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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Montessori Quotes

Excerpt from "Montessori from the Start" by Lillard & Jessen

"What kind of tool then can we employ for the infant as a sensorial explorer with an absorbent mind? Clearly they must be concrete materials. Young children cannot use imagination or abstract thinking to learn about the world. Because they are not yet capable of abstract thought, they must know the concrete world first and thereby develop the tools that lead to abstract thought and the furthering of their own construction. Children need, then, concrete objects whose qualities they can absorb through their senses.
Most importantly, these materials must be of the real world. Because there is so much misunderstanding about fantasy in the young child's life, we repeat: everything that adults give to the young child for sensorial exploration should represent the real world. Young children's experiences with the real world become the basis for their imagination and creative thought in the elementary school years, when they no longer possess an absorbent mind but a reasoning mind. Sensations that give no knowledge of the world to young children are useless to them. Worse, they can give false information and therefore be harmful. Young children have hurt themselves, as well as other children, by jumping from windows, hitting with objects, choking other children, and even shooting at others with guns, because in their television cartoons and videos, they had seen these actions resulting repeatedly in none of the consequences of the real world."

"There is a reason novelty occupies a baby, and all too often we ignore it and use novelty to keep babies busy so that they are not unhappy and bothering us. Babies seek novelty to learn something previously not known by them about their world; as such it is a key characteristic and has a purpose. Too often, adults are completely thoughtless in what they give to infants, as if "any old thing" would do. If we want to give our babies an optimal environment, we need to think through the purpose of all that we give them."

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