THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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INTRODUCTION
xxvii
small groups of the older children, who can do work of this sort with ease and enjoyment, no doubt the inevitable re­straint of group teaching is a negligible factor, the fatiguing effects of which any good kindergartner can fore­stall. But for younger children a regime of complete free­dom would seem to promise better results—at least so far as work with objects is concerned. In games, on the other hand, group teaching means very little restraint and the whole process is less tiring any way. To differentiate in method between these two kinds of activity may be the best way to keep them both in an effective educational programme.
To speak of an effective educational programme leads at once, however, to an important aspect of the Montessori system, quite aside from its relation to the kindergarten, with which this Introduction must now deal. This is the social aspect, which finds its explanation in Dr. Montes-sori's own story of her first school. In any discussion of the availability of the Montessori system in English and American schools—particularly in American public schools and English "Board" schools—two general conditions under which Dr. Montessori did her early work in Rome should be borne in mind. She had her pupils almost all day long, practically controlling their lives in their waking hours; and her pupils came for the most part from fam­ilies of the laboring class. We cannot expect to achieve the results Dr. Montessori has achieved if we have our pupils under our guidance only two or three hours in the morning, nor can we expect exactly similar results from children whose heredity and experience make them at once more sensitive, more active, and less amenable to suggestion than hers. If we are to make practical application of the Montessori scheme we must not neglect to consider the
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