THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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xxxii
INTRODUCTION
prescriptions of class teaching is not one of them. Even if complete liberty of individual action were possible in schools of higher grade, it is not certain that it would be desirable: for we must learn to take up many of our pur­poses in life under social imperative. But with young children the question becomes more difficult. What work do we wish to make sure that each child does ? If our schools can keep but half a day, is there time enough for every child to cover this work without group teaching at stated times ? Is the prescription and restraint involved in such group teaching really enough to do the children any harm or to make our teaching less effective ? Can we not give up prescription altogether for parts of the work and minimise it for others ? The general question of individual liberty is thus reduced to a series of practical problems of adjustment. It is no longer a question of total liberty or no liberty at all, but a question of the prac­tical mediation of these extremes. When we consider, fur­thermore, that the teacher's skill and the attractiveness of her personality, the alluring power of the didactic appa­ratus and the ease with which it enables children to learn, to say nothing of a cheerful and pleasant room and the absence of set desks and seats, may all work together to prevent scheduled teaching in groups from becoming in the least an occasion for restraint, it is plain that in any given school there may be ample justification for abating the rigour of Dr. Montessori's principle of freedom. Every school must work out its own solution of the problem in the face of its particular conditions.
The adoption of sense-training would seem to be much less a matter for variable decision. Some children may need less than others, bat for all children between the ages of three and five the Montessori material will prove fas-
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