MARIA MONTESSORI
Biographical Information
• 1870-1952
• first Italian woman physician
• interest in mental retardation - especially those institutionalized and
lacking normal educational experiences
• followed the methodologies of Seguin:
– developmentally challenged children interested in sensory stimulation
and physical activity
– Montessori used a variety of tasks which were concrete (i.e. involved
manipulation of objects, etc.)
• bore a child out of wedlock
• 1907 - created a school in Rome for poor children
– completely successful by 1913 (but not accepted by mainstream
educators)
– forgotten by 1918
– resurgence of interest in her work during the 1960's
Theoretical Foundations
• theoretical work similar to Rousseau:
– focus on self-learning of children
– belief that the thinking patterns of children are
different from those of adults
• sensitive period concept:
– genetically-based
– apply both to cognitive and physical abilities
– children are innately inclined to focus on these
activities ... to stop them from doing so, negatively
affects development
MARIA MONTESSORI
• SENSITIVE PERIODS
Sensitive Periods
•
The Sensitive Period for Order
–
–
first 3 years of life
notion that children like to "put things in their place"
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•
The Sensitive Period for Details
–
–
between 1 and 2 years
focus on small details as opposed to the larger picture:
•
•
•
between 18 months and 3 years
focus on activities done with the hands:
•
•
e.g. opening/shutting containers
e.g. placing things into and taking them out of containers
The Sensitive Period for Walking
–
–
no exact date given
focus on walking for the sheer pleasure of the act of walking:
•
•
e.g. insects
e.g. background information in pictures
The Sensitive Period for the Use of Hands
–
–
•
e.g. crying six-month-old who was concerned that an umbrella should not be left on the table ... rather it
should be put in the umbrella rack
e.g. repetition of going up and down the stairs
The Sensitive Period for Language
–
–
from birth to 2/3 years
focus on learning the meaning and grammar of one (or more) languages
•
•
•
–
–
–
language learning seems to be unconscious (therefore making it possible for young child to learn
several languages)
physical experience (as opposed to mental)
gone by age 3
learning order is not incremental ... sometimes great, sometimes plateau
3 years - change from unconscious language learning to conscious
ability to talk is secure before the start of school
Chelsea Film
• Remember the lessons we learned
regarding “sensitive periods” of brain
development – “windows of opportunity” in
the Sixty Minutes film clip we watched in
class
MARIA MONTESSORI
• SENSITIVE PERIODS
• INDEPENDENT MASTERY
• CHILD ORIENTED/CHILD DIRECTED
• GRADUAL PREPARATION . . . BY DOING
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
~ Chinese proverb
MARIA MONTESSORI
• SENSITIVE PERIODS
• INDEPENDENT MASTERY
• CHILD ORIENTED/CHILD DIRECTED
• GRADUAL PREPARATION . . . BY DOING
• TEACHER AS FACILITATOR
ONE CANNOT BE FREE
IF ONE IS NOT INDEPENDENT
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