Spontaneous Observer of Nature

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“A child who,more than anything else, is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal material upon which he can work.”

As our lives become more technologically advanced and driven many children have very little access to a natural habitat in their neighbourhood environment.Young children develop their sensory,cognitive,gross and motor skills while in relationship to the natural world.The function of the school is to supply children with interesting information and motives for action. A child,who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature,certainly needs to have at his/or her disposal,materials upon which he/or she can work”-Dr.Maria Montessori.

Childern in bed to explore the environment from the first moment after birth.Even if they appear helpless,motionless infants are exploring in their cribs.It is an invisible exploration of hearing,looking etc.The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge.He has the power to teach himself.A single observation is enough to prove this.The child grows up speaking his parent's tongue,yet to grownups the learning of the language is a very great intellectual achievement.No one teaches the child.

The goal of the Montessori method is to develop the child’s sensory and cognitive skills, while at the same time enhancing the child’s practical life skills and building his character. The child (Absorbent Mind) between birth and age six, the child has a unique ability to learn and assimilate anything surrounding him, without any effort and in a completely unconscious way. In Montessori’s words, “The child absorbs these impressions not with his mind but with his life itself. By absorbing what he finds about him, he forms his own personality. He constructs his mind step by step till he becomes possessed of memory, the power to understand, the ability to think.” (Montessori 1949: 84-85)

One discovery followed another, giving Montessori an increasingly clear view of the inner mind of the child. She found that little children were capable of long periods of quiet concentration, even though they rarely show signs of it in everyday settings. Although they are often careless and sloppy, they respond positively to an atmosphere of calm and order. Montessori noticed that the logical extension of the young child's love for a consistent and often repeated routine is an environment in which everything has a place. Her children took tremendous delight in carefully carrying their work to and from the shelves, taking great pains not to bump into anything or spill the smallest piece. They walked carefully through the rooms, instead of running wildly as they did on the streets.Montessori discovered that the environment itself was all-important in obtaining the results that she had observed. Not wanting to use heavy school desks, she had carpenters build child-sized tables and chairs. She was the first to do so, recognizing the frustration that a little child experiences in an adult-sized world. Eventually she learned to design entire schools around the size of the children. She had miniature pitchers and bowls prepared and found knives that fit a child's tiny hand. The tables were lightweight, allowing two children to move them alone. The children learned to control their movements, disliking the way the calm atmosphere was disturbed when they knocked into the furniture. Montessori studied the traffic pattern of the rooms, arranging the furnishings and the activity area to minimize congestion and tripping. The children loved to sit on the floor, so she bought little rugs to define their work areas and the children quickly learned to walk around work that other children had laid out on their rugs.

Montessori carried this environmental engineering throughout the entire school building and outside environment, designing child-sized toilets and low sinks, windows low to the ground, low shelves, and miniature hand and garden tools of all sorts. Many of these...
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