Dr. M Montessori Said That the Child Develops
The child is believed to hold a secret. After much research, this secret is the potentials that a child is naturally born with. The child is known to be a spiritual embryo, possessing qualities that are not visible at birth, which would help him build himself. These hidden potentials allows the child to reveal himself through the process of development, and hence, able to self-construct himself through his fullest potentials. There are two aids that assist in attaining a child’s full potentials. They are the internal and external aids. The internal aids are what the child has within himself.
Upon birth, the child is born with an absorbent mind that is unconscious until the age of 3. The child here absorbs everything in his environment without filtering it. There is no physical, emotional or mental control here. From 3-6 years old, the child becomes conscious of the information he has absorbed and is absorbing, but he is able to sort, classify and put it in order in his mind. The child also has what is called the “Sensitive periods”. The sensitive periods are the blocks of time in a child’s life when he is absorbed with one characteristic of the environment.
Children are able to acquire certain abilities with ease. During this phase, a function can be more perfectly established. The child here needs order in the environment and uses his five senses to learn. His movements are co-ordinated, there is a development of language, a fascination of minute details of objects and a time of social interest. This is a very important stage and if the child is not assisted, this natural opportunity for conquest would be lost, for this period is only seen in a child. The child also has 8 pre-determined psychic patterns.
These are also known as nebulae. These 8 potentials are the most crucial among the rest. It is the main component, the main focus. The secret of the child lies heavily in these 8 laws of natural development. This includes the law of work, law of independence, power of attention, and development of will, development of intelligence, development of imagination/creativity, development of emotional/spiritual life and the stages of growth. To start, a child has the law of work. A child works differently than the adult. An adult focuses on the end result.
The adult is more interested in reaching their goal, even if it means the taking the quickest way possible. On the other hand, the child is more interested in the process; the end result does not matter as much as to the adult. The child works for himself, not for the sake of process. He build ups his concentration, motor development, work habit and self-concept. He also uses the law of maximum effort. Even though he works on a small thing, he puts in all he has got into it; putting in all his exertion into that step.
It might be something small to an adult, but to the child, it is something big, and with his will, he will work until he conquers and perfects it. The child also uses his environment to prove himself. He relates to the environment, interacts with it and absorbs impressions for his psychic development. The child’s rhythm differs from the adult as his journey is not rushed and he allows himself to be able to perform the work faultlessly, even if it takes him 45 times working with the same material.
Next, the law of independence refers to how the child relies to his inner guide. He is able to take what he wants to work with, be able to self-correct himself when he is wrong and able to do these things for himself. In order to be independent, he must be able to do things without immediate help of others. “Do nothing for your child you know they can do for themselves. ” Power of attention refers to the way the child can focus on what he is working on. He can direct his full attention to a particular object in his environment with intensity and an interest.
This way, he is able to learn concentration, and to be able to build his personality, and thus, he would be calmer and more controlled and rested. The development of will is when the child’s ability for prolonged attention and concentration is revealed. Anything the child does have will in it. If there is a will, there’s a way, and this is what the child believes. If he wanted to perfect walking and he would repeat and repeat it. He would not give up until he does. He wants to be the master of his environment. He makes continuous decisions and actions on his own in the environment.
He develops confidence and eventually the power to obey. With that, the child will be obedient, not because he was told to do so, but because he wants to and chooses to. This strong will in the child is what makes him reach independence, and allows him to further aid in the development of his inner-self. The development of intelligence is how the mind constructs itself with his environment, creating a system of relationship with the child and his environment. When the child goes through his unconscious absorbent mind stage, he takes in all that is around him without filtering.
Once he reaches the conscious stage, he is able to filter them, group them, categorize them and link them to his environment. The child develops a mental stimulation from this, increasing his intelligence. In order for the child to be able to develop creativity, the child has to undergo three qualities, and they are power of attention and concentration, autonomy and independence of judgement and openness to truth and reality. This allows the child to develop realistic and order perceptions of his environment.
With creativity, there has to be imagination. Imagination in Montessori terms refers to when the child can absorb his environment, and makes it a part of him. He is able to segregate all the information he sees, and familiarize with the idea of it. He then uses this power of imagination to connect the materials with his environment and eventually is able to put in creativity into it. This development of imagination and creativity can only be done through a sensorial way, so as to be able to collect this information accurately.
Last but not least, the development of emotional/spiritual life refers to the child’s inner ability to respond to experiences once he is born. He does this through receiving stimuli from the people around him. He learns through the socializing, and therefore would result in the development of emotional maturity. He would feel empathy for others and a sense of mutual responsibility would be created, and he would have morals. In morals, the child will be able to know what is right or wrong/ good or evil.
He would be able to set clear limits against destructive or unsocial behaviour. The child also has what is considered the tendencies of men. There are 14 tendencies are they are exploration, order, gregariousness, communication, abstraction, curiosity, calculation, repetition, concentration, self-control, work, perfection, creativity and independence. All these tendencies operate like a single force to allow man to adapt culturally and modify the environment. The external aids are divided into two areas, the prepared environment and freedom.
The prepared environment provides a peaceful and simple atmosphere where children are allowed to explore and learn through concrete ways. It is designed so that the child has the maximum ability to learn and explore. It is a well-thought environment designed for the child to foster independence. It is based on reality and the materials are real and child-sized so that he is able to use the materials and complete a task without being frustrated. Freedom in a Montessori classroom is taught within limits. A child can only reveal himself through freedom.
This freedom will provide the child with his needs for self-construction. The child’s limitations are to respect others, respect the materials, respect the environment, and respect himself and progress at his own rate. He is also given the freedom to move, choose, speak, grow, love and be loved, and free from danger, competition and pressure. The directress has to link the internal aids and the external aids in order for the child to reveal the secret of childhood. Only through revealing all potentials can a child reach normalization and allow a society of cohesion to form.