Linden Montessori: Focusing on Holistic Development of Children through a Montessori-based Experiential Pedagogy

Stuti Mehrotra, Founder & Director

Stuti Mehrotra

Founder & Director

Preschools can be defined as educational programs that introduce a child, between the age group of two to five, to early academics and are essential for building a strong foundation for a child’s general life skills by combining playing with learning. Through various fun activities and playing, preschools try to build a positive association with education while nurturing their creative, cognitive, and intellectual capabilities. Apart from providing a head start on education, a preschool also focuses on sharpening the social and behavioral skillsets of a child, such as conversation skills, making friends and socializing, and discipline. Even researchers have found better outcomes in the case of preschools, with children with preschooling showing better disciplinary and educational records in the later stage of their academic journey.

We keep researching a lot of activities and later, add them to the curriculum, which is more of an ongoing process

Coming to India, the growing awareness among parents regarding the importance of preschool has helped the overall sector see a rapid boom over time and the number has almost doubled in the last decade. However, when it comes to offering quality and stimulating curriculum, the Indian mainstream preschool market has a long way to go. The majority of the preschools in India are just focusing on providing formal education to the child instead of his/ her holistic development. While children require a more vicarious learning setup that would stimulate their overall skillsets, the curriculum followed in India are not developmentally suitable for them. The gap in the Industry has helped pave way for the Montessori pedagogy, where the focus is on enhancing their skillsets through independent learning.

Started by Stuti Mehrotra in 2014, Linden Montessori is a Bengaluru-based leading Montessori school that focuses on the holistic development of children through an alternative curriculum with a lot of emphasis on active hands-on learning and activities. Spread across a 15000 sq. ft. of land in Doddanekundi Industrial Layout, Bengaluru, the preschool is operated with a single vision of providing a stimulating environment for the children that would promote curiosity and love for learning among them. Stuti Mehrotra, Founder & Director of Linden Montessori, is an accomplished educationist with a passion for alternative methods of teaching and loves to work with children. It was Stay Hungry Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal that inspired her to become an entrepreneur. The book features the successful stories of 25 IIM Ahmedabad graduates who left their lucrative jobs to become entrepreneurs.

A unique Montessori based experiential pedagogy:
As the name suggests, Linden Montessori follows a Montessori pedagogy where the focus has always been to create a stimulating and tactile learning environment that would enhance the cognitive skills of the children and help them become explorers and thinkers. The curriculum followed at the school is more of a dynamic and research oriented one, with new changes being incorporated into it at regular intervals of time. According to Stuti, “At Linden
Montessori, learning is not confined to classrooms and happens everywhere across the school, even while people interact with each other. So we as a team keep on growing, researching, and finding out with the kids. As a school, we have always been a rich, stimulating learning environment for each other and keep evolving, which is also the main reason behind our tremendous success.”

Linden Montessori has always been focused on experiential learning. For a preschooler, every concept is taught as an experience by the Linden Montessori team, where the team tells the children to find out the answer instead of giving it to them. The whole experience helps enhance their curiosity as well as their ability to discover. After the pandemic, Linden Montessori has incorporated STEM learning into its curriculum, which has resulted in bringing out an amazing level of creativity in the children at the Senior KG level. The preschool has also incorporated various traditional games, such as tic tac toe, marble games, and so on. Linden Montessori also has incorporated various fitness games after the free play session every day. All these activities help children self regulate. “You can't teach children to self regulate just by telling them. Children learn a majority of those skills, such as interpersonal skills, social skills, and many more, through various games and activities. We keep researching a lot of activities and later, add them to the curriculum, which is more of an ongoing process”, explains Stuti.

At Linden Montessori, learning is not confined to classrooms and happens everywhere across the school, even while people interact with each other

A wide range of co-curricular activities:
Coming to co-curricular activities, the preschool has different co-curricular activities for the children almost every week. The children also get to do yoga, where the asanas are named after songs and stories, such as the butterfly pose, dinosaur walk, and so on. Children also take part in meditation, which helps them calm down. There is also another activity, named Kinder Music, where children move accordingly based on a specific beat or rhythm. Children also get to learn and do cooking, where they make simple items, such as sandwiches, lemonade, Oreo laddus, and so on. The Linden Montessori team also does gardening with the children.

When it comes to maintaining quality standards, Linden Montessori has various strict quality checks and a lot of elaborative supervision in place. The team at Linden Montessori follows an elaborate reporting process even for a child’s development where observation records are maintained by the teachers on daily basis. Even the teachers and staff go through the appraisal process once a year based on certain performance parameters, which the preschool is currently planning to do twice a year. Even the entire cleaning records by the helping staff are logged properly. There are also various safety standards, such as fire extinguishers and safety sensors on the preschool campus. Linden Montessori has an inhouse nurse available on the school campus and has tie-ups with a clinic in case of emergency.

Mitigating the pandemic challenges:
Linden Montessori has faced many challenges throughout the journey. However, the preschool has always stood up to those challenges and has evolved with them. Even during the pandemic, many preschools shut down as parents couldn't pay the fee, and it was a massive challenge to teach such young kids online. However, being the research-oriented the Linden Montessori team is, they took up the challenge and tried to provide a hands-on and experiential learning experience to the children even in the online mode. The sessions were so engaging and fun-filled that even children used to look forward to them in the morning. Along with teachers, they used to do yoga, play dough, or take part in various activities in online mode. The preschool also started its Youtube channel during this time.

Accomplishments and future roadmap:
Starting with just three employees in 2014, Linden Montessori has come a long way over the years with a current employee strength of around 60. The preschool currently has a student strength of more than 200 with a teachers and students ratio of 1:10. Linden Montessori is also providing free preschooling to around eight to ten kids, mostly the children of drivers or staff of the preschool, who can’t afford their education. The preschool also has won many awards throughout the journey. Linden Montessori featured in Silicon India magazine as “Top day care centers in Bengaluru” in 2018. The preschool also featured in Academic Insights in 2022 as “Top 10 best schools of Bengaluru”. Linden Montessori was also featured in NDTV in 2019 for its waste-free annual days. Even Stuti has won the “100 most inspiring teachers in India” by Code Bharat. Coming to the future roadmap, Linden Montessori is continuously working on bettering itself to be seen as one of the top 10 preschools in India.