THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

Scientific Methods As Applied To Child Education In "the Children's Houses"

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XX
INTRODUCTION
elements of the Montessori programme with elements of the kindergarten programme, both "liberal" and "conserva­tive." In its actual procedure school work must always be thus eclectic. An all-or-nothing policy for a single system inevitably courts defeat; for the public is not interested in systems as systems, and refuses in the end to believe that any one system contains every good thing. Nor can we doubt that this attitude is essentially sound. If we con­tinue, despite the pragmatists, to believe in absolute prin­ciples, we may yet remain skeptical about the logic of their reduction to practice—at least in any fixed programme of education. We are not yet justified, at any rate, in adopt­ing one programme to the exclusion of every other simply because it is based on the most intelligible or the most inspiring philosophy. The pragmatic test must also be applied, and rigorously. We must try out several com­binations, watch and record the results, compare them, and proceed cautiously to new experiments. This procedure is desirable for every stage and grade of education, but espe­cially for the earliest stage, because there it has been least attempted and is most difficult. Certainly a system so radi­cal, so clearly defined, and so well developed as that of Dr. Montessori offers for the thoroughgoing comparative study of methods in early education new material of ex­ceptional importance. Without accepting every detail of the system, without even accepting unqualifiedly its fun­damental principles, one may welcome it, thus, as of great and immediate value. If early education is worth study­ing at all, the educator who devotes his attention to it will find it necessary to define the differences in principle be­tween the Montessori programme and other programmes, and to carry out careful tests of the results obtainable from the various systems and their feasible combinations.
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