“Man seems to have two embryonic periods. One is pre-natal, like that of animals; the other is post-natal and only man has this. The prolonged in fancy of man separates him entirely from the animals, and this is the meaning we must give to it.”
Dr. Maria Montessori, Basic Ideas of Montessori’s Educational Theory.
Comment on the above quote. Using this quote, explain the way in which Montessori philosophy aids the child’s formation of his personality.
Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Chiraville, Italy on 31st August 1870. In 1896 Madame Montessori became the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School and then she joined the staff of the University Psychiatric Clinic. She was also the first Lady Doctor to Graduate in those times. Being required to oversee children who were mentally retarded she became convinced that these children could learn if given the proper tools. She studied the work of Jean Itard and Eduardo Sequin-Pioneers in material based studies for the retarded children and started to design such tools for them. As director of the State Orthopedic School in 1889, she prepared teaching materials, made notes and observed them for two years. She was so surprised at how much these children could learn that she decided to devote her energies to education. She returned to University of Rome to study philosophy, psychology and anthropology. In 1907 a group of construction Engineers requested Madame Montessori to help manage the children of the labors so that the parents could go to work in peace and this resulted in “Casa- De- Bambini” i.e. “House Of Children”. She offered these children specially designed materials and was delighted with their response to the sensorial materials, the child-sized furniture and eagerness to learn. In response to the requests she taught reading and writing. She made sandpaper letters for them to trace and when they discovered the relationship of letters, sounds, writing and words to reading; they become even more excited about learning. Maria Montessori traveled all the way to India and was very touched by the intimacy of the Mother and child relationship in Indian Society. She trained educators and supported the development of Montessori schools in many regions. From then her theories have played an important role in child’s development in educational field and today her theories have withstood the test of time as current research continue to confirm many of the concepts and ideas initiated by this visionary leader.
Maria Montessori was a true proponent of New Education as an international movement. For her, reform was not merely a mechanical process of replacing old methods with supposedly better ones; she was much more concerned with a process more aptly described by the original meaning of reformatio: a remodeling and renewal of life.
The basic concept behind Montessori’s educational work was that of providing children with a suitable environment in which to live and learn. The significant thing about her educational programme is that it gave equal emphasis to internal and external development, arranged so that they complemented one another. But the fact that external education was even given consideration, having been considered merely a consequence of the success of internal education by the idealistic schools of philosophy and education, bears witness to the scientific orientation of the programme.
It is absolutely true that, Man seems to have two embryonic periods. One is pre-natal, like that of animals; the other is post-natal and only man has this. Newly born human beings are particularly vulnerable to their environment. No animal has a period of infancy so painful and so long. They remain reliant on others for an extraordinarily long period of time, unlike other young mammals that can, within a short period after birth, stand, and walk and find food for themselves. Animals have fixed and pre-determined guiding instincts that dictate...
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