Montessori Notes

My mother was my Montessori teacher. In addition to these notes, i have reported on these books: Montessori Revolution,  Absorbent Mind, and  Secret of Childhood. – Drogo

American Montessori Society Bulletin  1979 – vol.17, No.1

Piaget and Montessori In The Classroom – by David Elkind, Tufts University

“Classroom practice, of whatever variety, presupposes a particular conception of the child. In this chapter, four components of Piaget’s and Montessori’s conception of the child are described, together with examples of the sort of educational practice that follows from them.”

Elkind goes on to explain 2 different methods of teaching, by referencing 2 different classrooms where children were using the ‘pink tower’ blocks incorrectly. In one case the teacher corrected the children, and in the other they allowed the play. In theory, he said, both are justified.

Child as capable of self-regulation – learning materials tap mental potential

Child as a cognitive alien – they think different than adults, like foreigners

Child as a logical thinker – young people use logic to make decisions

Child as emotional countryman – they have adult emotions that affect behavior

Summary

The first task of the teacher is to observe children, then let that inform how you teach them. It is the teacher’s conception of the child, which in the end, determines the nature of the teacher-child affective interaction using specific methods and techniques. Do not assume what children know or understand, because everyone is different in their awareness, development, and rationality. Respect for children is important, so that they can begin to emulate respect for teachers, others, and themselves. Teaching should be guided by these factors.

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Children Learn in Different Ways

Proceedings, American Montessori Society

1975, Granby Colorado

Learning As Creation, by John Bremer

Child Development, by J.M. Hunt

Montessori Day Care Panel

Kephart Development Model, by Nancy Miles

Gellner Rationale of Learning Disabilities, by Ward and Haise

Organizations Serving Young Children

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Learning As Creation, by John Bremer

Dr. John Bremer founded ‘School-Without-Walls’, Parkway Program, Cambridge

Bremer starts off with a joke about how he once stood up in front of people, and his pants did not. He says “as long as you’ll remember my pajama bottoms all the way through, then I guess I won’t feel too embarrassed about what I say.” Then he proposes a role for the student, as an artist. The artist should understand ‘three essential elements’: material, ideal, and skill. Bremer says that ‘temporal arts’ have a strong presence in time. Songs, music, and dance are temporal arts; you do not “see it before yours eyes as a totally finished thing. You experience it through time.” Temporal arts are more of a ‘process’, than they are an complete object. Bremer says that human beings are more dancers than sculptors, in how they live their lives. “Everything is a rehearsal, and yet everything is the only performance we will ever give. In that way it is incredibly beautiful and also incredibly frightening.” Students should be considered with the humane respect that we might give an adult artist; they are people. He considers the term ‘student’ to be almost equal to ‘artist’. Student = Artist. Teaching means introducing the student to materials, ideals, and skills. School is an activity, not a place; but the structure of a building does matter, as architecture affects learning. Psychological disposition is inherent in education, we all have our own ways or styles of teaching and learning. The student should ‘recreate the wheel’ to be the master of technology, rather that its slave. Also moral responsibility should be introduced by the teacher, so they do not create a ‘Frankenstein’ situation. One way of introducing morality, is to create community, as a bridge between society and individuals. Community to him meant people coming together and cooperatively carrying out common purposes. “We will never all be dancing, we will never all be still.” We dance with others to share love and friendship.

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Child Development, by J.M. Hunt

Dr. Hunt, Professor Emeritus of Psychology from University of Illinois

Plasticity is important in early psychological development. Intelligence should no longer be limited by predetermined training, but be allowed to expand and flourish with imaginative experiences. Education is important in the process of learning rules, and but to also think beyond the ‘box’. Piaget described the sensory motory phase as a kind of ‘shell game’. The child develops in progressive sequences, or steps.

Hunt goes on to address Head Start, IQ, vocab, and verbal tests and ages. IQ is not fixed, it fluctuates through-out a person’s life-time. 7 ordinal scales: object construction, strategy means (schemes), imitation gesture (physical), vocal imitation (tonal), operational causality, object relations, object relation. Branches of learning can develop at different rates, this is natural; in accordance with genetics and circumstances like environmental nurturing, social effects, and local area situations. The problem of ‘the match’ is how an equilibrium between stages of development can be key to complex phases of child education. When cognition is lacking, motivation is necessary; as found in The Secret of Childhood, by Montessori. Like the Pavlovian ‘What is it?’ reflex; change of habituated input, recognitive familiarity, and the challenge of ‘old-vs-new’ attraction stimuli all matter greatly. Observe, create, and make sure you are free to adapt your methods in order to teach better.

Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work

Montessori Mother, by Dorothy Fisher

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Montessori Day Care Panel

reported by Janice Sullivan

Children’s House, Broomfield, Colorado

Integrating Montessori into Public Education – existing materials, introduce practical life area, order Montessori materials, regroup into groups of 30 children (max), maintain order, demonstrate activities. Varies local services were addressed. A ratio of non-Montessori staff and aides are allowed.

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Kephart Developmental Model

Nancy Miles, NC KGH Achievement Center, Fort Collin, CO

Systems and Structures – The total environmental concept: the home, school, community, peer group; all play a part in shaping a child’s behavior, through demands for response or interaction. Kephart Child Development Theory of Stages of Learning: motor, motor-perceptual, perceptual-motor, perceptual, perceptual-conceptual, conceptual-perceptual. Audition, Vision, and Kinesthesia should be integrated.

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Gellner Rationale of Learning Disabilities, by Ward and Haise

This article criticizes the Gellner approach, but talks about how it is compatible with other systems. It is a neuro-psychological concept of mental retardation, which includes some useful tools for training students that may not be able to fully understand conventional topics. Gellner said that children who are classed as retarded, mainly have brain impairments of either a structural or bio-chemical character. These impairments prevented normal integration of impulses coming from various parts of the body. Senses play a very important part in our learning. Gellner came up with 4 sensory neural systems: 2 involve vision, and 2 involve audition. Mentally retarded children cannot learn in the same ‘normal’ ways, because they suffer from sensory deprivation.

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Organizations Serving Young Children

Reported by Jim Hennes

The panel concluded that the session had been important in pulling together these representatives, and that future efforts should be made to share some time together among organizations.

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Montessori Quotes

“Education demands only this: the utilization of the inner powers of the child for his own instruction.”

“The essence of the independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.”

“A child’s work is to create the person they will become. An adult works to perfect the environment, but a child works to perfect them-self.”

“Development comes from environmental experience.”

To have learned something is, for a child, only a point of departure. What is necessary after that is a period of digestion or maturation, a period of intense and prolonged mental activity.”

“The more fully the needs of one period are met, the greater will be the success of the next.”

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“Teacher, teacher look at me now,

my days are light, my time is right

because you showed me how.

Teacher teacher look what I can do

my lines are straight, they are perfect mates

across the paper blue.

and if you’ll hold my hand

I’ll skip the land and gather flowers new –

hey teacher, teacher, look at me now

just look what I can do.”

– Anon

 

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