Thursday, August 02, 2007

More Montessori Musings

In my musings about Montessori education one of my concerns was my inability to be a purist about the method. In the light of that I was delighted to read Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water by Suzanne at Blessed Among Men. She makes a case for Montessori being about principles rather than method, about a way of viewing education rather than a collection of materials. Here is her list of the principles at the heart of a Montessori-style education:

*The freedom of the child
*The absorbent mind and its functioning
*The importance of work: How a child's work differs from that of an adult
*The sensitive periods of development: Child led learning
*The prepared environment
*Spiritual preparation of the teacher
*Poverty of spirit
*The need to protect and shield the child
*The importance of joy in work

I confess that part of the attraction of Montessori for me is the stuff. I like the idea of having lots of manipulatives and activities available. However, I can see I could easily end up obsessing on collecting the right bits and pieces to the detriment of the underlying principles - of putting the bathwater before the baby. I ordered The Secrets of Childhood from the library and collected it yesterday. There should be lots of food for thought there.

Funny ... I intended to make myself a reading list for the summer, but never got round to it. Now it seems to have made itself:

* A People's History of Britain
* In the Steps of St.Paul
* The Secrets of Childhood
* Flatland by Edwin Abbot (a "living geometry" book recommended to me by a friend, also collected from the library yesterday.)

And when I finish those, more H.V.Morton.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Oh Kathryn, the stuff is attractive, isn't it? I've seen one Montessori catalog and it was amazing to browse through!
I tagged you for a cool meme.
Have fun!