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Explain how practical Life Exercises in the home and Montessori school can provide the ideal setting to complement both the psychic and social embryonic development.

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Introduction

"Most children are fulfilled and happy because they are allowed to grow in harmony with natures commands". Explain how practical Life Exercises in the home and Montessori school can provide the ideal setting to complement both the psychic and social embryonic development. Discuss this statement. Children educated through the Montessori Method are fulfilled and happy. This is because the Montessori teacher or directress understands who the child is; A Spiritual Embryo in need of reconstruction, what he needs; A prepared Environment, and the time of his needs; The Sensitive periods. "Man seems to have two embryonic periods. One is prenatal, like that of the animals; the other is postnatal and only man has this". (The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 7, Pg.55). The child during the postnatal period is referred to as a Spiritual embryo. He unlike animals is born with predetermined instincts of psychic unfolding that dictate his development. This means that from the time he is born, he seeks ways to reconstruct himself. "He is endowed with an urge or need to face the outer world and to absorb it". (The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 8, Pg. 77). He is given the possibility of becoming a unique individual in his own right but does not have the means of doing this by himself. Nature has endowed him with inborn aids which assist him during this process of reconstruction. One of such is the absorbent mind. The Absorbent Mind is an internal aid which enables the child to absorb impressions from his environment. He does this easily and naturally, without thought or choice. It is a universal characteristic of young children from birth till age six. To understand the Absorbent Mind at work one has only to notice a child at this stage unconsciously staring at a light bulb, at his mother's lips while she talks, or at a fan in motion. As he stares, he is absorbing impressions and information. ...read more.

Middle

She saw that it was the environment (including the people within it) that could greatly hinder the child in his quest to unfold his hidden potentialities and that by carefully preparing the environment to serve the needs of the child such obstacles could be avoided. She therefore paid a great deal of attention to the way in which Montessori schoolrooms were laid out. Everything was made to be as easily accessible to the children as possible. It was very much their environment rather than the teachers and she wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible within it. She knew that order was very important to the children and she therefore ensured that everything had its place and that all materials were kept as neatly as possible. She created materials that she saw the children were drawn to and she removed those items in which they showed no interest. She tried to ensure that the materials that were provided met with the dynamic emergent needs of the children. It was the children who led the development of the materials and the children who showed how the environment should be prepared. "There is only one basis for observation: the children must be free to express themselves and thus reveal those needs and attitudes which would otherwise be hidden or repressed in an environment that did not allow them to act spontaneously". (The Discovery of the Child, Chapter 3, Pg. 46). Preparing the environment is not enough.The child must be allowed freedom to choose and work with the material at his own pace without interference from the teacher. Only then will his work be termed 'constructive'. It is through this freely chosen constructive work that the child develops concentration, good work habits and personality. Montessori saw freedom as the single most important factor in allowing children to develop as spontaneous, creative individuals. By freedom, however, she did not suggest that the child should be free to do whatever he chooses, whenever he chooses. ...read more.

Conclusion

In general, practical Life Exercises help to improve the children's concentration. While the teacher does the presentation, he watches with a rapt attention every of her move, learning the steps so that he may do it himself. The concentration he develops while carrying out exercises like pouring water from a jug to another jug for example would help him in other curriculum areas. PLE also fosters independence. A child who knows how to spoon will not wait to be fed before he eats and perhaps would even be able to serve himself if permitted. A child who has mastered the act of lacing would not wait for mum or dad to tie his shoelace before he can go to play. "Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence." (Maria Montessori). He would also develop a high self esteem and be self confident. He would not in any way feel inferior. Spooning activities strengthens the pincer grip in preparation for writing. It also develops a smooth wrist movement as well. All these activities are done from left to right and top to bottom which is also a way to prepare the child for the left to right concept of writing. At home, these exercises could be applied. While the adult is working the child may be given child size equipments such as cutting boards, brooms, jugs, etc. The child must be given every opportunity to be involved in household tasks like cleaning, folding clothes, washing dishes and even laying the table for dinner. He should also be encouraged to pick out his clothes and dress himself. "A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.". (The Discovery of The Child, Chapter 5, Pg. 91). ...read more.

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