Physical Needs

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The first three years of life comprise a period of great and enormous growth and change for a child. The three-year-old lives in a world that is constantly new and evolving. Writing on Montessori’s views on the development of the child, Polk Lillard (1972) says, “By the age of three, the unconscious preparation necessary for later development and activity is established. The child now embarks on a new mission, the development of his mental functions. ‘Before three, the functions are being created; after three, they develop’ ” (Montessori (1964) in Polk Lillard, 1972, p37). Montessori writes, “Thus it happens that at the age of three, life seems to begin again; for now consciousness shines forth in all its fullness and glory. ... Only with the advent of consciousness do we have unity of the personality, and therefore the power to remember” (2007, p151). The child becomes aware of him/herself as separate and apart from the world. “At first, he was guided by an impersonal force seeming to be hidden within him; now he is guided by his conscious “I,” by his own personal self, and we see that his hands are busy.” (Montessori, 2007, p153). There cannot exist the “I” without the opposition of the “Other”. The child now has a perspective, must take the “Other” into consideration as a force to interact with, to be reckoned with, to negotiate with. The child becomes more of an intellectual being. The child’s cognitive development includes understanding and being able to make up stories, identifying basic shapes, colors and being able to sort by size, color, shape (U. of Pittsburgh, undated).

Physical Needs
First and foremost, children hold the human right to survival; the physical plant of the school must be set up in such a way as to provide the least possible bodily risk to the child. In planning layout and design, potential hazards such as open stairs, low windows should be avoided. Toilets and sinks should be incorporated in the classroom area; easily...
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