THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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INTRODUCTION
xxxi
the rest, but literally a subordinate member, whose inter­ests must often be frankly set aside for those of an adult member or for those of the household itself. Children must come to dinner at dinner time, even if continued dig­ging in the sand would be more to their liking or better for their general development of muscle, mind, or will. It is ( possible, of course, to refine on the theory of the child's membership in the family community and of the right of elders to command, but practically it remains true that ( the common conditions of family life prohibit any such freedom as is exercised in a Montessori school. In the (_ same way a school of large enrollment that elects to cover in a given time so much work that individual initiative cannot be trusted to compass it, is forced to teach certain things at nine o'clock and others at ten, and to teach in \ groups; and the individual whose life is thus cabined and confined must get what he can. For a given school the obvious question is, Considering the work to be done in the time allowed, can we give up the safeguards of a fixed programme and group teaching ? The deeper question lies here: Is the work to be done in itself so important that it is worth while to have the children go through it under compulsion or on interest induced by the teacher ? Or to put it another way: May not the work be so much less important than the child's freedom that we had better trust to native curiosity and cleverly devised materials anyway and run the risk of his losing part of the work, or even the whole of it ?
For schools beyond the primary grade there will be no doubt as to the answer to this question. There are many ways in which school work may safely be kept from being the deadening and depressing process it so often is, but the giving up of all fixed and limited schedules and the
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