montessori education theory
4 Stages of Development:
Key Concepts of Piaget
Schemas – A schema describes both the mental and physical actions involved in understanding and knowing. Schemas are categories of knowledge that help us to interpret and understand the world.
No teacher needs to intervene in the learning process: “The goal is that the child will develop a sense of satisfaction from the work itself, not be dependent on the approval of a teacher.” (The Montessori Controversy, pg. 90) A child learns to make his own decisions and therefore to know and comprehend his instincts effectively. He develops confidence and the ability to problem solve. Montessori called children who reach this point “Normalized”, a term defined by qualities such as self-control, concentration, independence, empathy, and discipline. Normalization is the main goal of Montessori education.
in 1949, Dr. Maria Montessori published a book called “The Absorbent Mind”. She believed strongly in this theory of child-centered development and centered much of her work on it.
Young children aren’t usually known for intense concentration. To the contrary, kids are expected to bounce from one activity to another with the attention span of a gnat. That’s why parents are surprised by what they see when they tour Eton Montessori School in Bellevue, Washington: Children as young as three happily engaged in independent, focused work for long stretches.
Though the terms focus and concentration conjure up images of a child working alone, mindfulness is not always a solo pursuit. Montessori-style learning helps kids learn the fine art of shared concentration by encouraging them to engage in tasks with a classmate or two – a critical skill in the age of teamwork.
The first plane of development that starts at birth and continues until the child is 6 years old is characterized by children’s “Absorbent Mind”, which takes and absorbs every aspect, good and bad, from the environment that surrounds him/her, its language and its culture. In the second plane, from 6 to 12 years old, the child possesses a “rational mind” to emplore the world with imagination and abstract thinking. In the third plane, from 12 to 18 years old, the teenager has a “humanistic mind” which desires to understand humanity and to contribute to society. In the last plane of development, from 18 to 24 years old, the adult explores the world with a “specialist mind”, finding his/her place in it.
The Story of Numbers
Once the learner has found the meaning by contrast, he/she has to generalize the aspect which has previously been separated. If the aspect, for instance, is colour, generalization is achieved by keeping the colour invariant but varying other aspects such as form and size. The aim of generalization is not to find out what different aspects have in common; rather, it is to find out how different aspects vary. If the aspect is colour, the conclusion we will draw through generalization will therefore be something like: “so this can be red, and this and this”, rather than “they are all red”. As Marton ( 2015 ) points out: “Through contrast, we are trying to find necessary aspects of the object of learning, those that define it. Through generalization, we want to separate the optional aspects from the necessary aspects” (p. 51). However, from a variation-theoretical perspective, it is important here to emphasize that such generalization should always be preceded by contrast (ibid.).
The didactic material used for teaching the first arithmetical operations is the same one as used for numeration, the Number Rods. Montessori ( 1912/64 ) writes: