Shalini Sunderlal: Working Towards Nurturing The Young Minds Of India | CEOInsights Vendor
Shalini Sunderlal: Working Towards Nurturing The Young Minds Of India

Shalini Sunderlal: Working Towards Nurturing The Young Minds Of India

Shalini Sunderlal, Principal Director

Shalini Sunderlal

Principal Director

Among the various methods of training imparted to the students to ensure their sum total progress in academics, "Montessori training" is one such which took root nearly about 100 years ago. Proper training of Montessori teachers and educators is essential for the holistic development of children. Shalini Sunderlal, Co-founder at The Academy of Progressive Montessori, has established it out of a never- ending passion for learning & teaching. It is an educational center based on the philosophy and methodology of Dr. Maria Montessori. Its Teacher Training Program prepares students to become teachers for Early Childhood classrooms for children 2.5 years of age through 6 years (pre-school and kinder garten). It also offers Elementary training in the form of seminars. Shalini Sunderlal has been an experienced and passionate Teacher Trainer for the past 20 years and enjoys academic interaction with Student trainees in all areas of Montessori education.

Recently, Shalini Sunderlal engages in a one-on-one interaction with the CEO Insights Magazine. Here’s the highlight.

Throw some light on your professional background and experience. What inspired you to venture into the academic segment?
My father had the foresight to spot teaching skills in me and was instrumental in me joining a one-year Diploma Course in Early Childhood. The method and structure of Montessori intrigued me and this soon kick-started my professional 'Training to be a Trainer stint'. In the years to come, I was fortunate to meet my business partner, teacher trainer and the very dynamic Principal of our school, "Busy Ants", Anita Alimchandani. Together we took the step forward in opening the "Academy of Progressive Montessori, India".
With the success of the Academy, we progressed to opening the ideal Preschool, "Busy Ants", & our after school language and math classes named "Advantage APM".

How would you define the Academy of Progressive Montessori as an organization and its position in the market? What unique proposition does your organization offer to young students and parents?
APM is firmly established as a highly reputed academic hub for learning. Individuals who wish to learn exceptionally well will visit us. Quality & experience in education are there to stay, irrespective of the number of similar institutes that have emerged. We employ teachers trained by us in different schemas of our establishment, including our Preschool, Busy Ants and our prevalent after-school Communication, Language and Math classes, aptly named Advantage APM. Some students opt to work in other Preschools and High Schools in the country and overseas. Some have become leaders in other establishments, while some use their enriched learning to open their own schools or learning hubs as productive businesses. Parents of young children learning with us also join the classes, as they arm them with essential knowledge of their children's developmental planes.

How has your journey been so far with the Academy of Progressive Montessori? What drives you today as a new-age leader?
The journey has been fulfilling, rich in many experiences, & helped understanding the need to constantly update our skills and cater to today's children's needs. It is wonderful to train so many ladies & watch them reconnect with their latent talents and skills lost along the way. In2020 we had to reinvent 20 years of teaching in the classroom to virtual classrooms. Covid 19 changed our Montessori Teacher Training in physical classrooms for two decades to a screen overnight. We had to push all our resources & think quickly.
Miniature Montessori boxes were designed & sent to the respective homes of student trainees & the children. The most challenging lessons were thrown at us, & we arrived at the answers together. I can now say that we are successful new-age leaders.

Could you talk about the learnings and experiences you have acquired in your journey & how you apply them in your current role?
The learning experiences in this journey have been rich, & you cannot remain stagnant in this profession & must keep yourself updated. Teacher trainers should respect students’ answers despite being incorrect at times, & provide them with the correct responses without making the student feel inadequate. Another thing I learned is not to carry negative emotional baggage to your classroom, we all go through tough times, but that should be amputated when you enter the classroom. Remembering that we all have a sense of dignity is essential & should always be maintained. All of the above have helped me in my role as Academic Director.

In the future, what are the major trends and opportunities you expect to see in the academic segment?
Our students need to be professionally equipped to cope with sudden changes in the functioning of academic institutions and schools. I would like to include new segments in the course structure with more use of technology. The course content needs to include social & emotional relationships between children. Collaborative learning sessions with parents are areas that would need careful thought. Health & Safety measures need priority as well.

Shalini Sunderlal, Principal/Director, Academy of Progressive Montessori
The principal of the Academy of Progressive Montessori (I), Shalini Sunderlal, is an experienced Montessori Teacher Trainer. She has graduated from Loreto College, Kolkata and completed her Montessori training at the London Montessori Center in Kolkata and her Elementary Montessori training at the North American Montessori Center in Canada. She is the coauthor of the Eureka workbooks on Geography, Botany, & Zoology & is currently in the process of creating the ideal writing workbooks for preschoolers..

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