Every child is unique and for the Montessori educator, it is essential to meet every child with their unique developmental needs and guide them from there on.
WHY IT WORKS?
FOUR PLANES OF DEVELOPMENT
The aim of every human being is to adapt to their environment and culture in order to belong to it. Humans are the only species that have by the power of their intellect been able to consistently change themselves in order to adapt to any environment. A child’s primary goal is adaptation- to their community and culture. In the process of human adaptation, development plays a key role.
Dr Montessori saw every human being going through a series of rebirths in developing from an infant into a mature adult. She classified these stages into four six year phases beginning at birth and ending at the age of 24 where physical and psychological needs were different.
The four planes offer us an insight into the developmental phases and needs of every individual.
This is the first plane is from
birth to six years
The second plane is from
six to twelve years
Third plane is from twelve
to eighteen years
The fourth plane is from eighteen to twenty four years
The first plane of development is marked with a huge amount of transformation both physically and psychologically. The child at birth, from a helpless little person strives to independently walk, move and talk. They master an entire language by the age of 6 years. The developing nervous system, rapid brain activity, mind and movement coordination are all the physical changes that occur. Meanwhile the capacity of this young child to absorb everything he sees, hears, feels with his senses is the power of the absorbent mind. Juxtaposed with certain attractions to the environment, this child seeks unconditional love, collaboration with the adult to help it towards independence, integration with the family and communication in order to build a language for himself. This child is a sensorial explorer understanding everything about the world with his senses- touching, feeling, tasting, smelling, seeing, hearing and more.
Powers of the 3-6 year old
The Absorbent Mind
The absorbent mind is a special power gifted to the first plane child to aid them in the process of adaptation. Their mind is like a sponge capable of taking in everything offered within the environment. It absorbs in entirety and effortlessly. How else would a 6 year old speak the mother tongue fluently with all its nuances in a manner that adults cannot learn a new language with? This mind can absorb everything with permanence. Hence it is imperative that the experiences of this young child be as rich as possible. All that is absorbed cannot be seen but manifests itself in later life. Therefore all we can do is to provide children with experiences that are rich, positive and varied.
Sensitive periods refers to a specific span of time and whatever the child experiences here, is with a heightened awareness. The intensity of the sensitive periods peaks and fades for each child individually between 0-6 years. But once they pass, they can never recur. This irresistible attraction draws them to relevant elements or activities in the environment to build essential human characteristics or functions like language, movement, function in society, etc. If these sensitivities are satisfied, it results in a child who is calm and content. But if they are hindered in any way, the child tends to show aggression, ‘naughtiness’, throws tantrums and displays signs of anger. The Montessori classroom is developed to address a child’s sensitive periods leading him to work that interests, challenges and satisfies him and caters to his developmental needs.
The Prepared Environment
A prepared environment is one that caters to the learning and development of the child. The prepared environment is one that has taken all the needs of the first plane child into account. The absorbent mind, the sensitive periods, the work that they need to do, the developmental phases they are going through…everything. An environment that is child-sized makes everything accessible to a child who was otherwise living in a world suited to the needs and convenience of adults. Child sized chairs and tables, furniture that allowed them to lift and move it around, shelves that are of their height, materials and dainty bowls, cups and saucers that were meant to be held in their tiny hands…this is the prepared environment that encourages independence.
Areas of Work
Practical Life includes all activities that link human beings to their environment. Often considered the backbone of Montessori, Practical Life are the day to day activities of adults that a child wants to perform. Activities like pouring a glass of water, watering plants, buttoning their own shirt, polishing glass, etc., help children build on current skills and lay the foundation for later work. These activities offer opportunities for building concentration, coordination of movement, acquiring skill and thereby promoting independence and self-confidence.
Sensorial exploration is necessary for building up the intelligence. The child’s work is to construct intelligence through their senses. The more the experiences, the richer and stronger will be the intellect. Children develop an appreciation of the world through their senses. There are so many experiences they receive through their sense of touch, smell, taste, hearing and seeing. It is difficult for this young child to classify these experiences. The Sensorial area helps children to arrange their thoughts much like a library that needs classification in order to be organised.
Sounds are the first things to attract a child. Through various activities, we help children become aware of a word being broken into different sounds. We begin with phonetics. They gradually learn to write and express their thoughts. They begin reading to understand and appreciate the author’s thoughts. The approach to language in Montessori helps children develop an appreciation towards it. The complexity of languages is overcome with the help of rich material that is available for children to explore.
One of the reasons of a successful Montessori classroom is the indirect preparation it offers children. All through practical life and sensorial exploration, the child is judging, pairing, sorting and sequencing. The mind is being prepared for math which is quite an abstract concept for this young child. Children systematically work their way to counting and operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division by working and manipulating tangible materials, thus gaining a very deep, conceptual understanding.
WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY CHILD
DESERVES WINGS TO FLY
PLACE AN ENQUIRY