By: Saleem Younis Cheema (Chairman Angels School System Daska) M. A. (Education) M. A. (Pol. Sc. ) M. A. (History) D. I. A. , P. G. D. E. ,D. C. S. , D. E. L. Diploma in Montessori (American Council) Diploma in Admin. (Govt. of Pak. ) Certificate in Education,(Oxford University) Certificate in Teacher Training NPO (Govt. of Pakistan) Ex. Research Officer & Lecturer (Punjab University Lahore)
The latest and best pre-school educational system is no doubt, Montessori Sytem. This system was introduced and organized by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1906, when she observed mentally retorted children and experienced with the extensive studies of Frobel, Itard and Seguin. On the ideas of Itard and Seguin, she developed and devised didactic material, which is used in Montessori System with children in a special environment that is called prepared environment. Dr. Maria Montessori said that she didn’t know how to teach the children, they taught me how to teach them.
She did a lot of work on her system, spent all her time in teacher’s training and traveled extensively to promote her method. This is the reason that after passing so long time period Montessori system is prevailing all over the world. The primary aim of all the teaching systems is to educate the child, right from the beginning so that by the time he becomes an adult, he has the knowledge of the world around him. Knowledge brings us closer to God and distinguishes man from animals. God in fact has directed every human being to seek knowledge. This knowledge does not dawn on the child itself, it is rather imparted by the adults.
In Montessori system an adult who guide the child and directs the activities and interests of the child through didactic material is named as “directress”. A trained directress brings out the potentials of man in a child through self construction and makes the child achieve maximum standards of intellect, moral and culture. The special environment in which trained directress works with the child is prepared environment, whish is an extension of home, where the child willingly spend sometime to learn through didactic material with the help of directress. Dr. Maria Montessori also did a lot of work on child development and child psychology.
Self construction is the central point of her education philosophy. She focused on first 6 years of the child’s life. During these years of a child two creative sensibilities work in a child i. e; absorbent mind and sensitive period. With these two sensibilities the child interacts with his environment around him, takes the good or bad impressions form his surroundings and gradually develops his personality. However the development of a child’s personality is also effected by a Psychic Pattern “Spiritual Embryo”, which is laid down in a child during his Pre-natal development.
After birth during Post-natal development from 0-6 years a child gains knowledge from his environment with the help of special gifted mind i. e; Absorbent mind. The process of learning starts with taking in impressions in his subconscious mind unconsciously, without being aware of it and without being tired of it from 0-3 years, then gradually by movements and spontaneous activities he makes these impressions meaningful and in doing so he passes through unconscious absorbent mind to conscious absorbent mind (3-6 years) trading always in the paths of joy and love.
Child is a busy constructor and loves to work, so through activities and manipulation of the objects through hands in the environment he constructs his intellectual level. Another sensibility in the child is “Sensitive Periods”. Every child is attracted towards certain things in his environment with an irresistible impulse and well defined activity. These certain things in his environment are like language, culture, order, courtesy, imitations, movements etc. Different sensitive periods have different time periods.
During these sensitive periods the child gains knowledge and different functions, through concentration and repetition of activities. These sensitive periods are transitory but their impressions are everlasting, and the child works without any tiredness, he feels joy, calmness and satisfaction. Now it’s directress duty to recognize the certain sensitive periods in child’s development and to make his learning perfect. Dr. Montessori rightly says that sensitive period in the child development is a “drama of love between the child and his environment. Absorbent mind is a rich mind has a special energy called “Horme”. During the period of unconscious absorbent mind (0-3 years) this “Horme” guides the child to “build up yourself” and develops the memory of the child. He takes in the impressions from his environment which later on becomes permanent. In conscious absorbent mind (3-6 years) “Horme” pushes the child to “explore the world”. At this stage he is conscious constructor and had a determined choice and will. His hands are now instruments of his intelligence.
Another aspect of child’s development is Deviation. Every child develops from nothing to something through certain invisible forces, which Montessori called inner directives. These inner directives and two streams of energies i. e; mental and physical, guides the child to build up. But if there are some obstacles on the path of inner directives, or if both the energies are not interplaying in balance, than child is not developing normally, he is now a deviated child. Deviated child is a problem child not for himself, but also for his society.
Psychic fugues and Psychic barriers are two types of deviation. In Psychic fugues child remains in touch with reality but lose his concentration and interests towards reality. But in Psychic barriers child flees into fantasies and grows barriers between him and adults. Fugues are easier to cure than Psychic barriers, now it is the duty of directress to normalize the child gently through Purposeful and spontaneous activities. Directress should fulfill the rights of a child explained by Dr. Maria Montessori. i.
Right to be respected. ii. Right to refuse the work. iii. Right to repeat the work. iv. Right to work at his own speed and rhythm. Independent learning and spontaneous activity are key ideas of Montessori System. In Montessori system the process of child’s learning is followed by the development of six senses and language with the help of exercises of every day practical life through cultural activities. The child is directed towards activities gradually and firmly under the kind guidance of trained directress/mother/aunty.
Every activity is performed in prepared environment with real objects, which leads certain learning in child’s personality and different modes of behaviour appear while interacting with his environment. Specially prepared didactic material is used in all these activities. When every child performs activities in prepared environment or in school with real objects. He develops realistic point of view in his personality. Along with Montessori System some other pre-school systems are prevailing also like Nursery System and Kindergarten (K. G) system.
But in these system psychological and physiological needs of the child’s personality are ignored, child has no rights and no respect. So child’s personality is repressed rather than progress. [pic] So we can conclude that according to the needs of time and requirements of the child’s development Montessori system is the perfect system, in which social, moral, intellectual, psychological, physiological cultural needs, and rights of a child are preferred. Child develops realistic approaches in his personality that helps him to make his interaction with his society better and easy in coming life. Dr. Maria Montessori