Embryonic Development

1 January 2017

One is parental, like that of the animals; the other is postnatal and only man has this. The prolonged infancy of man separates him entirely from the animals, and this is the meaning we must give to it” Dr. Maria Montessori Basic Ideas of Montessori’s Educational Theory Comment on the above quote. Using this quote, explain the way in which Montessori philosophy aids the child formation of his personality.

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When Wolff announced his discoveries on the segmentation of the germ cell, he threw new light on the process of creation of living creatures, and at the same time made it possible to verify, by direct observation, the existence of the inner forces working in accordance with the pre-determined pattern. But when after the discovery of microscope, he found out that the first stage is a simple germ cell ,which results from the union of two cells, male and female, consist simply of membrane ,protoplasm ,and nucleus. The germ cell however possesses a most singular property of subdivision and subdivision on a pre-established pattern.

But if we look at the development of the animal embryo, we see that the cell first split into two ,these two into four and so on ,and so by continuous multiplication,introflexion and differentiation ,it develops into a complicated whole of organs and tissues. The germ cell therefore simple ,transparent and devoid of any material design ,works and builds in exact obedience to the immaterial order it bears within itself-like a faithful servant who knows by heart the mission he has received and who fulfills it ,though carrying on his person no document that could reveal the secret order he has been given .

These tiny cells contain the blueprint of the child, which are inherited by the ancestors, so every new born baby bears a pattern of physical instincts of the functions that will set its relation to the environment. Yet during the development of the embryo measures need to be taken to determine that the embryo reaches its potential. Although the fetus is well protected in the mother’s womb still it becomes vulnerable if the environment provided is not safe.

The environment of the embryo is determined by the quality of the others diet, her lifestyle such as smoking, drug addiction or alcoholic for instance if the mother is using alcohol during pregnancy the chances are that it may cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and children born with FAS may: •Grow more slowly •Have learning problems •Have abnormal facial features whether the mother has been exposed to harmful substances as Radium. For instance the Atomic bomb invasion on Hiroshima & Nagasaki during the World War II created deformities, cancer, and leukemia in the mother’s womb.

Embryology, thus became the most fascinated science as it as it does not study the organs of the developed being but it has its end and aim to uncover the creative process, the way in which the body ,which doesn’t exist comes to shape itself for the entry in the world. Julian Huxley sums up the miracle of the embryo “The passage from nothing to the complex body of the fully grown individual is one of the constant miracles of life . If we are not struck by the greatness of this miracles, it can only be for one reason ,that it occurs so often under our eyes in the experience of the everyday life. (The Absorbent Mind,2010,pg. 46)

Montessori often compared the process of psychological and spiritual development to the physical unfolding of the human organism. Just as the material body first takes shape as a self-forming embryo, requiring during its formation the protection and nurturance of the womb that envelopes it, the human soul first appears in the newborn child in an embryonic form that requires Nourishment from a psychic womb—the protective environment of loving, caring parents and a spiritually responsive education.

Montessori’s distinctive notion of the child as a “spiritual embryo” Emphasized her key principle that the growing human being is not simply a biological or Psychological entity, but a spiritual energy seeking expression in the form of a human body within the physical and cultural world. She compared the mysterious emergence of spiritual life in the child to the Incarnation of God in Christ described in the New Testament, “when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Montessori, 1972b, p. 9). For Montessori, the Word is made flesh in every child born in the world; each human being has his or her path of incarnation to follow, his or her destiny. The unconscious drive force called “Horme” drives the child to incarnates himself, from the moment he’s born he uses his senses to understand his environment .

To fully engage in his environment the child must have freedom to move “Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur”. Montessori, like Emerson, referred to the “secret” within the soul of every child—the personal spiritual imperative that transcends whatever social prejudices, Ideologies, and mundane educational curricula that adults seek to overlay onto the child’s personality.

Reflecting on the unusually lengthy period of physical dependence that human infants (compared to other species for instance animals have instincts as a pup of the dog knows that he has to use his four limbs to walk and nose to smell ) experience, It is the ability to manipulate the environment to increase thought and analysis of the world around them that allows humans to progress in a “superior” manner than other species.

Montessori would argue that the intellectual ability for humans to think critically in each stage of development allows for the needs and desires of humans to be more advanced than that of an animal who lives to survive instead of transform society (MM, 1964). Montessori was convinced that early childhood is designed to be a time of intense psychic receptivity. The young child takes in the world through an ”absorbent mind,” literally incarnating (taking into its body mind) the sensations, impressions, and feelings it receives from the surrounding environment.

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