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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How I love thee

I always hail Montessori. People who are close to me may think that I am possessed by her theory. People that I just met may think I am one crazy mom! I hailed Montessori Approach & Theory because her discoveries and writing made me understand lil C better. Pheww!

Tell me about the Terrible Two syndrome! Tho it is very very exhausting, but I enjoy being with lil C because I understand most of his cunning and witty behaviour. Most of his tantrums were because of he is too tired/sleepy or because he felt his territory is being violated. They too need to be respected!

Here's are some excerpts on a normalised child explained by Montessori. <more>

Maria Montessori believed the child’s mind from birth to six years is quite different from the adult’s and labeled it an absorbent mind. The child effortlessly soaks in everything in his culture and environment. Modern scientists are now, almost a century later, finding scientific data to support her discoveries. She saw a tremendous need for the child to have respectful and intelligent help during this absorbent mind stage. She saw the child as constantly unfolding and developing himself, and saw the adults that were trying to train him as obstacles to his progress. Her life’s work could be summed up as defining the nature of the child and the role of the adult in helping him, thus easing the tug-of-war that exists when two completely different natures meet:

...The child loves concentration - the adult entertains, distracts or interrupts him (I have to agree, sometimes without realising it, I would cheer for lil C, which makes him so excited and stop doing what he suppose to do.. Dope!). The teacher in this prepared environment respects his concentration and allows him to complete an inquiry or exploration. This involves everything from watching a bug on the window sill to drops of water on a table.

...The child loves repetition - the adult becomes bored with it (hahaha! How true.. One example : Lil C will keep doing the things that he loves without complains). Montessori allows this freedom, with respect, as the child perfects his movements.

...The child loves order but the adult provides a toy box that can afford nothing but disorder. (Try keeping your kitchen organized within one large box.) (I did that before.. Now I have converted my shoe rack into a simple montessori shelf) The prepared environment offers shelves with neatly arranged activities always in the same place.

...Children prefer work (learning) to play (toys) - adults do not. A child’s “work” is his preparation for life: hopefully when he matures he will enjoy his work, for he has perfected what he likes to do best. (When lil C use the broom to 'sweep', I thought it was a waste of time.. but now I understand! So I allow lil C to use the broom, as long as he doesnt misuse it.)

...Children do not need rewards - adults like to think they do. Accomplishment and creativity are reward enough. A child is self-motivated at this age and with the right environment will remain so as he grows. (At first, I thought this was kinda hard to digest. But then I realised that it is so true. I have experienced many times. One good example, an older nephew, Ian, age 3 was so proud when he sang songs and the lil ones followed. He would be glad to sing song many times and said, "I, koko, teach lil C and Isaac new songs. I like it." Yeap.. no reward needed.)

... Children love silence - adults demand it. The Montessori environment creates an awareness of silence. “Let me see if you can tip toe away so quietly I can still hear the birds chirping.” (They love to be challenged so)

On and on her discoveries move toward providing a practical way to a peaceful coexistence with children.

To me, Montessori had answered a lot of my blues... ;) Thanks, Dr. M!


Jewelle said...

Interesting, thanks for making this readable. I am a lazy reader and so I never take the time to read all those books or even articles on montessori. hKeep informing us.

Celine said...

You are most welcome! Glad to be able to share some of her discoveries. I do agree, esp Dr M's book herself, the language is long-winded, and some more written in old English style! More over, I need to read because I hafta submit my assignments. ;)

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