Archive for September, 2010

Argh!

September 19, 2010

When I read Maria Montessori’s books, as well as some of the other books for my course, I feel incredibly inspired. I feel as if this is just the most sensible method out, and like I’m definitely doing a good and important thing. Then I think of how much I would love to discuss the philosophy and methods with people who really understand it, and can clarify points, and I wait hopefully for my next lecture.

But, in lectures, I don’t feel as if there is anyone there who can help me in the way I want to be helped. I feel as if I am just being given a surface skimming of the method.  I’d like to have Maria Montessori herself  visit us briefly, so that I can actually ask her what she meant by some of the more obscure passages.  Also, in none of the schools that I have visited or observed in, do I see the phenomena of repetition, spontaneous discipline, peaceful children etc that so astonished visitors to the first Montessori schools in the early part of last century.  I have obviously seen some instances of children concentrating (notably a 2 1/2 year old working on a cutting exercise, oblivious to the world around her, for 45 minutes – that’s a looooong time for a little one), but in general, not.

Why? What is different today? Did Maria Montessori (blasphemous thought!!!) exaggerate the improvements and behaviours that she observed in the children in her schools,  are children today, with their wealth of toys, educational playthings, television and various other sensory bombardments, in need of different materials, or are all the environments I observed somehow “getting it wrong”?

I guess that I’ll find some of my answers when I have time to participate in some of the many Montessori forums out there, but in the meantime it’s all damn frustrating!