Montessori: A Modern Approach
Paula Polk Lillard
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Montessori: A Modern Approach has been called the single best book for anyone -- educator, childcare professional, and especially parent -- seeking answers to the questions: What is the Montessori method? Are its revolutionary ideas about early childhood education relevant to today's world? And most important, especially for today's dual-career couples. Is a Montessori education right for my child?
Paula Polk Lillard writes both as a trained educators and as a concerned parent -- she has many years as a public school teacher, but it was her enthusiasm for the education her own child experienced in a Montessori school that led her to become a leading voice in the Montessori movement in this country.
Her book offers the clearest and most concise statement of the Montessori method of child development and education available today.
students were betraying their individuality and the development of whatever unique talents they might possess to play the “school game.” They were functioning like computers: experts at absorbing what the teacher put forth, sorting out what she wanted back, and regurgitating it in the manner in which she most liked to receive it. Americans were clearly alarmed by these phenomena. In addition, Sputnik had startled a nation accustomed to feeling smugly superior in the field of scientific
previously accepted educational and psychological theories. It is interesting that Montessori herself felt it would be through the sciences that her newly identified needs of the child would be recognized. In 1917, she wrote, It is obvious that a real experimental science, which shall guide education and deliver the child from slavery, is not yet born; when it appears, it will be to the so-called “sciences” that have sprung up in connection with the diseases of martyred childhood as chemistry to
asleep. To the extent that this is true of individual children, the teacher must call to them, wake them up, by her voice and thought.… Before she draws aside to leave the children free, she watches and directs them for some time, preparing them in a negative sense, that is to say, by eliminating their uncontrolled movements. She does this by introducing a series of preparatory exercises that help the children to concentrate on reality and control of movement. They may consist of arranging
these children, phenomena began to appear similar to those seen in the first Casa dei Bambini. First, the children’s cycle of repetition, concentration, and satisfaction would begin. It would lead to a development of inner discipline, self-assurance, and preference for purposeful activity. Montessori called this process which took place in the child “normalization.” It appeared to her, in fact, to be the normal state of the child, since it developed spontaneously when the environment offered the
therefrom [give] abundant instances of evident self-education.… The nearer the conditions to normal life that the school can be brought, the more will real problems present themselves naturally (and not artificially at the say-so of the teacher). At the same time, the practical situation which sets the problem will test the child’s proposed solution. This is life’s auto-education. Kilpatrick was particularly critical of the sensorial materials in the Montessori curriculum. “The didactic