Monday, February 28, 2011

The Montessori Method: Marie Montessori's Own Handbook Online

For all our new readers, I wanted to remind everyone that the classic and timeless handbook written by Maria Montessori herself, The Montessori Method, is free and online. The copyright expired, so The Celebration of Women Writers project volunteered and set it up.

Some of the prose is not as easy to go through as today's works, but it is truly brilliant. I suggest going through it quickly, skimming to find ideas that are useful, and then you will be much more patient wading through the rest of the text. The original was written in Italian a long time ago.

This is one of my favorite paragraphs as Maria Montessori comments on a teacher she is observing:

One day, the children had gathered themselves, laughing and talking, into a circle about a basin of water containing some floating toys. We had in the school a little boy barely two and a half years old. He had been left [Page 92] outside the circle, alone, and it was easy to see that he was filled with intense curiosity. I watched him from a distance with great interest; he first drew near to the other children and tried to force his way among them, but he was not strong enough to do this, and he then stood looking about him. The expression of thought on his little face was intensely interesting. I wish that I had had a camera so that I might have photographed him. His eye lighted upon a little chair, and evidently he made up his mind to place it behind the group of children and then to climb up on it. He began to move toward the chair, his face illuminated with hope, but at that moment the teacher seized him brutally (or, perhaps, she would have said, gently) in her arms, and lifting him up above the heads of the other children showed him the basin of water, saying, "Come, poor little one, you shall see too!"

Undoubtedly the child, seeing the floating toys, did not experience the joy that he was about to feel through conquering the obstacle with his own force. The sight of those objects could be of no advantage to him, while his intelligent efforts would have developed his inner powers. The teacher hindered the child, in this case, from educating himself, without giving him any compensating good in return. The little fellow had been about to feel himself a conqueror, and he found himself held within two imprisoning arms, impotent. The expression of joy, anxiety, and hope, which had interested me so much faded from his face and left on it the stupid expression of the child who knows that others will act for him.

Here is the link to The Montessori Method

Our Montessori curriculum can be found on My Montessori House

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