THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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xxxviii
INTRODUCTION
Here again our theory and our practice have suffered from the headstrong advocacy of general principles. Be­cause by clumsy methods children used to be kept at the task of learning the school arts to the undoubted detriment of their minds and bodies, certain writers have advocated the total exclusion of reading and writing from the early grades. Many parents refuse to send their children to school until they are eight, preferring to let them "run wild." This attitude is well justified by school conditions in some places; but where the schools are good, it ignores not only the obvious advantages of school life quite aside from instruction in written language, but also the almost complete absence of strain afforded by modern methods. Now that the Montessori system adds a new and prom­ising method to our resources, it is the more unreasonable: for as a fact normal children are eager to read and write at six, and have plenty of use for these accom­plishments.
This does not mean, however, that reading and writing are so important for young children that they should be unduly emphasised. If we can teach them without strain, let us do so, and the more effectively the better; but let us remember, as Dr. Montessori does, that reading and writing should form but a subordinate part of the experi­ence of a child and should minister in general to his other needs. With the best of methods the value of reading and writing before six is questionable. Our conscious life is bookish enough as it is, and it would seem on general grounds a safer policy to defer written language until the age of normal interest in it, and even then not to devote to it more time than an easy and gradual mastery demands.
Of the technical advantages of tho Montessori scheme
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