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!


3 Responses to “Argh!”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Just taking a break from a Montessori essay and stumbled upon your post a year later 😉 I went to a nursery last week for teaching practice and watched a little girl clean a chair for 55 minutes!! I was so amazed… coming home and telling people that do not know much about Montessori thought I was bonkers!

    • halfwork Says:

      I know – my daughter used to be like that, and still can concentrate for aaages if she’s interested in something. But my (nearly 3yo) son has about a 7 minute limit. I find it a bit frustrating since I’m sure I just haven’t hit anything that engages him well enough. I’m hoping that next year, in a Montessori preschool, he’ll find things that grab him. Good luck with your essay and your course. It’s hectic, that’s why I’m only just getting my stuff organised enough to post now!

  2. sidharthmohandas Says:

    I like your attitude to learning. Questioning is one of the greatest ways forward in scientific research. If Montessori was true, then we must ask ourselves, like you have, what has changed. Possibly the world of technology? Or could it be that the whole tone set to the environment is one of ‘being rushed’. I don’t know. Thanks for your post 🙂

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