Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Montessori Today" (Book Sixteen)


Montessori Today by Paula Polk Lillard is the second book about Montessori education that I have read. This is the second book by Lillard on this subject and this is about elementary education with a brief bit at the end about secondary education and beyond.

Lillard gives a brief overview on the origin and theory of Montessori education. Maria Montessori had three main theses.
"That Human development does not occur in a steady, linear ascent but in a series of formative planes."
"That the complete development of human beings is made possible by their tendencies to certain universal actions in relation to their environment."
"That this interaction with the environment is most productive in terms of the individuals development when it is self-chosen and founded upon individual interest."

Lillard then does an overview of the primary years, which are from birth to age six. For the rest of the book she focuses on the Second plane (ages six to twelve). According to Lillard there is a change in the psychology of the child during this period of time. "Children begin to move away from the security of their families" (pg 45) and start to form social groups of their own. Additionally children start to develop a moral sense.

To educate children at this age Montessori developed The Great Lessons and Key Lessons in order to spark the interest of the children in different aspects of the world and it's history. Even the environment needs to be in pristine order with specific items for the children to use in their learning.

For me, though, I enjoyed the chapter on the teacher. Lillard outlines the specifications that are needed to become an elementary Montessori teacher. With an emphasis on the teacher not molding "the students after themselves" (pg 89). The role of the teacher is to keep the children challenged (pg 92) and to help them be self directed (pg 93).
"To become a Montessori teacher requires intelligence, enthusiasm, dedication, sensitivity, and faith in the children's development" (pg 97).

All in all I think I'm really becoming a Montessori convert. I still need to read more and learn more about the while process, but I think I might be on the right track. Track for what I'm unsure of at this moment in time. This could be a great career opportunity or just something that helps me on my path of life.

As always, I appreciate your comments or book recommendations. ~Dianna

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