Cultural: Maria Montessori and Child

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How is the child’s exploration and orientation in his physical environment complimented by the Montessori materials and presentation?

Dr. Maria Montessori, the revolutionary explorer in early childhood education in the 20th century discovered a world within the child. Her observations of the child, at Casa dei Bambini - the first Montessori Classroom - led her to discover the secrets of childhood. And the framework of Montessori Philosophy is based on three important discoveries; Tendencies, Absorbent Mind and Sensitive Periods.

As Dr. Montessori said, the child has his own potential for life to develop. It is important for the adult to understand and allow the child build himself by his own experiences without the adult trying to fill their knowledge onto the child. Every child posses a pre-determined pattern of psychic unfold, which is not visible at birth but it is revealed when the child is exposed to the environment with freedom. When these two factors are provided, child’s psychic life will reach its potential and build his personality for his survival in the society. From birth and throughout the childhood, a child’s Absorbent Mind allows him to absorb impressions from his surrounding environment and directly store it into his psychic life. As an infant these impressions are absorbed unconsciously but gradually when the child has a conscious mind, he absorb impressions consciously and make language connections.

There are blocks of time in early years of child’s life which he absorbs certain characteristics of his environment to the exclusion of all others. This is called Sensitive Periods. A child possess sensitive periods for order, to experience the world using his five senses, sensitivity for small minute objects, co-ordination of movements, for language and to be in groups. During these Sensitive Periods if the child was not exposed and not satisfied, the opportunity for a natural conquest is lost forever and the child will carry this lack with him throughout his entire life.

Based Dr. Maria Montessori’s observations, she was convinced that all humans possess certain tendencies or behaviour patterns, that are universal. These behaviour patterns are seen from birth to maturity. They are natural impulses that arise from the sub-conscious which direct humans without a reason or conscious thought to perform certain actions. The practical application of the Montessori Method is based on these human tendencies. They are to explore, move, share with others, to be independent and make decisions, create order, develop self-control, abstract ideas from experience, use the creative imagination, work hard, repeat, concentrate, and perfect one's efforts.

Humans love to be in groups which make them much comfortable and communication keeps them together. The best example to witness these human tendencies is the world consisting diverse cultures and communities. The human tendency for imagination and curiosity has brought the man into an advanced era. The “curiosity” builds the intellectual desire to experiment more and abstraction is the imagination which witnessed before reality. These imaginations to take the form of concrete the man require technology and manipulation of objects. It is the tendency for calculation and work. The work is made competent by the help of three more tendencies of man; repetition, concentration and self-control. For the continuity of man, perfection and creativity comes in place to make adjustments and modification to the environment we lives in accordance to our understanding. To make these modifications to the environment, man has to explore the environment. These successful cultural adaptations to survive in this world were called independence.

“Human tendency to explore puts him in contact with his environment” - MMI, DMT 108: pg. 1

Child’s tendency to explore the environment is visible from the moment of his birth. Every human explores and experiences the world with...
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