Montessori Practical Life

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The baby is not an inert or passive being, but a “creative” individual, actively struggling to grow and learn. There is an unconscious urge, a life force or horme that works untiringly, but this work of the child cannot achieve perfect development if the conditions are not right.”

Discuss a perfect prepared environment, stimulating his needs for emotional, intellectual stimulation, hygienic precaution and his physical growth.

“There is a play of instincts within a child not only with respect to its physical growth and nourishment but also with respect to various psychic operations.”

Maria Montessori The Secret of Childhood (Chp. 6 Page 29)

Every child has a certain potential and an unconscious urge to carry out activities. He is very curious in nature and wants to develop his own powers to reveal himself. Maria Montessori termed this urge as the spiritual embryo. The child possesses within him, a pre-determined pattern of psychic unfolding which leads him to perform activities for his self construction, development and growth. This psychic pattern is built at the expense of the environment around him. Thus, special care should be taken while preparing as well as providing this environment to him. It should be concise and appealing to the child as it assists him in his overall growth. Maria Montessori designed an environment to facilitate the revelation of this psychic embryo. However, she believed that, the environment alone is not sufficient to fulfil this revelation. Hence, she provided adequate freedom to the child in order to help him reach his full potential in all the areas of development.

For the child to react to the environment around him he needs the help of two factors; the first is “sensitive periods” and the second one is “absorbent mind”. A child learns to explore the environment with the help of his senses. He learns by putting things in his mouth and by touching them. Therefore Maria Montessori provided sensorial materials in the classroom. The “Absorbent mind” process is one by which the child learns from his environment. He has an unconscious mind (0 – 3 years) and a conscious mind (3 – 6 years). In the absorbent mind, the knowledge the child absorbs in his unconscious state starts reflecting in the conscious state. Therefore a perfect environment helps make these impressions in the child’s mind. The prepared environment is secondary to a child’s life. The child once born makes a lot of personal choices with the help of his psychic embryo. The prepared environment helps to fulfil them. It helps to nourish and nurture but never create. It is present since birth and is an invisible force.

Maria Montessori stated that the child’s conquest for intelligence begins at birth. While he is developing, he tries to overcome every obstacle that he finds in his path. A leading force is active within him and it guides his efforts towards his final goal. This force is called the horme. Its basic nature is to stimulate and activate the individual.

“It is through the environment that the individual is moulded and brought to perfection... since a child is formed by his environment he has need of precise and determined guides and not simply vague constructive formulae.”
Elizabeth G. Hainstock The Essential Montessori (Chp 6 Page 81)

Maria Montessori prepared the environment in such a way that it helped a child in his self construction. It was designed to meet his...
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