BUILDING KNOWLEDGE ON SOFT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD: APTNESS OF GUIDING A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE MONTESSORI METHOD
While the significance of soft skills is greatly enhanced by the nature of work and life in the 21st century, the growing demand for them is met with increasing scarcity. Though experts agree that soft skills development interventions best have a focus on early childhood education, practically applicable consolidated knowledge on individual soft skills development during this stage is much lacking. In sight of that knowledge on such abstract phenomena can only be drawn through extensive research undertakings of the empirical nature, a strategic approach was adopted in this study for the required knowledge accumulation. Under the explanatory sequential mixed-methods approach, a quantitative benchmarking analysis paved way for a multi-methods qualitative analysis of an empirically developed standard method of early childhood education: the Montessori Method. This paper mainly argues for the selection of this method for the study from among other key classic methods of early childhood education: Waldorf and Reggio Emilia. Both the confirming results from the benchmarking analysis and the abundance of findings from the thematic analysis further support the selection of the Montessori Method as the subject of the qualitative inquiry of authentic program elements that contribute to the development of individual soft skills in early learners.
Soft Skills, Early Childhood Education, Montessori Method, P21 Framework