SYLLABUS OF NCDC MONTESSORI THEORY 2- MONTESSORI PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION Unit 3 CHILD’S SELF CONSTRUCTION: DAY 5-6

Pre Home Assignments

Learning Activity 1: Read passage & Meditate: Should read the passage in this unit minimum 3 times. After reading each paragraph, close your eyes & think about the paragraph content for a few minutes. Also do the preparations for the Live Class Lesson Activities.

Learning Activities for Live Class Session:

Learning Activity 1: Face to face Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a TV interview. One acting as Dr. Montessori. The other one asks questions regarding her child’s self-construction.

Learning Activity 2: Skit: Make students in to 4 or 5 member groups and plan and present skits regarding ground rules to be followed in Montessori school – like putting things back in their places, working through a book page by page, completing a task, not disturbing others at work, walking softly in a classroom, asking for permission to use others materials, keeping their environment tidy etc.

Learning Activity 3: Pair Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talk about- Often we hear children say, “Help me to do it by myself”.

Learning Activity 4: Group Discussion: “The superfluous and unnecessary help given to children becomes obstacles to their development.” – Discuss this subject by forming trainees into 7 or 8 member groups. One student can be the moderator of the Program.

Learning Activity 5: Observe Silence: Observe Silence Practice just like in a Montessori school. One student can be the Directress in the class.

Learning Activity 6: 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 7: 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: Do a Self-Speech about the ‘Absorbent Mind’ idea of Dr. Montessori in front of the mirror by following all the formalities and techniques of public speech.

Learning Activity 2: Face to face Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a TV interview. One acting as Dr. Montessori. The other one asks questions to her regarding her child’s self-construction. After that, change the role and continue practicing. Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Learning Activity 3: Pair Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talk about- Often we hear children say, “Help me to do it by myself”. Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Learning Activity 4: Self Speech in front of Mirror: Do a Self-Speech regarding the below narration in front of the mirror by following all the formalities and techniques of public speech. Topic: EDUCATION IS AN AID TO LIFE

Individual & pair learning activities as Post Home Assignments:

Learning Activity 1: Observation: Observe any one or two small kids near to your house and connect the ideas in this unit- child’s self-construction.

Learning Activity 2: Self Imaginary practice with closed eyes: Self-activity in freedom becomes the basis of education.

Introduction: The child’s self-construction is the central point of Dr. Maria Montessori educational psychology and philosophy. Her child rearing practices and educational methods are grounded in this idea of the child’s self-construction. Every child has two creative sensibilities. They are:
1. An absorbent mind. 2. Sensitive periods. They are internal aids which make his adaptation to the environment, modes of behaviour appear naturally. Slowly and gradually the child constructs an integral personality.
However the growing child’s personality does not depend entirely on the influence of the external environment. It also depends on the psychic pattern within the child. The psychic pattern is laid in each child before birth. This psychic entity is called the ‘Spiritual Embryo’. Every child has two embryonic stages;

FIRST STAGE: ANTENATAL – THE EMBRYO

In this first stage of ten months that is before birth two important developments take place. First: early physical development. Second: The patterns for the later psychological development are laid down.

SECOND STAGE: POST NATAL – THE SPIRITUAL EMBRYO

In this second stage of the first few years after birth, another two developments take place. First: The physical development of the child continues. Second: The early postnatal development is a constructive activity which makes the baby grow into a kind of ‘Spiritual Embryo’. Montessori used the analogy of the spiritual embryonic stage for a specific purpose. It was to show the great significance of early childhood. She emphasized the care, attention and protection the new-born children need. According to her, nature provides everything for their growth in the wombs of mothers. Once the children are born, they need as much as or even more attention and protection for natural growth. The newly-born children’s physical well-being is important and every one thinks of it. Each new-born baby is a new entity of a psychic life. So we all should have a great consideration not only for the physical life but also for the psychic life.

THE ABSORBENT MIND

One of the two ‘creative sensibilities’ in the children is ‘the absorbent mind’. From birth to six years children gain knowledge from their environment through their absorbent minds. The learning process starts with impressions being absorbed unconsciously. Children construct an understanding of the outside world, through their movements, and through the movements and manipulations of the objects in the environment. Gradually the impressions they have absorbed become meaningful. Children become more conscious from their unconscious state of mind. It is quite significant for us adults to understand that first few years. Impressions which children absorb not only enter their minds, but also really prepare it and form it.

“The child learns everything without knowing he is learning it and in doing so he passes little from the unconscious to the conscious treading always in the paths of joy and love”. – The Absorbent Mind. For example, let us consider how children learn language. Children receive sense impressions of their environment by seeing, hearing, touching, smelling etc. From birth to two years of age, they have learnt an amount of language without much teaching. How did it happen? They have absorbed it from what they saw and heard. Now they have a basis on which to acquire more language.

The most important formative period in which impressions are absorbed unconsciously are the first three years. In the next three years children continue to absorb impressions and knowledge. This is also a period of self-construction but is a conscious one. Now children have memory, thinking power and a will to do things.

Montessori’s discoveries agree with the findings of Swiss Psychologist, Jean Piaget. He called the children’s early stage ‘Sensory motor’, when they respond to their environment by reflex activity. Children’s reflex activities become organized into patterns of behaviour called ‘Schemata’. The key to the formation of schemata is movements as children interact with the environment. Gradually, they internalize their experiences and impressions. Before the age of five or six, they develop language skill and memory.

EDUCATION IS AN AID TO LIFE

Education helps the child to live his life of self-construction. Quite often Mothers, Nurses, and even teachers repress Children continually. Most children learn to use eyes, ears, hands, legs etc. striving to master the details of the environment, to gather knowledge directly from things. We are ignorant of this and try to stop them. The superfluous and unnecessary help given to children becomes obstacles to their development. Children should have activities and independence. They love activity and desire to accomplish things. Their main activity is to imitate adults. This imitation makes children social men of the future. To grow and develop children need independence. Often we hear children say, “Help me to do it by myself”. Children should be given different objects, toys and dolls to handle by themselves.

Giving them a small mirror and a comb, they will learn to brush and comb their hair. So also provide water and they would wash for themselves. Montessori schools an understanding teacher will not obstruct, but encourage them to do things to which they have a natural liking.

Allow children to walk; they enjoy it. Don’t carry them. We do not carry children who are above 7 or 8. But many parents and teachers carry grown-up children mentally, morally and figuratively. Such help is thoughtless and unkind. It is a hindrance. The whole purpose of education is to give children necessary help to develop themselves. Parents and teachers must re-orientate themselves. Self-activity in freedom becomes the basis of education.

Module Developed by: Baba Alexander

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