I think Montessori’s view that a child from the age of 3 to 6 had what she called an absorbent mind is well known. She is probably most famous for her book The Absorbent Mind, which is a collection of lectures on young children’s education given in India. She and her son Mario fled there to escape the unwelcome gaze of Mussolini’s new found National Socialistic tendencies.
The next stage she speaks of is what she call spontaneous activity. As a child attains the age of reason (around 6 to 7) they are beginning to want to make more of their own discoveries. The child will explore, experiment and want to make it themselves.
Now, I have three children I am still home educating. They are aged 9 (10 in Feb) very nearly 8 (Dec birthday) and 5 and a half.
The original idea of going down the Montessori route was/is because Heleyna the youngest is such a kinesthetic learner. But as we’ve started using the materials all three children have shown an interest.
I think I need to do some of the 3 to 6 album work with Heleyna as a leg up for the next stage. Looking at the albums I think the standard for the 3 to 6 age group is quite high. I don’t know why, but I had always thought Montessori lessons were “easier” somehow. Well, I’m learning!! My brain hurts!
I think I’ll start with a great lesson and work from there. The God Who Has No Hands, because it’s lovely.
I’ve been doing some of the Geometry Album work with her already and Avila has joined in with bits of it. I think Montessori’s strong leaning to children learning geometry is a lovely reminder that her first degree was in engineering. She was a brilliant woman.
Montessori was an excellent observer. She saw how the children in her Casa Bambini’s developed and she marked sensitive periods. Growth in language abilities accumulate over the years from birth to 6 and develop differently after that. A sensitive period for the understanding of numbers between ages of 4 to 5 and a half. I think I’ve seen that with Heleyna who has taken off in her understanding of how numbers work and basic math facts.
SENSORY aspects: Montessori understood that we are sensory creatures. We receive information about the world around us from all our senses, not just by reading about it or looking at it.
Modern “educational stuff” tends to be highly visually stimulating. Parents with children on the autistic spectrum will often complain about it. Many adults find the high colour, loud noise and constant shifting of picture in visual resources pretty horrible too.
Montessori resources tend to be low-colour Even the pink tower is available in a natural wood finish (the one I have) so that children are not subjected to a barrage of over-stimulation. Learning is a gentle progressive process; something else that overlaps with Charlotte Mason.
BOOKS; where does literature and books fit into a Montessori education? I have seen some criticism of Montessori, some saying Charlotte Mason herself criticised it, over the place of books. From what I can see, books, good literature, that is, does have a strong place in Montessori education. But even if, for some reason, they didn’t, we would still have them very much as part of our family education here.
Right now I am sorting through albums and books, so we’ll see how it goes.