Montessori World

An educational blog for children and adults

A story for Yoga for Kids class.

A story for my Yoga for Kids class. What human values can you gather from here? Why do you think the child doesn’t bring any food? How do you think you can help this child? <What other extension questions or activities can you think of for this lesson?>


February 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Montessori Conferences Around The World

I have added a new link on my blog under the title ‘Montessori Conferences Around The World’. You are invited to add more information of Montessori conferences in your country by leaving a comment at the end of this post. Hope you get to nourish your mind with knowledge and experiences from other Montessorians around the globe.

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cultural Studies in a Montessori Curriculum

The most interesting and most flexible area in a Montessori classroom, Cultural Studies, provides opportunities for children to explore and discover nature (through subjects such as Zoology and Botany) and attempt to understand the culture of the world (through Geography, History, Art & Craft and Music & Movement).

It is said that in the beginning, Cultural Studies was not included in the Montessori curriculum. According to Barbara Isaacs, Chief Education Officer of Montessori St. Nicholas Charity(2003, Montessori International magazine, pg. 10-12), only when Maria Montessori went to India during the Second World War, did she observed the appreciation and awareness of nature by looking after plants in the classroom, growing plants and caring for pets. Together with her son, Mario, they worked together on the concept of Cosmic Education, the foundation of values which becomes the base of our work with children. The Cosmic Education or Cosmic Plan provides a framework that helps the older children to seek for more complex questions such as “Who am I?”, “Where do I come from?”, “Why am I here?” or “How can I help others?”.

Many educators find Cultural Studies a difficult area to develop as they find it challenging to prepare a flexible and ‘living’ area of learning. This is particularly ambitious if we were to prepare resources to capture the children’s interests and imagination. Are there any hard and complex rules to abide to? Certainly no strict and hard-to-bend rules. A few simple strategies and principles would be helpful as a reminder when preparing resources for the 3-6 years old children:

  1. OBSERVE the child: Take note of their interests and real experiences inside and outside the classroom. Eavesdrop on their conversations with friends and with other adults. Take pictures or audio record if writing tools are not accessible to you. Make sure to jot the dates on all the occurrences.


[Teachers are the players in this chess game. Children are like the pieces on the chessboard, but alive, independent and free to move]


  1. Add and DEVELOP materials on the shelves or tables: Create materials from natural resources such as leaves, wood, bamboo, sticks, wool or stones. Hand-made and well-crafted new equipment or materials will definitely entice children as compared to plastic or other artificial toys. Make sure to change the materials at least every month or as when is needed to feign the children’s curiosity. If possible, invite local artists and craftsmen to make furniture and materials for you.

tadika unimap montessori corner3 copyrightI

  1. INTER-DISCIPLINARY teaching and learning: This simply means that whatever materials which are prepared on the shelves can include practices from other learning areas such as Practical Life or Sensorial. For example, children who are getting to know about Paricutin Volcano, one of the subjects of Seven Wonders of the World, would surely love to do the experiment of volcanic eruption with baking soda and vinegar by themselves. They also get to repeatedly practice on transferring and pouring skills, refine their visual and olfactory senses, and receive a general introduction of science knowledge of the properties of acid and alkaline chemicals.

Image result for montessori volcano experiment

(Source from Internet)

Cultural Studies offers a good opportunity for Montessori teachers to make the classroom area an attractive and lively place of hands-on learning. This is one of the best ways of implementing inter-related curriculum using current topics and themes that are relevant to children’s lives.

Now, let’s ponder: What is the lesson plan for Cultural Studies that you would prepare for next week’s learning experience?

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Inserting Pipe Cleaner activity – for ages 20 months to 3 years

Committed to creating a humble and sustainable environment, it feels good to be able to design an activity for the very young ones in a Montessori environment!

This activity is prepared for the age range of 20 months to 3 years, with the objective of developing eye-hand coordination, strengthening small muscles, enhancing fine motor skills and building a better pincer grip and stronger finger dexterity.


The materials for this activity can be found around us. What are they:

  • White plastic bottle
  • Pipe cleaners

Use a hammer and a nut to make the holes on the bottle. The nut should be able to make a hole large enough to insert the pipe cleaner.  I’ve made five holes on this bottle.

Then, I make a black circle around each hole so that the holes are easily visible to the child. I also make a loop at one end of the pipe cleaner so that the child can grip the pipe cleaner with ease.

This is how the activity looks like as an end product.

Do you know what is the Control of Error for this activity?

December 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Book Swap 2017

Book Swap and Book Sale at a comfortable and down-to-earth dwelling place, probably with local ice-cream at a corner.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tic-Tac-Toe Rocks.

There are several tree stumps, previously belong to tall and large trees, in the school’s garden. Every day children love to stand on them and pretend to be pirates or some types of group leaders. I love the stumps because they give me extra height, making me feel like I’m ready to give a speech to the public.

Then, one day, during a chalk-drawing session, I took a chalk and was doodling on the garden’s cemented floor. But the ground’s colour just buried the colours of the chalk. So, I take the chalk to the stump and started to make lines. It feels like I’m drawing on a blackboard.

The lines formed the platform for Tic-Tac-Toe. So, I put the painted stones (ladybirds and bees) in a beautiful Japanese tin and showed the older children how to play with this game.

The younger children were happy to simply touch, feel and look at the brightly painted stones. Their activity is simple, just put one stone in one box, unless if there’s an extra stone, they can choose to put in one of the boxes.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rock painting.

Painting rocks is another fun activity, other than colouring books or canvas painting. Rocks are free but not easily available from where I come from. Rocks are also recyclable like a canvas. If you don’t like what you paint, you can still repaint it white or black, and start all over again.

On a calm weekend, I like to conduct activities for/with my mother and friends. Not so long ago, mum, Wendy (my friend) and I spend one morning doing rock painting at an educational institution. It was a very relaxing and meaningful way for us to spend our time together, besides devouring the nasi beriani and mango lassi that comes after that.

*Thank you to Vengene, a kindergarten principal and an ex-university mate, for coincidentally passed by and helped to take the photos above.

Wendy, mum and I cherish this moment forever, and if you would like to capture a rock-painting session together with the senior citizens or young children, we can arrange for a meetup to gain this therapeutic and relaxing moments together.


September 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Video – Raising A Wild Child

Yes, that’s me! Trying to make a decent living out of plucking and eating apples in the orchard. No! Just kidding.

When I first saw apples on the tree, red and green ones, it was one of my AHA moments. For me, able to pluck a fruit from a tree and consume it immediately, is a gift given by Nature to all living beings. A little bit like the birds and the bees flying abundantly in the fruit garden.

Connecting with Nature is an extremely important education in order for us to love, protect and conserve this planet. I guess it’s the only important way to raise a child who will one day grow to be a world citizen, that is by giving them the opportunity to move and play in the outdoors, especially natural ones like climbing a rock or tree, and playing with water at the brook or stream.

Watch this video if you want to join other parents in giving your children the best education of all!

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monthly Montessori Reflection on TED Educational Talks

Topic 1 Sir Ken Robinson

I am sure many of us here are big fans of TED talk. Just to whet the curiosity of a few or many, TED = Technology, Entertainment, Design, providing short but powerful talks by people, novices and experts, from different disciplines and backgrounds.

I am personally attracted to TED talks a few years ago and have saved a collection of talks on my laptop. Listening to the talks, I gain invaluable insights and perspectives that change my day to day opinion and activities. Now, I would like to share the talks from people who has made changes in many people’s lives with fellow Montessori educators, especially to relate to more effective teaching and learning activities in the environment.

As a start, I will share this talk with the teachers in my school. This is conducted by answering self-reflective questions before watching the video, and a discussion of an action plan or implementation on the teaching methods or personal development upon watching the talk.

Here, I would also like to invite other educators to attend this talk at an agreed venue and discuss about how we can benefit from the recordings of TED talk. Should you have anything to comment regarding this TED talk session, please feel free to do so here. Let’s hope for a brighter future for the younger generation!

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Welcome to the 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!

To start off this space, my first interviewee is Aisha Zanariah Abdullah, the current President of Montessori Association of Malaysia.

ME: There are no cliffs to jump here. So, shall we jump straight to the questions?

AISHA: Yes sure.

ME: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Aisha calls herself an educator at first, who likes to do good, for and with children, through the daily activities and projects. A self-acclaimed alcoholic, she can’t seem to not to do anything at all, calling herself ‘kaypohchi” or Malaysian way of calling another person ‘busybody” or nosey, which also literally means ‘a body who is always busy’. Her motto in life is to do good for the children and make it a priority for them, by focusing on human development, that is by believing that every individual is given a fair choice to perform and to achieve excellent through an impactful and influential environment.

A lawyer as her first qualified professional vocation upon graduating from England, Aisha runs a Montessori centre now. Her experience in practising law helps her in manoeuvring her ways in the things that she wants to do, spurring the direction towards being an advocator for children, always looking out for children, identifying their rights, needs and interests. She could have been a child lawyer in another life too.

Starting with her first born son and not having a clue about parenting skill, she did the inevitable of studying and obtaining Diploma in Montessori ‘just for the knowledge’. Opportunity knocked on her door when she had her second child. The temptation to open a school was too great to resist as Aisha could be with her children and practiced the Montessori methodology simultaneously, Thus, began Aisha’s journey into the business and world affairs of early childhood or early years with the birth of her first school 18 years ago. Now, Sri Kayangan Montessori provides Montessori education to children aged 2 ½  to 15 (preschool, elementary and middle school) and continuous education to international schools and IGCSE examinations.

Another hat that Aisha wears is a Montessori trainer for primary and elementary level offered by Montessori Education World Institute (MWEI).

ME: How do you find time to perform under all those hats that you are donning?

AISHA: Have a good SOP.

[Guess what is that.]

SOP or Standard Operating Procedure, yes, a term usually found in a working environment, is a method that is applied in the daily routines of Aisha. The first thing she asks herself every morning is what is the most important thing that you have done this morning? What good things have you asked your children at home and at school, and your staff to do today? Prioritize is the strategy. And children are the top list priority of that strategy. This simply means that she would not hesitate to release a staff, if he or she appears to be detrimental, hazardous or harmful to a child’s emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive development.

ME: When do you find time for yourself?

AISHA: When I sleep! When I’m doing things that I like, I find that I’m giving time to myself.

. Behind every successful person is a high calibre mentor. In Aisha’s case, she thanks her former lady employer who gave her a top notch, hard core and strenuous legal training and experiences in the law firm. The ex-employer’s super-super-super perfect attribute rub off on Aisha’s shoulders and made her the person she is today. The vigorous training as a lawyer is to be fully prepared for any cases by remembering all the details until they are at the tips of your fingers and tongue.

ME: Would you call yourself a workaholic? You seem to be working around the clock all the time.

AISHA: No. I still listen to my body. And I stop when my body asks me to do so. Even from technology and gadgets. We need to stop from them sometimes. Like smartphones.


Like any entrepreneur, Aisha has her fair share of experiences of opening and closing several schools before deciding to be contemplated with only one. Calling herself a fussy person, she encountered principals and teachers who were not up to her expectations in fulfilling the roles of an educator. The principals couldn’t follow the SOP, that is making the child first, follow the child. Her faith in the educators declined and she herself couldn’t be omnipresent as she wished to be. In the end, the decision to reduce and merge the schools to one was made.

Never to give up easily, Aisha hopes that more housing developers could look into providing a piece of land to be utilised for building an educational center that utilises or practices a certain, holistic, humanistic and child-centered methodology, such as the Montessori education, which is beneficial to the community and interconnected with aged-care facilities. This is also her long term plan and dream.


ME:  How do you think we can help parents to understand this revolutionary education called Montessori education?

AISHA: Parents should attend a child development course once they get married and decide to have children. Or even start from secondary school, with subjects on how to look after or take care of younger children. In fact, it boils down to the attitude of caring, which should be cultivated from a very young age. Human’s tendency is to care but it’s rarely seen or heard of in today’s society. Research shows that young teenagers have no clue that they are sexually productive, that they are able to produce a child by biological sexual intercourse. Sex education is equally important as parenting education or parenting skills, to understand the process of having an offspring and the process of educating the child and to prepare him or her for the adult life.

ME: What can be done to attract parents to Montessori education?

AISHA: Have regular sessions to touch base in the quest of developing a human being. Refer parents to experts and do proper research. Through Montessori Association of Malaysia, we advise on protecting children in the best learning and living environment, for parents and well as providing the same type of environment for teachers.

ME: What do you do to help to create a new species or generation of teachers, unlike the conventional teachers?

AISHA: Do a lot of continuous development training or courses. Continue to be a good example for the child. If you want a child to do good and be good, you yourself must do good and be good first. Reflect on yourself.


ME: What is your favourite Montessori quote?

AISHA: All you have to do is to touch the inner core of the child.

ME: Do you have a Montessori moment that you can remember right now?

AISHA: There is a new boy in school, who doesn’t know what to do. He has been aggressive and obstinate. He is 9 years old. He is always against everything and everybody. When he transforms, he seems to have this realisation that he is important and responsible of his actions. He is egocentric, announcing his every action in classroom. I helped him to find his inner peace through the environment and materials. And I was trying very hard to make him understand that I am there for him. His speech has changed, and he’s using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ nowadays, and I strongly believe that the transformation takes place because I make him my priority.


Aisha has also written a book in 2001, titled “Why Montessori: Choosing The Right Preschool”, an account of her teaching practice when she first obtained her first Montessori diploma. Visitors came to her house to look at her newly second born child and they asked about her learning experiences on Montessori education. Just completed her practical and theoretical examinations, she found herself to be answering all the questions from the visitors. So, she started to write things down to make sure that when each visitor comes to her house, her answers are consistent for anything regarding Montessori. She showed it to a friend, and the friend advised her to publish it. A second edition of the book is under the pipeline.


ME: If you were chosen to be a colour, what would you like to be?

AISHA: Lavender. The colour of lavender because it has the features of a pastel colour, soft and flexible, which can also turn into a strong magenta. It reminds me of a student in a school. He is easily attracted to pictures of fish and will take any books of fish, and fold it to make the fish swims. Remembering him and the fish, I see the colour lavender as an embodiment of plain humility, life and strength, and in its nature to care.


Having just completed Master of Education in Montessori Integrative learning (USA Endicott College), resting on her laurels is definitely not a phrase to be found in Aisha’s dictionary. There leaves only one work to be done – the work of and for the child. Wishing you a bucket of blessings, Aisha!

                                                                                                     Aisha (left, in grey) and I                                                   

August 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment