THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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xxiv
INTRODUCTION
On one point the Montessori system agrees with the con­servative kindergarten, but not with the liberal: it pre­pares directly for the mastery of the school arts. There can be no doubt that Dr. Montessori has devised a peculiarly successful scheme for teaching children to write, an effect­ive method for the introduction of reading, and good material for early number work. Both types of kinder­garten increase, to be sure, the child's general capacity for expression: kindergarten activity adds to his stock of ideas, awakens and guides his imagination, increases his vocab­ulary, and trains him in the effective use of it. Children in a good kindergarten hear stories and tell them, recount their own experiences, sing songs, and recite verses, all in a company of friendly but fairly critical listeners, which does even more to stimulate and guide expression than does the circle at home. But even the conservative kinder­garten does not teach children to write and to read. It does teach them a good deal about number; and it may fairly be questioned whether it does not do more funda­mental work in this field than the Montessori system itself. The Froebelian gifts offer exceptional opportunity for con­crete illustration of the conceptions of whole and part, through the creation of wholes from parts, and the break­ing up of wholes into parts. This aspect of number is at least as important as the series aspect, which children get in counting and for which the Montessori "Long Stair" provides such good material. The Froebelian material may be used very readily for counting, however, and the Montessori material gives some slight opportunity for uniting and dividing. So far as preparation for arith­metic is concerned, a combination of the two bodies of material is both feasible and desirable. The liberal kindergarten, meanwhile, abandoning the use of the
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