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Key Factors

ABSORBENT MIND

 Dr. Maria Montessori used this term to describe a phenomenon which explains the inherent and special quality and process by which a young child (0-6yrs.) gains knowledge.

It is a process of the mind which a child can learn and store so much knowledge without effort or fatigue.

 Montessori refers to a child’s mind as the absorbent mind because of its ability to assimilate all the information around him unconsciously.  All the imprints that he has taken of his environment are internalized and become a part of him.  The child reincarnates what he has absorbed and received from his environment and becomes what he’s absorbed.

 PREPARED ENVIRONMENT

There are many aspects of the Montessori prepared environment, each carefully designed to facilitate the child’s development.  The prepared CASA environment includes the experienced Montessori Teacher (directress) and rich Montessori Materials (practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, and culture). 

 Another key aspect of the Montessori prepared environment is the structured order of the classroom and the presentation of activities to appeal to each child’s sensitivities.

 “ A child has a two-fold sense of order.  One of these is external and pertains to his perception of his relations with his environment.  The second is internal and makes him aware of the different parts of his own body and their relative positions.” Montessori, Maria, Secret of Childhood.

 In the prepared environment, activities are presented and practiced with precision.  This appeals to the child’s sensitivity for movement and aids his development of ‘internal order’ and muscular memory.  Each child is responsible for returning his completed activity to the correct place on the shelf, in the condition that he found it.  In turn, the child knows where the activities are to be found in the classroom and builds confidence that things will be in their expected place and that he can complete a cycle of work independently.  In assuming responsibility for maintaining the order of the classroom, the child is exercising his sensitivity to order, to spatial relationships and to movement.  He is refining his senses as he establishes order, practicing his powers of observation and discriminating ‘what is next’.  He is developing social skills, motivated by a sensitivity for courtesy towards his classmates so they might find the environment (classroom and activities) as they would expect it.

 FREEDOM AND DISCIPLINE

 Montessori; a classroom based on freedom where a child begins to explore and discover through activities and experiences.  When only time and experience will help a child develop inner discipline and not their teacher. 

 When we refer to FREEDOM IN THE CLASSROOM, we refer to a structured freedom with limits.  This freedom allows the child to choose and work with any of the materials available, prolonging that the materials are available and are being used in the correct manner.  The fact that there are no same activities in the classroom helps eliminate competition among the children and encourages cooperation and patience.  These children choose their work spontaneously.

“A teacher simply assists him at the beginning to get his bearings among so many different things and teaches him the precise use of each of them, that is to say, she introduces him to the ordered and active life of the environment.  But then she leaves him free in the choice of execution of his work.”  Montessori, Maria, Discovery of the Child

TEACHER / DIRECTRESS

 The directress is responsible for observing each child to identify the appropriate time to present a new activity.  The goal in ‘presenting the right material at the right time’ is to appeal to that individual child’s active sensitivity and thereby stimulate concentration and development.

 “The directress must be convinced of two things-that the guidance is the responsibility of the teacher, and the individual exercise is the work of the child.” Montessori, Maria, Discovery of the Child.

 The directress observes the children in her class to recognize their needs, interests and patterns.  She sparks interest and curiosity, and steps aside to allow the children to educate themselves.  The true role of the teacher is best described as a ‘behind the scenes’ one much like that of a movie director who foresees and is involved in every aspect , even if they are not in full view.  The overall environment and ambiance depends on her.  She must ensure that the materials are well maintained and in good order.  She must be aware of a child’s readiness for specific materials.  The ‘GUIDE’ must know when to intervene and when to hold back; She is aware of the children who need to be gently redirected to a new exercise or not.  In essence, she guides the children to be self-confident and secure in their own judgment.

 

 

 

     
 
 
 
 
 
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