If establishing a Montessori and running it is a favourite time pass activity or to gain some sort of an income for many, here is a lady who runs it professionally and has already established a name for her and her institution in Mysuru. A lawyer by profession and holding all the relevant degrees and qualification to establish and run a Montessori, Sophia Lawrence believes that childhood is the right age to shape the future of a human being. Her approach is different and as she also takes in children with learning disabilities in her Montessori while any other normal school might not want to take the risk of taking such children under its wings. Sophia Lawrence is the founder director of the Lawrence Montessori at No.9, behind The Institute of Education Trust, Somani D.Ed College Premises, 4th Cross, off Kamakshi Hospital Road, Saraswathipuram. “The traditional approach to education prevailing today remains focused on the transmission of prescribed blocks of knowledge.
At Lawrence Montessori, the curriculum is prepared by me (thanks to the immense training and experience in the field) to aid the child’s development into a complete adult human being, comfortable with himself, with society and with humanity as a whole. We give support to the natural development of every child,” she says.
“Our system is based on Maria Montessori thoughts that the most important period of life is not college or university studies, but the first one – the period from birth to the age of six. What the child learns during this period is its future. So we instil the development of character and integration of the whole personality in child by various activities. During this early period, education must be understood as a medium to unfold the child’s inborn psychic powers,” she explains.
“Most of the Montessori schools are established by people who have some time and space to spare. Unfortunately they are either not trained for the job or only have basic certificate courses. I on the other hand have obtained special training from reputed institutions that are meant for the purpose and started Lawrence Montessori in 2011,” she says. Regarding the intake of special children at her institution, Sophia says: “As I started my institute, a few parents with their special need children approached me with tears in their eyes asking for admission as regular schools have rejected their children. In order to understand and educate these children I pursued my MA in Psychology in Child Mental Health and began a separate classroom for these children.” Lawrence Montessori has a special setup that can help children with autism and other special needs to explore and learn and experience success in education.
“I would like to mention about Rishab who joined our institution when he was three years old. When he attained his UKG level, he was barely 6 ½ years old and surprisingly he could write tables from 0x1=0 to 5000×1=5000. Give him any number in tables, additionand subtraction he is the master. We are teaching him algebra now.Another child is Abhigail with dyspraxia who is very good in colouring and painting,” she narrates. “We are open to take any child into our institution. We recognise the talents in these children and develop the child on the same lines with a goal that these hidden talents in them will help them build their future,” she adds.
“This apart, we focus on cognitive development, social and emotional development, gross and fine motor development, language and literacy development, self-help development, personal growth and development, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and have assessment and reviews at all levels,” she says. Sophia Lawrence says that she has plans to start an exclusive school for juveniles, children of prisoners and street children. “I am a lawyer and I encounter such children on a day-to-day basis. Why children should be blamed for the mistakes of their parents or elders? I have fought many criminal cases where children are party in one way or the other. This has made me think to strive for the betterment of such children,” she says. “The plan is to start the school with food in the afternoon and to provide a better learning atmosphere to them. We can definitely bring down the crime rate as we can prevent these children from entering a crime career,” she adds.