MARIA MONTESSORI METHOD
We can talk, write and listen for hours about Maria Montessori’seducation. We know that if you are here, you probably feel the same. We have been touched by many aspects of research and observations of this Italian doctor, and two of them in particular set the course for our work. They are the impact of surroundings on a child’s development and the needs that different children experience in the same periods of their development.
A child’s mind is like a sponge - Maria Montessori used to say - it absorbs everything that surrounds it. However, at various stages of development some aspects of the surroundings a child absorbs more than others. Montessori noticed, following years of observations, that children at a certain moment in their life completely naturally and on their own show particular interests in a given subject or skill. On this basis, she distinguished six, the so-called, sensitive phases: sensory experiences, mobility, small items, language, social life, and order. In these periods, children are particularly devoted to a given aspect of life or strive to master some activity. It comes naturally to them, they learn it with pleasure, without any effort and sometimes even unwittingly. A child in a sensitive phase can focus totally and begins to be absorbed by some activity not paying any attention to any external stimulus. This amazing phenomenon Montessori called polarization of attention. The doctor compared these internal needs and instincts to a lantern that illuminates a child’s inside, casting light on what they need at a given moment.
THE NEED FOR ORDER
It is fundemental for a child from birth to 6 years old. Order allows a child to achieve a basic sense of security. It contributes to building internal order and peace. During this time, a child feels the need for tidy surroundings, a clean, neat and organized home and also order in activities, daily schedule, meal times, care times or sleep times. Order (or lack of it) in a child’s surroundings provides (or not) observation points and hence a sense of security and as a result self-assurance and self-confidence in life. In particular, children aged between 2- and 4-years show a great interest in tidying.Cleaning, sweeping, putting things away, folding clothes or wiping - all of this brings great joy to a child because it comes from an internal imperative present in the time of particular sensitivity to order. Montessori believed that it is necessary for children in their development, in contrast to adults for whom it is simply a pleasure.