THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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xxviii
INTRODUCTION
modifications of it which differing social conditions may render necessary.
The conditions under which Dr. Montessori started her original school in Rome do not, indeed, lack counterpart in large cities the world over. When one reads her eloquent "Inaugural Address" it is impossible not to wish that a "School within the Home" might stand as a centre of hopeful child life in the midst of every close-built city block. Better, of course, if there were no hive-like city tenements at all, and if every family could give to its own children on its own premises enough of "happy play in grassy places." Better if every mother and father were in certain ways an expert in child psychology and hygiene. But while so many unfortunate thousands still live in the hateful cliff-dwellings of our modern cities, we must wel≠come Dr. Montessori's large conception of the social func≠tion of her "Houses of Childhood" as a new gospel for the schools which serve the city poor. No matter what didactic apparatus such schools may use, they should learn of Dr. Montessori the need of longer hours, completer care of the children, closer co-operation with the home, and larger aims. In such schools, too, it is probable that the two funda≠mental features of Dr. Montessori's workóher principle of liberty and her scheme for sense trainingówill find their completest and most fruitful application.
It is just these fundamental features, however, which will be most bitterly attacked whenever the social status of the original Casa dei Bambini is forgotten. Anthro≠pometric measurements, baths, training in personal self-care, the serving of meals, gardening, and the care of animals we may hear sweepingly recommended for all schools, even for those with a three-hour session and a socially favored class of pupils; but the need for individual
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