Montessori believed that the imagination be encouraged through real experiences and not fantasy. She felt very strong that this powerful force was not wasted on fantasy. It was important to allow a child to develop their imagination from real information and real experiences. Montessori believed that young children were attracted to reality; they learn to enjoy it and use their own imaginations to create new situations in their own lives. They were just excited about hearing a simple story of a man going to the shop and buying bread, then they would be of hearing a made up story. She felt that once the child was fed with plenty of real life experiences the child can then develop their own imagination from reality. “The young child has a tendency to create fantasies and dwell on them. Adults have been accustomed to consider these as proof of the child’s superior imaginative abilities. Montessori considered them proof not of his imagination, but of his dependent and powerless position in life”. Chapter 2, pg. 45 Montessori – A Modern Approach by Paula Polk Lillard It made sense from this belief that she did not like to encourage fantasy. She did not object to the child creating objects of fantasy, but she did strongly object to the adult feeding the child someone else’s fantasy, instead of exciting reality. She believed that this was just satisfying the adult rather than the child. In particularly in younger children she found it quite damaging as a child of 3 years of age would not be able to decipher between what was and wasn’t real.
A child would believe the story of the monster that came out at night time, and could at times become scared of this make believe creature. Montessori believed that in time a child’s mind crowded with too much fantasy, not based on reality, wanders aimlessly in circles and eventually cannot focus. As the absorbent mind is a chief learning tool for children aged 3-6 years. Imagination is the chief learning tool for 6-12...
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