Steiner Talk Part 4.
In the process of educating the ‘whole’ person in a child, Steiner emphasised the role of imitation in the children’s learning process. Children will observe and imitate social and moral dimensions, with the adults playing as role models who present examples rather than mere formal education strategies. Montessori renamed the role of an adult-teacher as directress for this very same reason. The teacher’s role is not to only duly transfer material knowledge to the child, but to be there for the child as a mentor, an advisor, a counsellor and a guide, playing a redirectional role rather than a transferring information agent.
On par with Montessori’s approach, Steiner’s method also focuses on independence, creativity and the ‘whole’ intelligence of the child as a human with a mission on this earth. That every child is unique is an essential message that we keep drilling into the parents’ common sense.
One important lesson in the Montessori curriculum that I always never bored of revisiting is the life cycles of animals and plants (butterfly, chicken, green peas) and the natural cycle of mother nature herself (day and night, months in a year, season). Young children are fond of the similarities between the nature elements and physical nature of their own development and the natural cycles in our world. To a young child, actually seeing the metamorphosis of a butterfly makes learning more exciting than merely looking at the pictures of the living process.
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