Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nuggets on Child Development from Montessori's "The Absorbent Mind"


Caring well for an infant gives him or her the chance to develop to full potential later on.

"And if this period is helped in conformity with the requirements of human life, to that degree will each one benefit, by being better able, later on, to develop his individual capacities. " from Chapter 7, The Spiritual Embryo.

In particular, it is important to talk and read to babies, even if they don't seem to respond. 

"There is an unconscious development that prepares speech, and succeeded by a conscious process which slowly awakens and takes from the unconscious what it can offer." from Chapter 10,  Some Thoughts on Language,

Children's natural urge for independence should be supported in the toddler years and beyond. 

 "The child's conquest of independance are the steps in what is called natural development." from Chapter 8, The Child's Conquest of Independence.

 I think that this is a critical truth for parents and teachers.  Children are naturally driven to establish their independence from an early age.  If they sense that we are their allies in this pursuit, they will learn from us more readily.

"How does he achieve independence?  He does it by continual activity. " from Chapter 8, The Child's Conquest of Independence

Let me make it my business to make worthwhile activity continually available!

 This principal applies not simply to "academics" but to learning constructive social behaviors. "Growth comes from activity, not from intellectual understanding."  from chapter 23, Cohesion in the Social Unit.

The  pre-school years are a golden time for learning.

"Before three the functions are being created, after three they develop.  .   . So from the ages of three to six, being now able to tackle his environment deliberately and consciously, he beings a period of real constructiveness."  from chapter 16, From Unconscious Creator to Conscious Worker

"It is at this age the vocabulary is most rapidly enriched."  from chapter 17, Further Elaboration Montessori elaborates that between ages three and six is the best time to introduce technical scientific vocabulary and familiarity with the globe.   

Montessori maintains that children's physical and moral movements will progress as their mental processes become disciplined and focused.  "The essential thing is for the the task to arouse the interest of the child so that it engages his entire personality." from chapter 19, the Child's Contribution to Society.

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