Mother Nature has endowed every child with the necessary powers for a great task is that of building the adult human being. Dr. Maria Montessori emphatically states that the first and the foremost of all that the child needs to do is the great and miraculous construction of a healthy human adult. All the different aspects of teaching, child rearing or even child care should revolve around this thought especially when we are dealing with the two to six year age group. But we see that this is not happening. Education gets direct more to learning the various subjects that are taught. As the children are dependent on the adults it is only the adults who can provide the right conditions. That is why it is very necessary that adult take a good view of what they are doing. Whether we are offering anything towards the child’s development. If we are, whether it is being given in a manner and form that the children need, whether we are capable of finding out what the child needs, whether we are interpreting the child’s needs from the adult’s view point and not the child’s. It is important to realize that the child’s life and work is directed towards the construction of his inner self. Pedagogy should insist that the change be of the adults rather than make claims on the child. 1b.What is the responsibility of the adult?
The idea brings to the forefront something that many adults refuse to accept. It is that the child and the adult are the two forms of the human being, two distinct forms. The child is not a miniature adult. The child’s needs are not to be considered as the same as the adult inn smaller measure. The child has his own life and development. Who accomplishes this maturation into adulthood? Do parents grow the child? Can the educator form the child’s character? Can the teacher create the student’s maid? Is it possible for the adults to produce development in the children? Montessori said very emphatically that it is the child who builds himself. Every person understands that he himself developed all his skills. Nobody else built him. At best we could say many people helped in various ways but the individual did the learning. We apply the same thought in favor of the child also. It is the child who builds himself and not the others. The assistance of the adults would have helped the child build himself. A popular slogan in the Montessori circles is, “Help the child to help himself”. So it is the responsibility of the adults to let the child help himself.
1c. ‘Education is an aid to life”. Comment on this statement According to Dr. Maria Montessori Education has its greatest mission in scientifically and responsibly assisting the child to live his life of self construction in obedience to the laws, which determine its course. Mothers often say: “My child is exasperating,” “He has fits of temper,” “My child wants me bored”. Other mothers say “My child is boring”, or “He always want stories and the whys and wherefores of things.” Now these are problems arising out of occupation or want of suitable occupation. There are also problems of conduct. Some parents say: “My child is bad. How am I to make the child good?” or “What are we to do with the child? He is mischievous. Are we to beat him or not to beat him?”. The child presents many problems like this to both the family and the school. There is a further and fundamental problem, the problem of the freedom of the child. Is the child to be left free to form himself or is he to be formed? Now-a-days most people believe that it is necessary to give freedom to the child. So the family faces the problem of how to leave the child free. Giving freedom to the child is not one problems upon problems without an easy solution. Let us see what happens in a family where the adult rules. Let us go back hundred years when the science of childhood or the laws of child development were ignored. Then, as now, mothers loved their children and took great care of them; bathed them and washed them, dried and powdered them, clothed and brushed and combed them, and took for a walk and attended to all their physical needs. But let us consider the mother, whose child climbs upon an arm chair or sofa, and the mother says in a threatening voice to the child “Get down at once,” or the mother who under similar circumstances says gently “Now, dear, get off from there please.” Each of the above mothers has her own way of correcting the child. It does not matter to the child whether the mother uses angry tones or endearing ones, since the main object of both the others is the same; both the angry mother and the affectionate mother are preventing the child from doing what he is doing. If the child wanted to sit o the steps of the staircase and he is told at once: “Oh! Don’t sit in that dirty place.” Whether the prohibition is sweet or bitter, prohibition is a prohibition.