Montessori children deprived of childhood?
One of the common criticisms of Montessori’s Method (taken from The Essential Montessori by Elizabeth Hainstock) is that:
The Montessori method deprives children of their childhood by introducing cognitive learning at such an early age.
Before her didactic materials, beginning from the sensorial materials, are introduced to the child, a 2-year-old child is allowed to work with the things on the Practical Life area. The hands-on activities in this preliminary area will eventually develop the child’s concentration, coordination, order and independence, which are essential skills for cognitive and social learning when the child turns 3 and beyond.
Learning is performed through ‘alive’ play and meaningful activities that are guided by their innate instinct and the will to know more about the world around them as well as to make sense of the things in the environment and community. The child learns effortlessly and at the same time is self-challenged or challenged by the people and the direct environment in the classroom.
Hence, the child will have a childhood that is memorable of the indirect lessons gained from the child’s own initiative as well as being responsive to stimulation from teacher, peers and environment.
(Photo courtesy of http://kedublock.blogspot.com)
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