Montessori's Discoveries

 

Amazing Concentration

 

Montessori discovered that children had amazing concentration when she observed a four-year-old girl who was working with some graded wooden cylinder blocks. This child repeated the lesson forty four times. Montessori was amazed at the interest and concentration this child showed. To test this child’s amazing mental concentration she asked some children to sing loudly around her. This child could not be distracted. Montessori saw this behaviour again and again, leading to what she called normalization.

 

Love of Repetition

 

From observing children, Montessori found at that children repeated a lesson over and over again until they were satisfied, then they were finished. She believed that it answered children’s inner developmental needs.

 

Freedom of Choice

 

One day the teacher assistant arrived late to the school and had forgotten to lock the cupboard where the materials were stored. When she arrived the children were helping themselves to the materials and were already working. The teacher was angry and wanted to punish the children for stealing. Montessori realized that the children were showing her that they had learned about the materials and now they were ready to choose which materials they wanted to use. From then on Montessori told her assistant that the children could choose the materials they wanted to work with if they had been given a lesson on how to use them.

 

Love for Order

 

Montessori noticed the children would often follow the assistant to the cupboard when she went to put the materials away. Montessori realized the children wanted to put things away to where they belonged. They had a love for order. From then on, Montessori designed new open shelves so the children could put the materials away by themselves.

 

Preference of work over play

 

When Montessori placed some toys in the room for the children to play with, she was very surprised that they were not interested in playing with them, even after showing the children how to use them.  Montessori discovered that the children preferred working with the materials she had made, to playing with the toys.

 

Indifference to rewards and punishments

 

Montessori realized that the children became good and orderly as soon as they learned to work. She found out that no amount of punishment could set things right. The children saw work as the reward when they were able to move on to a new stage in each subject. They were unmotivated by sweets and other kinds of rewards.

 

Love of Silence

 

Montessori discovered that children enjoy the challenge of remaining silent for a period of time. A baby was brought into the classroom and she asked the children to be as quiet as the baby and the children were silent immediately.

 

Sense of Personal Dignity

 

Montessori realized that very small children have a sense of personal dignity and that adults should respect it. Adults should not scold children for blowing their nose incorrectly. They should show them how to do it correctly.

 

Precision of activities

 

Through observing and working with children, Montessori learned that children like to be shown exactly how to do things. She found out that they are quite capable of replicating what you show them.

 

Self-Discipline

 

Montessori noticed that the children began to develop spontaneous self-discipline that came from within.  The discipline would appear when the child concentrated on an object that he was interested in.

 

Writing

 

Montessori believed writing should be introduced before reading, as reading is a more complex process, as the children need to decode words. She discovered that children love to start writing at about the age of four. Reading follows some months later.

 

Help Me Do It Myself

 

Montessori found out that children love to do things themselves. The adult should give children freedom and acknowledge their independence. Children want to grow and learn.

 

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Located in Canberra, Australia.

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