not rude. We allow our children to have their own opinion most of the time. These are the things that make me continue to teach.

“There is this one boy, one of the earliest batches, I got invited to their weddings nowadays. The wife thanked the mum-in-law for a good husband, the mum said go and thank Mat Tam (Siti’s friendly name). And the wife and husband came and see me to thank me. I always bump into my students. They call at 1130am/12pm to have lunch. My school is at the ground floor and I stay at the top floor. The one who has a baby boy wants to register for 2019. In one family I have 4 generations coming to my school. That my school has made such an impact in other people’s lives.”

On her daily schedule in school:  “At the end of the day, the morning before that, you prepare the environment.

730am: Open school. Cook lunch by myself. Children have lunch before they go home. I have my meal schedule for a week. I know what to cook and the recipes. I don’t believe in other people cooking my children’s food. Too salty,  too sweet, too oily. It’s better that I do it myself.

8-9am: Children start coming in. Like all Montessorian children, once they come in they start to work. Breakfast is their choice- bread, biscuit, cereal (Kellog brand). Jam is San Dalfour. If I don’t like that brand, I’m not going to serve it to the children.

9-12pm: Work cycle. Teacher must know when to give work of the next level to the children, such as memory and extension activities.

10am: They can play and we never stop them from playing. It’s always about 30-45 minutes. They go out for fresh air. Short break, then one small group activity, group presentation like storytelling, for them to take a breather, calm down, then continue work. In between, they will have snacks, can bring from home, anytime they want, takes about 5-10 minutes.

On her most memorable Montessori quotes: “The hand is the extension of the brain. The hand is the instrument of the intelligence.”


So, at the end of the interview, there’s one question left to be answered: How old do you reckon Siti will be this year? Do the maths and answer in the comment. <Big Smiley Face>


*Past interview with: Aisha Abdullah.


May 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Montessori Article (Free to Download)

Do you know there’s a new publication on the internet that is related to Montessori education and is free to download? I get a tad bit excited when there is something Montessori to read and it is absolutely at no charges at all. Yea, I have to repeat that many times!

The great thing about this publication is that it can be shared with your other colleagues or students to ignite some discussion during meetings or classes, and how to improve the teaching and learning experience in the Montessori environment. Currently, there are four publications available that tackle different major issues relevant to Montessori education. Choose one of your preference at

MOntessori Public image.jpg

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tuition Classes by Me.

I offer home tuition classes to early years and primary school children. Occasionally, I also give English tuition classes to secondary children and adults too.

Last month, I had the opportunity to offer tutoring service to a child with delayed learning difficulties. My philosophy of transmitting knowledge is not just about giving that knowledge and skill to read, write and count, I would also like to make a difference and change the student’s lifestyle and thinking pattern. I want my presence as an educator/educationist to make an impact in a student’s life for a long term. I am not saying that I want the students to remember me as the ‘fabulous educator’ who makes a ‘fabulous revolution’ in their lives. I want to make that change and impact that will revolutionize the thinking and creating process of a student towards success, which arrives as a result of their own manipulative and independent thinking and observation. The student will arrive at that destination by their own means and judgement. I’m only the guide who appears when I’m needed.

Due to my universal perspective of education and educating, I always make sure to plan learning sessions which contain hands-on learning materials.

To begin the class which started during Chinese New Year (CNY) period, I prepared a CNY kit for my special child. The picture speaks volume so I’m not going to elaborate on the content of the kit.

What is more important is how do I use the kit for introductory learning and extended variation  activities and lessons to sustain and quench the student’s quest and desire to the self-learning process.

This is what I do as a tutor for student of all ages. The process is complex and lengthy. If you want to know more about it or witness the process of learning that goes on in my sessions, just give me a shout by leaving a comment or pm me via Facebook. I can’t wait to leave a mark in a student’s life.

March 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment