Maria Montessori’s view of the child includes the concept of a well-adjusted and complex mind capable of acquiring new knowledge. In that way, the child in my play story would be perceived as a critical learner in a sufficiently stimulating environment (Group 2, 2021). Therefore, the child acquires new knowledge independently in a “prepared environment”; unlike other theorists, Montessori emphasizes the role of their “absorbent mind”, focusing on their full potential (Group 2, 2021). The role of the child is to respond to the appropriate stimuli managed by the educator, who should encourage learning behavior but not impose any direct instructions. The educators’ positive response to the child’s achievements encouraged independent development and progress.
The role scenario reflection highlighted a child’s ability to engage in critical thinking and independent decision-making while being stimulated by positive feedback from adults. In that way, one positive aspect the theorist would note is the roles the boy and the educators played in the scenario. The boy learned to stick more sensory circles to a sticky surface through his own ability to observe and generate conclusions, while the educators allowed him to figure it out without interfering. However, although the child remained undistracted by the noises in the classroom, Maria Montessori would suggest avoiding possible distractions as limitations to the child’s abilities. Allocating different rooms for different purposes would allow optimal conditions for engaging learning.
Maria Montessori’s ideas accentuate the necessity of complete trust in allowing children to learn independently. This means ensuring that external factors such as the state of the classroom or the credibility of the educational sources used are adequately managed by the educator and do not limit the students’ capabilities. These ideas complement my own understanding of an educational environment that allows for student growth and minimal emotional interference of the educator. Montessori also suggests taking advantage of the child’s “absorbent mind”, which can be applied to my own practice (Group 2, 2021). In that way, informative in-group sessions can be introduced to reinforce the importance of children using provided tools to deepen their personal knowledge and use their abilities to share it with others.
While the mentioned ideas reflect the need for child-centered work, one challenging aspect of the educational theory concerns commitment to the independent learning program it includes. In cases of supervising young children, the educator must correctly identify ways to control the environment without giving direct instructions. I find this aspect challenging as the theorist does not specify the extent to which learning responsibilities must be balanced between the educator and the group. Therefore, prior experience of working in the educational field is necessary to manage daily programs efficiently, maintaining the child-centered focus without jeopardizing their safety or motivation to learn.
One way the theorist connects to the course lecture material is through similarities with the Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP). The practice prioritizes engaging learning and recognizing young learners’ strengths and beneficial attributes (ECED 3003, 2021). Instead of the child adapting to the environment, a culturally and developmentally appropriate environment must be provided for all individuals (ECED 3003, 2021). Hence, similarly to Montessori’s ideas, the course material on DAP emphasizes the importance of maintaining safe and stimulating factors in educational institutions to allow for proper physical and cognitive development. As a consequence, young learners are able to demonstrate their full potential and gain more knowledge independently. Both of the ideas are critical in developing an understanding of the modern kindergarten and preschool system.
Group 2. (2021). Maria Montessori. [PowerPoint slides].
ECED 3003. (2021). Questioning ‘Developmentally Appropriate Practice’. [PowerPoint slides].