SYLLABUS OF MONTESSORI THEORY & METHODS UNIT 3 LEARNING MATERIALS DAY 7 – 9

Pre Home Assignments

Learning Activity 1: Read passage & Meditate (as home assignment): Should read the passages in this unit minimum 3 times. After reading each paragraph, close the eyes & think about the paragraph content in few minutes.
All students should do all preparations and practices with fullest effort for the live class session too.

Learning Activity 2: Observation through Internet: Watch the different images of Montessori Learning Materials in Montessori House of Children through Internet.

Learning Activities for Live Class Session:

Learning Activity 1: Pair Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talking regarding the learning materials they got at the time of school study and sharing the experiences regarding handling materials (practical/ lab equipment’s).

Learning Activity 2: Casual Group Discussion: Arrange a Casual Group discussion by forming trainees into 7 or 8 members group about “Children must have freedom of choice and independence. The teacher should not interfere”

Learning Activity 3: Play as a Skit: Play as a skit, Maria, Candida and children (as per the idea written in this unit)

Learning Activity 4: Imaginary Activity practice/ Visualization with closed eyes: Sub: Learning Materials in Montessori House of Children by using all five imaginary senses.

Learning Activity 5: Group Discussion: Arrange a Group Discussion like in TV. All students are participating in the discussion.
Round 1: Purpose and objectives of learning and practicing the content in this theory unit
Round 2: How to apply the knowledge and the ideas in this unit in your life, career and in society.

Learning Activity 6: Face to face Casual Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a Casual interview. One acts as Dr. Maria Montessori. The other one asking questions to her regarding the Materials using in her school and the ideas behind each Materials by imagining that she is Dr. Maria Montessori.

Learning Activity 7: Group Discussion: Arrange a Group discussion like in TV about ‘There is an inner teacher in every child’ by forming trainees in to 7 or 8 members group.

Learning Activity 8: Learning activity as per students’ choice. Conduct a learning activity as per the choice of lesson activities coordinating group.

Self-Home Assignments & with classmates:

Learning Activity 1: Self Speech in front of Mirror: About Learning Materials in a Montessori School. Talk about it in 5-10 minutes.

Learning Activity 2: Pair Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talking regarding the learning materials they got at the time of school study and sharing the experiences regarding handling materials (practical/ lab equipment’s). Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Learning Activity 3: Face to face Casual Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a Casual interview. One acts as Dr. Maria Montessori. The other one asking questions to her regarding the Materials using in her school and the ideas behind each Materials by imagining that she is Dr. Maria Montessori. Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Individual & pair learning activities as Post Home Assignments:

Learning Activity 1: Comparative study: Make a comparative study regarding the Materials used in a Montessori school and in a Non- Montessori School and write the main differences in 1 A4 page in your Assignment Book.

Learning Activity 2: Chart: Write the points to take care in making and giving Montessori Materials to children in a chart paper in an attractive way.

Learning Activity 3: Self-Meditation for Change Habit: “In many Montessori Schools when you visit, you can see each child using a particular object or set of materials in an organized manner putting it back in its place on the shelf”- Close your eyes for a little time and think about your present habit of keeping things in an organized manner. Visualize and take a decision to change your habit.

Learning Materials: Introduction

All the learning Materials, aids and apparatus which become essential part of the Montessori Method were patiently prepared, tried and tested again and again until they became exactly right for the little children. It took a lot of time to plan, design and devise them. Most of the Materials used in modern Montessori Schools are imitations of those that Maria developed after trial and error in Casa dei Bambini. The set of boards with letters made of glass paper pasted become basic equipment for writing and reading. Montessori developed learning materials for arithmetic and other subjects as well as a means of teaching numbers to children. She was a pioneer in using beads. It is now being followed all over world.
Maria Montessori insisted that learning materials should be bright, shiny of good quality and easy for children to hold and use. They should be geometrically shaped and designed for children-sized hands. The quality of blocks, bells, counting beads, cylinders and rods should be such that they last for years. They allowed children to make their own discoveries. Example: The rows of bells on alternate back and white strips of wood were used by children and teacher to grasp the slight differences in tome. One set of bells was named with its note. Children could match the two together. The interest, care and patience shown to get it right gave children confidence and satisfaction.
Presentations occupy a very important place in the work of a Montessori Directress in a Montessori School. The presentations are given by the Directress so that the child can perform the activity independently. All the presentations are offered as answer to the developmental needs of the child. Indirect presentations help the child to understand that this is the way things are done in the environment. It helps the child to realize that he is not an exception, everybody do it in the same way.
The Montessori Directress should know when the child is ready for exercises of practical life and sensorial activities. She should also know how to prepare children for them. First of all the child must have some confidence in the Directress and also in the environment. As a preliminary step, the child must be presented a few exercise of practical life. This will form a preparation for him to handle the sensorial activities effectively. Naturally, the practical life exercises are familiar. They help the child to settle down in the environment. When Children do the exercises of Practical life certainly it will help them to develop a taste and desire for intelligent, purposeful Sensorial activities. Exercises of practical life help him to develop neuron-muscular co-ordination and certain amount of psycho-motor unity.
Exercises of practical life help to make a personal, interested and intelligent contact with the environment. All the exercises of practical life and sensorial activities help him to develop and strengthen his will power. While working with the sensorial materials children are satisfying their own developmental needs. The sensorial activities help children to become conscious of various physical properties of matter by means of the related senses. They help them to refine their motor co-ordination. They also prepare them for other group developmental activities such as: Language, Arithmetic etc. Coordination of three powers INTELLIGENCE, WILL and VOLUNTARY MOVEMENTS are achieved and empowered.
A refinement senses makes them better servants of intelligence. Moreover, there is an awakening in the scientific approach and attitude of children. Through sensorial activities children use proper and precise terminology. They develop constructive thinking and the variety in experience enriches it. They prepare children for activities in languages and mathematics. The children are also helped in the creation and appreciation of all forms of art and culture.
Children by means of these refined sense organs become capable of facing problems in everyday life. Giving freedom to children in Montessori schools lead them to independence. Children reveal their true nature only when freedom is awarded. The Directress’s observation of the true nature helps her in providing assistance to children, and to lead then to total freedom. Children perform sensorial activities repeatedly on the basis of freedom of choice. While doing these activities they reach concentration and later independence. Freedom to work with any material and gathering impressions understanding them through sensorial perception, making the experience part of his personality and developing the applicative capacity may be considered as steps towards independence. The four groups of Exercises of practical life are:
a) Elementary Movements
b) Taking care of the environment
c) Taking care of one.
d) Social behavior.
Children satisfy many of their developmental needs by performing the exercises of practical life. These exercises help the intelligence will and voluntary movements. They begin to function in unity and strengthen themselves. The exercises of practical life are preliminary exercises, care of the environment, care of the person grace and courtesy, and movement. There are materials for each of these areas, adapted to the children’s size, interests and capabilities. Exercises of practical life help children to acquire independence with regard to performing elementary movements. Children acquire independence and grow in consciousness with regard to taking care of his environment and themselves. These exercises lay foundation for an integral personality.
Children establish conscious, active and personal contacts with the environment. They acquire a desire to perform intelligent constructive and positive work. They develop the habit of judging any activity objectively and aim for perfection. The Montessori Directress must be capable and imaginative to arrange for the exercises of practical life in a Montessori School. First of all she should ensure freedom. It is her duty to provide enough room and scope for taking the exercises possible. Display of the materials has to be done individually, with the reach of the children’s hands and eyes. She should have a constant check on the materials keeping the following points in mind.

1. The materials must provide challenge for all the age groups.
2. The materials must be physically proportionate to the child’s size and capacity.
3. They should also be psychologically proportionate.
4. They should be attractive for choice of and repetition.
5. All decorations are to be done by taking ideas from nature.
6. They should serve the purpose of functional value.
7. Every activity ought to have an independent set of material.
8. There must be multiple sets for the same activity.
9. All the tools must be adapted to local conditions.

Dr. Maria developed her methods from her observations of children. Her ideas in the methods grew out of what children did naturally. She believed that children knew best how to teach themselves. There is an inner teacher in every child. Real education begins with the child, not the teacher. This is the corner stone and keynote in the education of young children. She wrote in her book all significant observations at Casa dei Bambini. They showed how they had led her to significant new pieces of knowledge about how children learn and behave. Once she described how a girl of three worked with the Cylinders and the board into which they fitted. “The girl did the same exercises again and again, forty two times! She did it with such concentration that she took no notice of anything else that was happening in the room. At last, she stopped suddenly as though coming out of dream, and smiled as if she were very happy. Her eyes shone”. She wondered why the girl wanted to repeat the same exercise so many times; she felt that her task was finished. According to her it was “a first glimpse in to the unexplored depth of the child’s mind”.
The above observation made her believe that children needed to repeat exercises which they had performed before. Probably it gave them a feeling of security before they attempted a new exercise. Children have a great need for order and cleanness. In many Montessori School you visit, you can see each child using a particular object or set of materials and very neatly putting it back in its place on the shelf. It gives every child the security of knowing that all materials would always be in its correct position ready for use, unless it is not already in use by someone else. This habit gives each child a respect for the other children and for the material also.

Freedom of choice:

Maria learned the principle of Freedom of choice from her children in the Casa dei Bambini. Her assistant Candida arrived late one morning and children were already in room. As the shelves containing the materials were unlocked children had already been to it. Most of the children took their favorite materials and were busy with them. Seeing this Candida grew angry and wanted to punish for the indiscipline and stealing. Maria corrected Candida, saying that children had only shown that they were keen to start work. The help of an adult to start their work was not necessary and above all that they had made their own choices of materials. Children should be admired, appreciated and praised for this. They should not be scolded or punished for such initiatives. After this incident, Maria made more observations. She found that certain materials were in greater demand than others. A few items of materials become totally ignored and unused. It meant that children must have freedom of choice and independence. The teacher should not interfere. The children must have the freedom to pick and choose what they want.

Edited & his Methodology applied by: Baba Alexander, New Delhi

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