Wednesday, 6 August 2014

MONTESSORI METHOD OF EDUCATION Maria Montessori & her theories

I was browsing through some old articles I have written and shared in places and found one on the Sensitive Period I'd like to share with all. I only had three children at the time I wrote this, so I suppose this post is dated around 2011 when chubs was probably about a year plus.

*The Sensitive Period (2) : Sense of order*

I am a little rusty with the theoretical portions of the Montessori Method of Education so, as I journal my thoughts in my writings, I revisit the wonderful history and the enlightening journey of Dr Maria Montessori.

Feeling rather sated at this moment, as I allow myself to further deepen my understanding of her work as I; work with chubs & now lil dragon_boi (as I go along). It's like I have her in spirit, guiding me in my ways and endeavours.

I recall during one of those lecture sessions, where I was weary from work, I remember being quite drawn in as I listened to how Dr Maria reviewed her work while she worked with the children in Casa Dei Bambini.

Sometime in 1906, Dr Maria Montessori's methods had not been perfected as yet. Through her observation, she began to realize that children should be given the freedom of choice.. What happened was, when the materials were being taken out from unlocked cupboards, the children were working with them on their own. She realized that children could develop order in life when the children followed behind her while she went to return her materials. The children too returned their materials to the respective shelves/places.

The philosophy of the Absorbent Mind serves two stages in a child's life.

0-3 Unconscious Mind
3-6 Conscious Mind

When a child interacts with the environment, it will be absorbed in his unconscious mind, into his psychic life. The conscious mind later looks back (3-6 yrs) on what the unconscious has to offer.

It is within this said phase : Sensitive Periods, that children realize a sense of order... and where the children can categorize through perceptions via an inner conceptual framework which in turn allows him to relate to the environment. 



It took chubs many many repetitions which helped him achieve a sense of order working with materials. Repetition offers refinement of the senses, and in the event of success the satisfaction derives from the success in itself for no other rewards. This trait carries on well later on in life.

Similar to how I have worked with my girls, the contentment they get from achieving their personal best in their education journey thus far, is not from any carrots we dangle in front of them (not that we have any to begin with), but from the repetition (of sheer hard work) to reach the level they are now. DD2 is now in P5. From P1 to P3 she was eligible for the Edusave Merit Award. It was a touching moment for me then, to learn from DD2 that she was planning to share her merit bursary of ($200) with us. This award is disbursed to children who maintain good academic performance and conduct in school and is within the top 25% of the cohort each year. 


For chubs, his satisfaction from completion is at the point when he returns his material back to the shelf... like this one above. 






This material is called a Knobbed Cylinder and is extremely heavy for a boy his age to even lift. However, it is in the manner that we encourage independence in a Montessori environment that offers children security. Having the Directress around to observe assures the children that should at any time at all, any assistance is required, we are on hand anytime. In chubs case, when he was done working with the Knobbed Cylinder he said..

Chubs : Mom.. done. I keep. Mom help. It's heavy.

Me : Ok. Mommy is here. You try to keep. Yes, it is heavy. Very very heavy but chubs is strong. You can do it. Tell Mommy if it is really too heavy for you to keep it yourself.

Chubs : Ok Mommy. I try. I'm strong. Chubs is strong. Mommy *help.

(*stressing that I CAN indeed help if he requested it).

As he squatted down, picked up the Knobbed Cylinder with both his hands... he struggled to get up for a bit. Then, as he waddled into our work room, I offered...

Me : Chubs need help?

Chubs : Chubs done. Keep. Chubs strong.

Me : Yes, very strong. You kept it yourself. Good job.
Would you like to work on another one?

Chubs : Ok, mommy.

....another satisfying work day at home and am quietly celebrating chubs' newfound sense of order. 

Dr Maria Montessori ~ “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

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