In honor of Maria Montessori

I’m mesmerized by this woman’s tenacity & brilliance to pursue her education. She carried out her studies and research to such an extent thus developing her way of teaching that is up-till today, internationally successful. 

Maria Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name. Her educational method is in use today in public and private schools throughout the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Montessori

I fully believe in her method. There’s been talk on some school’s misusing the term Montessori, which “directs the child’s natural ability and enquiring mind.” Apparently their definition of this is; letting children run rampant with lack of structure and discipline. I don’t think this is what the Montessori method is all about.

Yes a child’s mind is like a sponge and learning through play and directing their natural curiosity is to me better than putting them in a rigid environment forcing ideas into their heads.
I truly wish main stream schools, could facilitate this method of teaching, as so many children struggle to keep up with, what is expected of them. These kids are often referred to as ‘slow’, but they’re not, their brains are just ‘wired’ differently and they have different needs. Dr. Maria Montessori also mentions in her book, that at different periods of a human’s life, their needs change in this regard. E.g. teenagers who go through puberty and enter a stage of rebellion, need a different approach. 

Based on lectures given by Dr Montessori at Ahmedabad, The Absorbent Mind is an analysis of the physical and psychological aspects of a child’s growth, below is an excerpt from the book:

THE ABSORBENT MIND

These first two years of life furnish a new light that
shows the laws of psychic construction. These laws
were hitherto unknown. It is the outer expression of the
child that has revealed their existence. It shows a type
of psychology completely different from that of the adult.
So here begins the new path. It is not the professor who
applies psychology to children, it is the children them-
selves who teach psychology to the professor. This may
seem obscure but it will become immediately clear if we
go somewhat more into detail : the child has a type of
mind that absorbs knowledge and instructs himself. A
superficial observation will be sufficient to show this.
The child of two speaks the language of his parents. The
learning of a language is a great intellectual acquisition.
Now who has taught the child of two this language ? Is it
the teacher ? Everyone knows that that is not so, and
yet the child knows to perfection the names of things, he
knows the verbs, the adjectives etc. If anyone studies
the phenomenon he will find it marvellous to follow the
development of language. All who have done so agree
that the child begins to use words and names at a certain
period of life. It is as if he had a particular time-table*
Indeed, he follows faithfully a severe syllabus which has
been imposed by nature and with such exactitude that
even the most pains-taking school would suffer in com-
parison. And following this time-table the child learns
all the irregularities and different syntactical constructions
of the language with exacting diligence.

The Vital Years

Within a child there is a very scrupulous teacher. It
is he who achieves these results in every child, no matter
in what region he is found. The only language that man
learns perfectly is acquired at this period of childhood
when no one can teach him. Not only that, but no
matter what help and assistance he will get later in
life if he tries to learn a new language, he will not
be able to speak it with the same exactitude as he does
the one acquired in childhood. There is a psychic power
in the child that helps him. It is not merely a question
of language. At two years he is able to recognise all
the things and persons in his environment. The more
one thinks about it the more it becomes evident that the
construction the child achieves is immense : for all that
we possess has been constructed by the child we once
were, and the most important faculties are built in the
first two years of life.

If you have time to read the book:
absorbentmind031961mbp

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