Montessori Education

Olivia's picture
Submitted by Olivia on Thu, 2006-08-24 06:46

I'll start this thread from Kelly's daughter's photo, as neither Adam nor Peter seems willing. Gentleman, feel free to have it out on this one.

I would be very interested in hearing different people's experiences of Montessori or pseudo-Montessori schools. I think we can all agree that Maria Montessori had a formidable understanding of a child's mind and educational requirements. I personally have not had a good experience within a Montessori based system, but I can see it largely depends upon the sense of life infused in the teacher/directress as to whether the quality of teaching is valuable or not. Perhaps people would care to comment...


( categories: )

Objectivist Education

Sharath's picture

Thanks for the quote Adam.

For those who are interested in the thinking behind the VanDamme school, I reccomend reading a dissertation entitled "A Philosophic Analysis of Objectivist Education" by Jamin Patrick Carson. It is available here:

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/etd/...

I wont be posting on this thread until I have completed reading all 250 pages of the thesis.

Sharath

Peikoff - definition of Education

AdamReed's picture

Education is the systematic training of the conceptual faculty of the young by means of supplying in essentials both its content and method.

Leonard Peikoff, Philosophy of Education, Audio tape - set of six, Ayn Rand Bookstore Item Number LP01D.

Objectivist definition of education

Sharath's picture

I seem to recall that Dr. Peikoff defined education, but I forget where. Does anyone recall a definition of education given by Dr. Peikoff?

Thanks,

Sharath

Yeah Adam, I could...

Olivia's picture

but that sounds all too anal for me thanks. Smiling

I'm reading everything Sharath, Peter, Carol and others are posting on the two Montessori threads active at present, and it's all very informative.

Claudia

AdamReed's picture

Claudia - if you are still interested, you can try again by going to SOLO Education - Submit Forum Topic and give your thread a more specific title, for example "Experiences with Montessori and other pre-schools." Then you could ask posters to start by specifying the context of their experience: parent, student, teacher etc. And maybe ask, that those who comment on the experience of others, specify whether they themselves are parents, pre-school teachers or what. I think that it could be an interesting thread - and as you know, all truth starts with observation and experience.

Ok

Peter Cresswell's picture

Okey dokey. Smiling

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

Fair point.

Olivia's picture

You can argue that the thread shouldn't have been set up the way it was, with perhaps two competing and conflicting aims, and there I'd agree with you. [P.C]

Peter, I regret the conflicting aims of this thread. I wanted to read posts about Montessori based schools where people had better/similar/different experiences than I did. I handled it rashly.

Hierarchy and LePort school

Peter Cresswell's picture

Good point, Sharath; one to think about.

And very interesting browsing the LePort School website -- a lot of AMI and AMS talent in one place!

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Hi Ross

Sharath's picture

It has been at the back of my mind to address a question that you asked sometime ago: are there any male Montessori teachers? There are more of them among the 6-12 age group than there are among the 0-6. It is very rare to find a male Montessori teacher teaching the 3-6 year olds.

I am male. My trainer in India was male. And the person who trained him was male. I was introduced to the Montessori Method by Ayn Rand in "The Comprachicos".

Hi Phil

Sharath's picture

Thanks for the comments.

The answer to the quiz question is: Ayn Rand. It is taken from "The Fountainhead." She is describing the education of the young Gail Wynand.

I used the quote to illustrate the manner in which one establishes hierarchy in a Montessori environment. The Montessori Method does treat subjects hierarchically, but not in the same way that the Van Damme Academy does. More later.

Peter LePort, who is on the board of the Ayn Rand Insitute also owns a chain of schools called "The Leport Schools". His schools are closer to the Montessori Method than the Van Damme School.

Sharath

> "It was a volume of

PhilipC's picture

> "It was a volume of Herbert Spencer. He went through it with a quiet agony trying to read it to the end. He read it to the end. He understood one quarter of what he had read. But this started him on process which he pursued with a systematic, fist-clenched determination. Without advice, assitance or plan, he began reading an incongrous assortment of books; he would find some passages which he could not understand in one book, and he would get another on that subject. He branched out erratically in all directions; he read volumes of specialized erudition first, and high school primers afterwards. There was no order in his reading; but there was order in what remained of it in his mind." Who wrote this? [Sharath]

It sounds like Rand in its forcefulness, eloquence, and compressed passion. Although I can't imagine what it is from. Contained in it is a lesson in how to learn, how intensely to pursue knowledge, how to take it step by step and stay with it and build knowledge from lack of knowledge, how to 'hunt for' learning and do detective work. And the last sentence is that kind of terse, essentialized, eloquent summation that it is only Rand that I know of who seems to be able to do. And the moral lesson is left there by implication. This passage -shows by example- the mental effort by which one builds a powerful intellect.

Assuming it -is- Rand, I would suspect some of this effort and struggle was autobiographical. As in, say, when she was trying to become a brilliant writer in a second language, with all the enormous effort and struggle that would have to have entailed.

Thanks for this -great- (and moving) passage! I think I may use it in motivating lackadaisical or lazy students, giving them a feel for what sustained, ongoing, dedicated effort is like.

Montessori as a career

Peter Cresswell's picture

Let me suggest to anyone wanting an excellent Montessori course suggested to them (or to support financially such an excellent course) a visit to the site of the course that Carol was suggesting, and indeed, establishing in NZ.

Anyone in New Zealand wanting to take up Montessori as a career and who is eager to train in the only course worldwide prepared and authorised by Dr Montessori herself, should leap at the chance to train with New Zealand's Maria Montessori Education Foundation.

Nowhere else in this country will even come close to what you're after. Smiling

(And what a shame you didn't open the school, Ross.)

PS: How about a link to MMEF from SOLO? Smiling

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

I bet you *can* suggest an

Ross Elliot's picture

I bet you *can* suggest an excellent course, Carol Eye

I nearly opened a school ten years ago. I read the books, did the sums, even bought the property. Who'd have thought the local council would have changed their rules about vehicle access & parking in a suburban street...?

But, I wouldn't have taught there myself. Too many other things to do.

I was going to model it on a lovely suburban pre-school I visited in Christchurch: Abberley Park, St Albans. Know it?

Hi Peter,

Sharath's picture

Thanks for that enormous vote of confidence. I will reply tomorrow.

The Van Damme Academy

Sharath's picture

And finally, we get to the Van Damme Academy. Delightful. I guess we are headed in the right direction after all.

I am glad the Van Damme Academy was brought up on this thread because I wouldn't have wanted to start the new thread with a critique of it. We'd be getting into an argument at the very outset--without establishing the requisite context. All said, I think it would be very appropriate if the new thread ended with the Van Damme Academy. It is the most promising venture in American School Education.

I have to make a declaration of sorts here: Ayn Rand introduced me to Objectivism, but I learnt about the full system from Dr. Peikoff's tapes and books. I say this only in order to point out that while the Van Damme academy states that it incorporates the best aspects of the Montessori Method it does not describe itself as an Objectivist Institution. How is that? Is it that the Van Damme academy does not want to be associated with Objectivism or is there some other reason?

Here is a quote that may clarify the issue: "Teaching is not a skill acquired through years of classes; it is not improved by the study of "psychology" or "methodology" or any of the rest of the stuff the schools of education offer. Teaching requires only the obvious: motivation, common sense, experience, a few good books or courses on technique, and, above all, a knowledge of the material being taught. Teachers must be masters of their subject; this -- not a degree in education -- is what school boards should demand as a condition of employment." The author of the above quote is Dr. Peikoff

Correct me if I am wrong, but the Van Damme academy's curriculum is based on Dr. Peikoff's work on the Randian structure of knowledge: that it is hierarchical and contextual. The Van Damme Academy doesn't call it a new method because knowledge, by its very nature, is contextual and hierarchical. One couldn't learn mathematics or science without it.

I agree with this much. Ayn Rand was the first to identify explicitly the role of hierarchy in knowledge. The Van Damme Academy is the first (or among the first) to base their entire curriculum on that explicit identification. That does not mean, however, that it is a new method.

On the other hand, the Montessori Method can be called a new method discovered by Dr. Montessori. I shall leave the substance of my views on this last point to the new thread.

I shall leave you all this as a teaser of sorts: "It was a volume of Herbert Spencer. He went through it with a quiet agony trying to read it to the end. He read it to the end. He understood one quarter of what he had read. But this started him on process which he pursued with a systematic, fist-clenched determination. Without advice, assitance or plan, he began reading an incongrous assortment of books; he would find some passages which he could not understand in one book, and he would get another on that subject. He branched out erratically in all directions; he read volumes of specialized erudition first, and high school primers afterwards. There was no order in his reading; but there was order in what remained of it in his mind."

Who wrote this? Dr. Montessori would approve...

Adam

Peter Cresswell's picture

Adam,

It's clear enough that I neither like nor respect you. However, I've done nothing to "squelch" anything here other than your own ridiculously emotive and unjustified smears and distortions of Dr Montessori, and of what can be found in genuine Montessori schools. If you don't like that, then I'm afraid that's tough. You deserved it.

But if you're saying that I shouldn't have done any of that on this thread, then perhaps you can tell me what Claudia's words mean at the top of this page: "I'll start this thread from Kelly's daughter's photo, as neither Adam nor Peter seems willing. Gentleman, feel free to have it out on this one."

You can argue that the thread shouldn't have been set up the way it was, with perhaps two competing and conflicting aims, and there I'd agree with you. Other than that, I suggest you just stop whining -- and perhaps reflect on your own conduct here.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Peter the Troll

AdamReed's picture

Peter - you ask, "Adam, have you ever before been called a troll?"

Not that I recall, but there is always room for projection. Get a mirror, Peter. You have made repeated, and fortunately futile, efforts to squelch discussion among parents with real experience bringing up real children - a category to which you rather obviously don't belong - by means of infantile name-calling, a behavior whose conterproductive consequences you have never had occasion to teach to (or learn from) a real toddler. That behavior, in adults - a category to which you obviously belong chronologically, if not developmentally - is an instance of trolling. Real grown-ups use concepts for identification, not invective. Go learn.

Van Damme Academy

Peter Cresswell's picture

You may find the speech online (in three parts) at the Van Damme Academy Announcements Page. While there, Adam, do yourself a favour and browse the impressive credentials of the Van Damme Academy staff roster.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Link to speech?

AdamReed's picture

Peter - you write, "you can hear the article as a speech at the Van Damme Acadmey site, linked here from my blog post briefly summarising the points."

I tried, but could not find the speech. Could you post a direct link, or a URL?

Troll

Peter Cresswell's picture

Adam, have you ever before been called a troll?

If not, then allow me to bestow upon you right now that heartily-deserved accolade.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Peter

AdamReed's picture

Peter,

Earlier, you endorsed Sharath's statement that "Quite simply, there isn't and cannot be an alternative that is better than the Montessori Method."

You now praise Lisa Van Damme and her Academy, whose web site mentions "incorporating the best aspects of Montessori education into VanDamme Academy's curriculum."

How would you relate those two statements? Maybe Sharath could also comment?

Sharath - a suggestion

Peter Cresswell's picture

Hi Sharath,

I understand and agree completely. And I have what I think is, um, an even more exciting proposal for which I've started a thread over here.

I do hope it meets with your approval. Smiling

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Lisa Van Damme

Peter Cresswell's picture

Frightening though it is, I agree with Phil. On both Lisa Van Damme's superb article, and on the quality of 'The Objective Standard' he is one-hundred percent right.

The article is only available to subscribers (which a generous blog reader donated to me), but you can hear the article as a speech at the Van Damme Acadmey site, linked here from my blog post briefly summarising the points.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

> Even if the child is

PhilipC's picture

> Even if the child is unusually intelligent, one cannot skip Fundamental Development. As Dr. Montessori said: "children want to grow, not to know". She meant that children are not consciously attempting to prepare for future academic endeavors, but are attempting to achieve present developmental conquests. They are prepared for the future indirectly--by meeting present developmental conquests. You child may well be the next John Galt, but at this age, he still has to acquire the coordination to tie his shoes and to learn that 1+1=2.

Sharath, to put this another way and in Objectivist terms, children need to learn in a -hierarchical sequence-. Probably the best single article I've read on education and one of the best by an Objectivist in many years explains this concept and applies it extensively to all kinds of subjects is this *superb article*:

"The Hierarchy of Knowledge: The Most Neglected Issue in Education" by Lisa VanDamme, (who has her own school in Southern California) in The Objective Standard VI, no. 1 (which is so far a valuable publication with a number of good articles).

Objectivists and Montessorians

Sharath's picture

Hi Peter,

To my knowledge Berliner is a Ph.D. in Education. He is not, however, a Montessori Diploma holder. Long-time Objectivist Walter Huebscher is the only Montessorian I know of. Also, Edwin Locke's wife ran a school in Maryland. I don't think she runs it any longer. All this just to clarify...

I just read the guidelines for posting in preparation for my reply to your post. This particular thread is too concrete in its emphasis on the experience of individual Objectivists with the Montessori Method and schools. I'd prefer to keep our discussion on a more abstract level.

Besides, most threads have a way of becoming mired in polemics. Your post requires that we keep the focus where it belongs: on the very serious problem of integrating two remarkably similar movements and systems of thought. We have the added problem of dealing with the great deal of misinformation out there.

Also, the Objectivist world is at present fighting a great battle against those who are attempting to deconstruct Rand. I don't want this discussion to be used as a lever to bring in the swirling controversies in yet another variant. (I wont mention how, but I know it can be used to distract from your purpose.)

So here is my request to you: transfer or copy the substance of your post to a new thread. I understand we are Linz's guests, but we could request that as an article of good faith, those who post to the thread "keep to the topic and get your facts straight". I suspect, though I am not certain, that starting a new thread confers upon you some "proxy" ownership rights to that thread. If it does, we will be able to determine the focus of the thread by referring to its intended purpose.

As for the politeness issue:

While Aristotle was a gentle giant whose life was dedicated to understanding, the two great Aristotelians of the 20th Century were chain smoking women with raging tempers! Their tempers don't tell as much about their basic premises as it does about the savagery of the Century.

It is a professional requisite that I smile when I walk into my class every morning! Can't do it if I don't pick and choose my battles...and my battles are much easier to fight because of the combination of Ayn Rand and Montessori.

Thanks,

Sharath

Sharath

Peter Cresswell's picture

Hi Sharath,

As you're no doubt aware, the number of people who value both Ayn Rand and Dr Montessori is startlingly few considering how much they share intellectually -- as I think we just found out here again at SOLO.

As you said before, these are the two geniuses of Aristotelian thought of the twentieth-century; given that fact it seems surprising how little contact there is between their respective adherents, and how little understanding there is of Dr Montessori's achievements from followers of Ayn Rand.

I wonder if you have any thoughts on that?

And more specifically, given that Michael Berliner is also both a Montessorian and Objectivist, one of the fortunate few like yourself and Carol, I wonder if you have any comment on the eleven points on which he says Ayn Rand can help advance rational education (linked here), particularly point 6 on what he says Objectivism can bring to the Montessori movement (on which I quote him both in this recent article and again here below):

6. Ayn Rand's philosophic system can provide a theoretical foundation for the most promising educational method now available: the Montessori method. Despite the success of Montessori schools, there is amazingly little understanding of the reasons for that success. As a consequence, the method is either dismissed as nothing more than a series of clever techniques for teaching specific skills, or attempts are made to ground the method in Maria Montessori's personal philosophy, a mixture of Catholicism and Indian mysticism.
At present, the supporters of the Montessori method are unable to defend it against either the educational establishment or compromisers from within Montessori ranks. Teachers and parents need to understand the real philosophic meaning of the Montessori method. Ayn Rand's philosophy makes that understanding possible.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Adam

Peter Cresswell's picture

Adam, your post smells of evasion, but I strongly suspect Sharah is too polite to point that out.

I'm not.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Well said.

Peter Cresswell's picture

Well said, Sharath. Crystal clear and tightly-focussed. Smiling

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Sharath

AdamReed's picture

Sharath - your post is very long, and touches on more points than can be reasonably discussed in the time that I devote to SOLO in a week, much less one evening. Since I cannot comment on even a fifth of the points you raise, I decided to address your postings only if they are focused enough to respond to in one or two paragraphs. Since this is not possible with what you just posted today, I'll mostly refrain.

Your claim that Piaget "borrowed heavily from Dr. Montessori without attribution" would seem particularly difficult to ground. Do you think that the members of the Swiss Montessori Association didn't bother to read Piaget's work before they elected him their President?

As for your claims that "there (1)isn't and (2)cannot be an alternative that is better than the Montessori Method," the first may well be true, but to show that it is true would require a review of the evidence. The second - made as you have made it, without regard for context - smells of intrinsicism and faith.

Fundamental Development

Sharath's picture

Hi Adam,

Peter is right about computers in the Montessori Primary Classroom.

At the outset, let me state that Dr. Montessori was pro-technology. She waxes eloquent about steamships, skyscrapers, cities (Manhattan), and generally about manmade environments. She was an active advocate of human beings creating a "supranature" (her term for the manmade).

Were she alive today, I am sure she would be fascinated by computers--both the hardware and software components. One cannot say if she would have included computers as part of the curriculum without raising her from the grave, but I am inclined to think that she will agree with the present day Montessorians.

I see a difference in methodology behind what is included in the Montessori Primary environment and what you seem to be advocating: "Piagetian measurement of the individual child's capacity".

The difference is this: The purpose of the Primary Montessori Program is to aid and assist in the child's FUNDAMENTAL DEVELOPMENT. Providing for a child's mental stimulation is not. There are four areas in the Montessori curriculum:

The Exercises of Practical Life
Sensorial Activities
Language
Arithmetic

Broadly speaking these four areas are either to help the child become independent in looking after himself in his environment, or to help the child grow in "consciousness" as he acquires the two fundamental skills of conceptual growth: language and arithmetic. Computers may be included in the classroom if it meets either of these two standards. Does it help the child grow in independence or does it help the child grow in consciousness--in a fundamental manner?

Playing chess is out of the curriculum even though it could arguably be said to teach the child epistemology...

You allude to "Piagetian measurement of the individual child's development". Dr. Montessori's theories of development were extant when Piaget embarked on his studies in infant and child psychology. He "borrowed" heavily from Dr. Montessori without attribution. Yet, in the end, he was never able to create a system of thought or a system of pedagogy--he can thank his Kantianism for it. He took something that was clear, simply and straightforward and created a convoluted, extremely dense, and freqeuently contradictiory mesh of theories. I wonder how his "schemes" could be used in any meaningful way to measure a child's development.

And even if it could: of what practical benefit is it to a Montessori teacher or parent? What could I do, if someone came to me and said that his child scored such and such on Piaget's scale? I cannot skip fundamentals. The child's growth during the first six years is dictated by the incomplete development of his nervous, skeletal, muscular systems... I'd still have to continue with the Montessori system regardless of where the child placed in an I.Q. test. And could a parent remove her unusually bright child and put him in a Piagetian school? No such thing exists. So what exactly does you advice amount to?

I understand that you are arguing against certain aspects of the Montessori method--though it is unclear what they are. What are you arguing for? Is there a comprehensive system behind it? After measuring a child's intelligence, could one, in Piaget's scheme, skip the fundamentals of arithmetic and language? If not, is there really a better way to teach these subjects than what you find in the Montessori method?

Even if the child is unusually intelligent, one cannot skip Fundamental Development. As Dr. Montessori said: "children want to grow, not to know". She meant that children are not consciously attempting to prepare for future academic endeavors, but are attempting to achieve present developmental conquests. They are prepared for the future indirectly--by meeting present developmental conquests. You child may well be the next John Galt, but at this age, he still has to acquire the coordination to tie his shoes and to learn that 1+1=2.

It is only after building up a comprehensive system of thought that we can distinguish between the essential and the non-essential, the important and the unimportant, the fundamental and the optional. Dr. Montessori was able to achieve that; Piaget was not.

Quite simply, there isn't and cannot be an alternative that is better than the Montessori Method.

Peter

AdamReed's picture

Peter,

Please forgive my curiosity, but your postings on education sometimes seem a bit on the intrinsicist side, as though you have read and thought about education in the abstract, but never actually raised a child. Have you raised a child, or are you raising one (or more) now? If so, could you try to ground more of your postings in actual parental experience?

Computers

Peter Cresswell's picture

"...There is some religious traditionalism in a lot of opposition to LOGO and Papert..."

And there is also some valid and well-reasoned opposition to the use of computers in pre-primary classrooms, which is what I think we're discussing here. As Jane Healy and many Montessorians argue, persuasively in my view, pre-primary classrooms that contain computers for children's use should be shunned. For reasons I only touched on below, this is not the way children should be learning at this age.

As for your 'advice' further below, Adam, the use of chronological age to measure a child against is, as I would have thought an 'expert' such as yourself would be aware, simply a generalisation useful to be clear about the general age-group about which we're talking.

Be assured that all Montessori Directresses measure precisely the developmental stage of their children -- this skill of observation is one in which they are highly trained, and the Montessori materials themselves provide a measure that is designed to assist them.

Dr Montessori's really is a complete system of education.

So as regards your 'advice,' Adam, I'd simply suggest parents be very cautious about listening to someone who lets his six-year-old choose her own school.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Sharath

Peter Cresswell's picture

Thank you Sharath. You're not such an inarticulate defender yourself. Smiling

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

wngreen

AdamReed's picture

Yes it depends on the child - it sounds like you were up to abstract operations by age 4, which is unusual but not unheard of.

The goal of LOGO is for the child to begin learning epistemology (Piaget's, much more limited than Rand's, but largely compatible with Objectivist Epistemology) when ready, so that the child can use good epistemology from then on. There is some religious traditionalism in a lot of opposition to LOGO and Papert - there are (this is just personal observation, no real numbers at this time) fewer Christians/Moslems among adults who are early LOGO graduates.

It might be interesting to write and validate a test of adult epistemology, and then use it to measure the influence on adult epistemology of different systems of early and elementary education (Lukasiewicz, Makarenko, Montessori, Papert.) I do not have the contacts for fieldwork, but I'd volunteer to help a researcher who did with research methods and data crunching.

Adam, I learned to type on a

Adam,

I learned to type on a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRS-80_Color_Computer">16 Kb TRS-80 color computer</a> before I even knew my ABCs. I used LOGO and and could load programs (not that easy back then) when I was 4. My sister on the other hand never learned how to type well and was never interested in the computer. It depends on the child I guess.

Wm

Hello again

Sharath's picture

Hi Peter, Lance, Carol, Joe et al.

Thanks for the compliments on my posts. And Peter, thanks especially for bringing up the issue of Dr. Montessori's past in a separate post. It is heartening to know that she has articulate defenders on the web!

I suggest to all those who want to know about the Montessori Method that they go to the source. Read Dr. Montessori's books, go to the parent education sessions if your child's Montessori school offers them, and observe in your child's class.

Dr. Montessori was one of two great Aristotelians spanning the 19th and 20th Centuries, Ayn Rand being the other. They were both among the greatest system builders of the 20th Century. We live in their legacy, and we owe them our deep gratitude for creating that which is good and great.

We need to defend them both.

Thanks,

Sharath

Peter - Healy, age

AdamReed's picture

Peter,

I'll try to get Healy's book and read it, time permitting. In the meantime, though, I would advise all parents to be very cautious about any recommendation that is based on the child's chronological age, rather then on Piagetian measurement of the individual child's current developmental stage.

Papert & Resnick

Peter Cresswell's picture

I should point out that Jane Healy deals with the work of Seymour Papert and also his 'heir-apparent,' Mitchell Resnick -- indeed it was Papert's work that first interested her in the field, and provided her first concerns at the use of such work for 0-6 year-old children.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

"Of course..."?

Peter Cresswell's picture

"Of course..."? Why "of course"? You seem to be ignoring the context of this age group somewhat, Adam, and the hierarchy of knowledge altogether. If I may 'guess' what Carol might say on this...

Children at this age (0-6) are in the process of 'setting up their file folders' for life; they do that by exploring their relationship with the world, and by beginning to fill those files with data from their interaction with the world.

The primary means of learning at this age begins with touch, and thence through all the senses, linking touch, smell, sight, sound, motor skills and the kinaesthetic sense, integrating the data provided by all these senses.

Think for example about the difference between seeing a flying thing on a computer screen and the same object in real life flying through the air -- something you can watch moving and chase and hold in your hand and weigh afterwards. Speed relative to the observer, a sense of gravity, momentum, inertia, a feeling for aerodynamics -- all of these are new data for a child that can be integrated through observation and experimentation with such an object.

That is not what can be learned by sitting passively in front of a computer screen. Time in front of a computer screen can come later or at home, but not in a 0-6 classroom.

Time spent there is time not spent elsewhere in more important discovery. At this age, of course, the time spent elsewhere is much more important.

After six, computers can become important, but not before.

I expect at this stage that Carol would recommend a book by Jane Healy, 'Failure to Connect,' subtitle: 'How Computers Affect Our Children's Minds -- and What We Can Do About It.' I commend it to your attention.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Carol - computers, Papert, Logo

AdamReed's picture

Carol - you wrote, "Under age 6 I don't believe computers are necessary as children in this age group are learning via their senses so active exploration is the most beneficial rather than passive learning in front of a screen."

Of course this only applies if computers are used for passive learning. Seymour Papert's LOGO environment is an application of Montessori's principle of active exploration to computer learning. Are you familiar with "Mindstorms?" Have you observed children's interactions with it? And, if you have, what do you think of it?

Carol answers questions

Carol Potts's picture

Adam

Thank you for your welcome. Now as I've just caught up with several of yours and others questions I'll answer all in one post if I may? I hope this meets with SOLO protocol?

"But what of the child who had already learned active comparison at home, and tried to see what would happen if she stacked the cubes in reverse order, "upside down?" Whether a teacher would encourage or discourage the child in this context could be quite important, don't you think?"

What is important here Adam is the adult's understanding of what is happening in such a situation. I would neither encourage or discourage, I would leave the child to explore and continue as long as the material was being handled with care.

I saw just the example you described recently, I was able to observe and very soon the child realised that the reverse stacking was not resulting in an elevated tower and very quickly put the material away. I agree (and really enjoyed!!)Sharath's post. Whilst I may do nothing in terms of intervention on one child's 'exploration' I may nip another's in the bud soon after starting. It depends on the child and their motivation.

"...have you seen Montessori schools work well when they are integrated within another school, in order to have access to its facilities? Can they keep their integrity to their special character?"

Claudia - I have seen Montessori Primary classes functioning well as part of an intergrated system and maintaining their uniqueness though I believe this depends hugely on the relationship between the Montessori Trust and the Board of Trustees. I'm sure the ultimate would be a stand alone Montessori school with infant community (18 months - 3yrs) pre-primary classes (3-6 yrs) and primary (6-12 years). Each age environment acting as a foundation for the next.

"1. How do most children do when they enter Grade 1 in a regular school i.e. government run primary school, after 3 years of Montesori pre-school? Are they bored? Do the other students eventually catch up to them?"

In my experience children are wonderful at adapting - much more so than adults - though the older the better. At 6 the ideal would be to transfer to a Montessori primary ('elementary' to North Americans)class though if going onto a state it would be important for the teacher to know where the child has come from and what their strengths are. Montessori children at 6 are generally self-motivated, self-disciplined and have developed a healthy work ethic. As long as this is recognised and the child's love of learning is cultivated boredom should not set in.

"2. Have the Montessori methods changed over the years?"

The principles of the philosophy haven't changed neither do they need to. The human tendencies that Dr. Montessori observed in children 100 years ago - those of gregariouness, order, exactness, perfection, exploration, curiosity - are still present today.

"Do they use computers?"

It depends on the age group. Under age 6 I don't believe computers are necessary as children in this age group are learning via their senses so active exploration is the most beneficial rather than passive learning in front of a screen.

"Should I be concerned that some of the methods are out dated?

See my earlier point -- though do the reading, ask the questions and do go and observe.

"3. What Montessori qualifications should I be looking for? Are there any to avoid? Do you agree with Peter's suggestions in the other thread? other thread"?

Qualifications to look out for - well I am unresoundingly, unashamedly and passionately pro Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) training. AMI is the recognised international authority on Montessori education and directs studies in affiliated teacher-training institutions around the world.

Why thank you for your kind

Carol Potts's picture

Why thank you for your kind words.

Yes there are many male Montessori Directors though sadly very few in pre-primary environments i.e. with children of 3-6 years of age. Are you thinking of changing career Ross? I can recommend an excellent AMI 3-6 course that starts next October:)

Peter

AdamReed's picture

Peter - I mean it. My remarks were ill-considered because in context, nearly every intellectual (with the obvious exceptions) who was active in the 1920s and 1930s had associated in one way or another with one or more of the reprehensible public ideologies of the Age of Dictators. Maria Montessori, when she broke with the Fascists in 1934, was ahead of the curve.

In any case, a discussion of the context without the invective would have been more productive. It ought to be a lesson for both of us.

Dismay?

Peter Cresswell's picture

"There is a whole thread, and a dozen long and getting longer postings from you and Peter ... in response to my two sentences in yet another thread... I am greatly dismayed by this."

As was I at the need for them.

I am happy you have now retracted your ill-considered statements.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Sharath

AdamReed's picture

Sharath,

Thank you. I understand that you are new here, and I am very happy to have a person with your experience join our discussion. Please consider me a friend too.

Parent or Expert?

Sharath's picture

Adam,

My apologies to you if I broke protocol. I must admit that I did not read the rules before posting. I also apologize if any of my comments seemed gratuitously offensive. My intention was to protect Dr. Montessori's name.

Your retraction will do for me. We can now move on to the more technical matters of choosing a school, evaluating a teacher, identifying what is permissible activity in a Montessori environment and what is not, etc.

I am no longer going to take you as an expert on the Montessori Method but as a well-meaning past parent, who is advising ones who would like to consider Montessori schools.

While still disagreeing with you that anything that Dr. Montessori wrote or said could be seen as condoning authoritarianism of any sort, I agree wholeheartedly that schools and teachers (including AMI ones) can be authoritarian.

Your advice that nothing replaces individual, rational judgment is well taken.

Consider me a friend.

Sharath

John

AdamReed's picture

John - re protocol. Point taken. I personally find the pursuit of controversies across threads counterproductive to the reason why there are discussion threads, but this is my personal opinion. I do not speak for the owner or owners of this site.

I rather appreciated your

JoeM's picture

I rather appreciated your post, Sharath. Thank you.

Adam

jtgagnon's picture

You wrote: "You broke protocol by posting here an unreasonably long comment that properly belongs in the 'Dr. Montessori's "old age"' thread."

Frankly, you do not determine what SOLO protocol is in any way, shape, or form. That is up to Linz, and him alone. Sharath made a post in good faith - it is not your place to proclaim it to be good or bad protocol.

Sharath

AdamReed's picture

Sharath,

As you know, this website uses threads to let readers select what they will spend time on. This thread is about Montessori Education. You broke protocol by posting here an unreasonably long comment that properly belongs in the 'Dr. Montessori's "old age"' thread. There is a whole thread, and a dozen long and getting longer postings from you and Peter (at least you don't imitate Peter's more infantile name-calling episodes) in response to my two sentences in yet another thread, in a short post that was welcomed by Kelly Elmore, the originator of the original thread. I am greatly dismayed by this.

If this is what it takes to remove your excuse for disruptive behavior, so be it. I hereby retract my ill-considered statements about Dr. Montessori.

The only thing I don't retract is my advice to parents selecting a pre-school for their child. Whatever the nominal orientation of the school, Montessori or not, there is no substitute for observing it yourself and asking questions about its appropriateness for your individual child. Do not take the risk of putting your child into an authoritarian environment.

I hope that you will now allow this thread to return to a substantive discussion of Montessori Education.

Bravo!

Peter Cresswell's picture

Bravo, Sharath!

Precisely what I've been trying to say, and so much more effectively than I've been saying it.

Bravo.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Sharath

Lanza Morio's picture

Sharath:

Bravo!

Dr. Montessori as Fascist

Sharath's picture

Adam,

I'd love to be charitable about your comments about Dr. Montessori, Montessori Schools, and Montessori teachers (I am one of them), but you are more than a mere parent. You allude to your background in cognitive psychology, your study of Piaget, and presumably your close acquaintance with the Montessori Method itself...

Yet, when I read your posts it is full of half-truths, non-sequitors, and plain falsehoods. Rather than rely on vigorous reasoning from sound facts, you are using the voice of your authority as academic expert to besmirch the reputation of Dr. Montessori.

I am afraid any well meaning parent who justifiably fears an association of the Montessori Method with Fascism may well opt out of sending her child to a Montessori school. All new parents are extremely anxious, and not all of them have a background in psychology and philosophy. It is the obligation of those who know better to give them the considered truth on the matter. You fail to do so.

Already, Google has picked up this thread--which means that well-meaning individuals may start to spread the canard that you are helping propagate--because of your standing in Academia which you take particular interest in pointing out to us.

Your claim to expert knowledge in the field puts your reputation at risk. Please prove your point conclusively--that there are fascist teachers and fascist schools operating in the United States that owe their teacher training to "manuals that Dr. Montessori wrote for Fascist schools".

Here are the facts:

All Montessori courses delivered by Dr. Montessori were international in their character--even the ones that were given under the aegis of the Italian Government--Fascist or otherwise. Those who attended the courses were students from all continents of the world. The students tended to be--and still do--from all parts of the political spectrum, and from all religions as well.

The Montessori tradition is an "oral" tradition. It is passed on from trainers to trainees. While the psychology and the philosophy of the method are contained in her books, the bulk of the material is handed down from teacher to student. There was no insidious, conspiratorial, "manual" for Fascists. The content of the training courses have been added on to, but there has been no significant change in the philosophy or psychology implicit in her method. Specifically, there was no change post early 30's.

There was and is no reason for anyone to learn Italian to take the Montessori Course. Neither now nor originally. When Dr. Montessori spoke (in Italian) she had translaters with her who would translate as she spoke--usually into English, but to other languages as well.

Dr. Montessori did not go through a spiritual conversion from a thinker in the Aristotelian tradition into an advocate of Totalitarian government. There is no evidence that such an event ever took place.

None of her schools, now or then are based on an explicit authoritarian philosophy handed down by Dr. Montessori.

Her writings--right down to the day she died--indicate clearly that she regarded obedience to be a vice if it was not mediated by reason. She regarded the "control of obedience" to be a greater virtue--by which she meant willful disobedience to wrongful authority. Her method is individualistic, and she places the individual above the group.

Dr. Montessori is an advocate of reason. She believed that all of the child's initial preparation up to the age of 6 was for the birth of this faculty and was governed by it. Please read what she wrote, instead of blindly ascribing to her fascistic tendencies...

Mussolini needed Montessori. Dr. Montessori did not need Mussolini. He wanted her name. She did not need his. She was heralded as a heroine and a celebrity by Kings, Queens and Presidents long before Mussolini. Her position in Fascist Italy was exact in nature to that of Dagny Taggart before she went on strike--which is exactly what Dr. Montessori did once she found she could not carry the looters with her. Her mistake, as was Dagny's, was one of over-confidence. She though she could change Italy. She was wrong.

Ayn Rand described the Montessori Method as conceptual. It is. It is based on principles. Not rules blindly to be followed. And there is no course ever delivered by Dr. Montessori that said anything otherwise.

It is true that Dr. Montessori talked about the development of "character". But here especially you see the Aristotelian influence. To her character was developed through the interaction of reason, volition, and the sensory-motor arc. She did not say that character can or should be developed through depriving the child of the use of any of these faculties in any manner whatsoever.

If one attaches specific meaning to the words one uses, there is nothing in your (Adam's) daughter's experience that suggests that either the school or her teacher was fascist or had fascistic tendencies. You tells us that the teacher was uncomfortable with her "explorations" after telling us that you needed to be extremely vigilant with her yourself. Whoever knows something about pre-schools knows this much: if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. If the teacher let a bunch of children start to explore the environment without any concern as to how she might manage 20 such exploratory activities going on at the same time the result would be--chaos. The teacher has to manage her "crow" and her stress level...

Here is what I would suggest to you Adam. Try being a pre-school teacher for a day! I'd hazard a guess if you do try: it will necessitate more than one visit to the emergency room.

An advocate of reason, volition, and individualism does not a good Fascist make. Dr. Montessori was an explicit advocate of freedom and spontaneous activity in children. She makes the point ad nauseum in her books. How can one fail to notice?

Your assertions about Dr. Montessori are unfounded, your advice on Montessori schools isn't a guide to any parent's actions, and you've raised the ire of this particular Montessori teacher.

Please do some research on the matter and after you've gotten your facts right, retract your statements about Dr. Montessori.

Carol will respond this evening

Peter Cresswell's picture

I can tell you that Carol has read your questions and points, and she plans to respond this evening (NZ time). For those of you not fortunate enough to be on NZ time, that would be about eight to ten hours from now.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

context indeed

User hidden's picture

Adam, I'd say that context matters a great deal. I would imagine a school like that is significantly less dangerous than the ones I went to or the ones most children go to now.

And I do agree that there is a risk in not letting a child follow his own judgment. I really do try to stick to the rule that if it doesn't risk something irretrievable (or nearly so), I let a child make the decision. The trick is to figure out what damage is irrepairable. It's harder to figure out spiritual risks, and I can see that the kind of school your child attended might not have been the kind of risk almost all public schools are.

Kelly

Kelly

AdamReed's picture

What about the spiritual danger in depriving the child of the consequences of following her own judgement? The biological function of the mind is to guide action. Cutting the link would have been, I think, the greater danger.

Of course, the kind of district it was (the highest proportion of scientists among parents in North America; only one Christian in nine members of the Board) and the fact that I had the right personality to get elected, and could afford to hire a private teacher when needed, did mitigate the risks on the other side.

Full context and all that.

I agree a little, Adam.

User hidden's picture

It does of course depend on the child. I'm sure there are small children who are ready to make certain decisions that others are not. I don't think that kind of decision making is based on IQ though, at least not primarily. I think it is experience and good judgment and maturity that matter most. Some children may have this at 6, but I kind of doubt it. As for the tutor, you know my opinions on education well enough to know that I wasn't talking about the dangers of missing some important information. I was talking about spiritual danger, what it does to a child to be bored, directed, manipulated, and lied to about nearly everything. I don't know what your school district was like, though; it was long ago, so it was probably better than I can imagine.

Kelly

Kelly

AdamReed's picture

Kelly - of course it depends on the child. Mine came with an IQ too high to measure (an IQ test she took at 8 was off-scale if scored the usual way - an adult who gave the same answers as she did at 8 would have an IQ between 120 and 136) and independence to match.

I did run for, and won, a seat on the school board to keep the worst aspects of public schooling under control. (We lived near Bell Labs Holmdel, so the school district was already better then most.) In those areas where the corrective action was not enough I hired a private teacher (a near-Objectivist libertarian who was home-schooling her own kids) to teach my daughter what the school didn't.

Neither my daughter nor I have any regrets.

I wouldn't let my 6 year old

User hidden's picture

I wouldn't let my 6 year old choose to walk out into traffic, and I consider public schools that dangerous. My rule is this: if the damage is dire enough and difficult enough to reverse, I make the decision. Want to dye your hair blue, pierce your nose, and read Sylvia Plath? Well, ok, I'll tell her she looks ridiculous and likes trash fiction. But want to jump off a bridge or go to an indoctrination camp? No, you may not.

Of course, there would be an age when I would let Livy choose to go to public school or church or join a religious cult. But it wouldn't be as a small child.

Kelly

Listen to the child

AdamReed's picture

I would have preferred to home school, but mine insisted on taking the bus to the public kindergarten with her friends. You can, and should, suggest what you think is best, but the kid - if she is intelligent and informed - has the final say about her own life.

My understanding is ...

Gerald's picture

Hi Kelly,

My understanding is that most of the Montessori schools, in my area, end at 6 years of age. Again, I haven't made any calls yet, so I could be wrong but that is my understanding. The other factor is cost. Government schools are free and I don't know if we could afford to send Maxwell to private school for his entire grade school and high school education.

Gerald

entering government schools . . .

User hidden's picture

Almost all children here who go to Montessori then go on to govenment schools. I can imagine that they are bored at first, but they do integrate eventually. This is not a good thing!!! I'm glad they at least get a reality focused, independence building experience for a few years, and I imagine that the students are better able to cope with the indoctrination and abuse of their minds and bodies. But, why would you think about sending your children to a government school?! Please consider not doing that at all costs!

Kelly

Questions

Gerald's picture

Thanks for the advice Carol. I'll follow up with the Montessori schools in my area (Mississauga, Canada) and look for the things you've mentioned. I also plan to read some books. In the interim, I have just a couple of questions/concerns if you or anyone else has time to answer them.

1. How do most children do when they enter Grade 1 in a regular school i.e. government run primary school, after 3 years of Montesori pre-school? Are they bored? Do the other students eventually catch up to them?

2. Have the Montessori methods changed over the years? Do they use computers? Should I be concerned that some of the methods are out dated?

3. What Montessori qualifications should I be looking for? Are there any to avoid? Do you agree with Peter's suggestions in the other thread? http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Many thanks in advance.

Gerald

Clear

Olivia's picture

As to the second, and as I've said countless times already, you should not ascribe the problems you see at Monte-something schools to a problem with the Montessori Method, or with genuine Montessori schools. P.C.

On this, I very much take your point Peter.

Carol may I ask you...

Olivia's picture

have you seen Montessori schools work well when they are integrated within another school, in order to have access to its facilities? Can they keep their integrity to their special character?

Smears

Peter Cresswell's picture

"He said Maria Montessori became a fascist with a membership card. He said some schools use Montessori methods in a fascist way - and both Kelly and I agreed with him. Carol also confirmed that she has observed schools misinterpreting those methods, resulting in not much benefit to the children or families."

I address the first smear in the post just up at my SOLO blog.

As to the second, and as I've said countless times already, you should not ascribe the problems you see at Monte-something schools to a problem with the Montessori Method, or with genuine Montessori schools.

It's like saying that "we all agree that Objectivism has 'hazards' because we heard all about them from her former associate."

To call the Method fascist or to say you have seen some schools that are Montessori schools in name only (without even a trained Montessori directress!) and who operate it in "a fascist way" is not an accurate use of language, or an accurate characterisation of the Montessori Method - and it's grossly unfair to those schools who are genuine.

You might even call it a smear.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

New post for your attention

Peter Cresswell's picture

Readers of this thread may be interested in a new post on my SOLO blog: 'Dr Montessori's "Old Age"

I commend it to your attention.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Carol

AdamReed's picture

Carol,

I'm very happy to see you here. As you know from experiences and observations mentioned in this thread, a great deal depends on the epistemology, intelligence, and attitude of any specific school's director and teachers. "As long as the materials are still being handled respectfully" will have different meanings for a teacher who appreciates the learning potential of an intelligent child's enthusiastic exploration of the many implications of a new concept or skill, versus a teacher whose idea of respect is bound up with a totalist or religious reverence for the authority of assigned functions. The example you chose, of manipulatives "being bowled from one end of the classroom to the other," would disrupt other students' learning, and of course could not be tolerated. But what of the child who had already learned active comparison at home, and tried to see what would happen if she stacked the cubes in reverse order, "upside down?" Whether a teacher would encourage or discourage the child in this context could be quite important, don't you think?

Exactly. I'm very glad

Ross Elliot's picture

Exactly. I'm very glad you're here and I hope you keep posting, Carol. PC, see to it!

Carol, are there any male Montessori teachers?

Certainly Ross she did. The

Carol Potts's picture

Certainly Ross she did. The reason being that each piece of didactic material is intended to introduce a particular concept to the child. For example the pink tower, a prolifically photographed piece of Montessori material, consists of 10 pink wooden cubes. The largest being 10cm3 and the smallest 1cm3. This piece of material when introduced in a specific way introduces the child to the concept of height. Once the child understands the conveyed concept they may explore that material in a multitude of ways as long as the materials are still being handled respectfully. The minute the cubes are being bowled from one end of the classroom to the other - would you call that unauthorized exploration?- a firm suggestion to put the material away would be called for! Reasonable wouldn't you say?

Good evening Gerald.

Carol Potts's picture

Good evening Gerald. Firstly, I would suggest you do a fair bit of reading about the Montessori philosphy. It is very different to day care! And certainly be aware that a full 3 years is the ideal for your child to be in a pre-primary Montessori environment before going to primary school. Yes, contrary to what is the norm in this country, compulsory schooling does not start until 6 - hurrah!

I would initially call the Montessori schools in your area and ask them about their programme. Ask them how the children's day is structured. If the day seems unnecessarily regimented i.e mat time at 9.00am and snack time at 10.00, outside time at 11.00a.m etc. ask them why. Very often these time limitations are initiated for the needs of the adult not the child and can inpinge hugely on the child's ablity to concentrate.
Ask about the staff's qualifications. There must be a percentage of Montessori qualified staff present for any authentic practice to be followed. Ask about the age range of children, ideally children between the ages of 3 to 6 work beautifully in the same prepared environment. Then go and observe and see how respectful the interactions between staff and children seem - this in my opinion is a crucial element to look for. Are the children happy and engaged in purposeful activity.
Look to see what's on the walls - is it tasteful, it is the child's work, is it at child height. If you see wall to floor art/project work that gives the appearance of clutter and chaos - ask the staff who the displays are for?

Does this help? Generally if you have an understanding of the principles of the Montessori philosophy you'll know when you see it in practice.

I don't think so.

Olivia's picture

He said Maria Montessori became a fascist with a membership card. He said some schools use Montessori methods in a fascist way - and both Kelly and I agreed with him. Carol also confirmed that she has observed schools misinterpreting those methods, resulting in not much benefit to the children or families.

Sorry to place your name anywhere near Riggenbarf's, but he unfailingly launches into insult without reason - at least in my judgment.

Please understand my point here is not against insults, I just don't think Adam deserves it based on what he said.

?

Peter Cresswell's picture

Sorry Claudia, you think it's "considered, rational and dignified" to enter a simple discussion about baby photos and a child heading off to school by characterising Dr Montessori and the Montessori Method as "fascist"?

But to call out that person for doing so makes me a Riggenba'ath shit-stirrer?

Call me confused, but I'd say you're talking to the wrong person about shit-stirring.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Peter.

Olivia's picture

I just can't understand why you call Adam a schmuck, an asshole or even a blusterer based on his postings on this thread and the other. I find his posts considered, rational and dignified. Your insults seem out of context - reminds me of that Riggenbach shit-stirer.

"We asked, and it turned out

Ross Elliot's picture

"We asked, and it turned out that the teacher was discouraging children from using Montessori materials for unauthorized exploration, even when the child had already grasped the operation that the materials at hand were intended to teach."

Correct me if I'm wrong, Carol, but I'm positive Maria herself, from the get go, discouraged the unintended use of the didactic apparatus. Nes pas?

Adam.

Peter Cresswell's picture

"Actually, Peter, Adam is right."

Actually, Adam, Kelly is wrong -- as I would have told her on that thread if I hadn't preferred to insult you on this one -- and wrong for the reasons I did cite on the other thread.

Any Objectivist who thinks (as you obviously do) that Montessori schools -- and here I mean genuine Montessori schools, not just the Monte-something schools with nothing more than a Montessori name -- are "schools where everything is so regimented kids can hardly breathe without getting specific instructions"; or are "hippy"; or are "military camp[s] for toddlers" does need to check their evidence, and to test it against what a genuine Montessori programme is like.

And if they are prepared to believe or to make any of those charges against a genuine Montessori programme, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary they would or should have read in the Objectivist literature and elsewhere, then they really do need to check their premises.

As does anyone who reads you and continues to takes you seriously.

You schmuck.

Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Peter

AdamReed's picture

You write, "you intruded on a pleasant discussion of a child starting school with an irrelevant out-of-context insult...."

Kelly Elmore, whose thread ("Picture of the baby I'm sending off to school") it was, wrote:

"Actually, Peter, Adam is right. There are a tone of pseudo Montessori schools where everything is so regimented kids can hardly breathe without getting specific instructions. There are also a ton of hippy ones that are equally non-Montessori (in the best sense of the word). I'm glad Adam is warning people about them. It would be horrible for a parent to think that they were getting a kind, loving, thought out environment where children are treated with respect and their individual needs nurtured, only to find that they are getting a military camp for toddlers."

Compare and contrast. "Twisted" is a euphemism - but I don't care to pollute Linz' site with a more fitting description of your behavior here.

Adam.

Peter Cresswell's picture

Adam, you intruded on a pleasant discussion of a child starting school with an irrelevant out-of-context insult at a woman who is a genius, an insult entirely outside the relevance of what was discussed, and one that on an Objectivist list even someone as solipsistic as you would have known would attract attention to yourself.

To object to that is not "getting twisted." It is giving you what you deserve. You are an arsehole. Saying what you said with a straight face and then proposing to settle down to a serious and pleasant discussion of the finer points of the Montessori Method is just another example of your solipsism -- it's like intruding on a discussion of Wagner's 'Liebestod' with snotty shouting that "Wagner is a Nazi"; or like putting a steaming pile of shit in the front door of a synagogue and then wondering why you're shunned when you try and worship there.

And if you can't work out what "failure" means in the context I wrote it, as you so obviously can't, then all the worse for any claim you might have to understand what you're reading.

You schmuck.

Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

Peter, get a mirror

AdamReed's picture

Peter, get a mirror.

"reason for the failure of your child?' No, Peter, I was father enough to make sure that my child did not fail.

I don't know - and do not wish to know - what in your personal history has driven you to ascribe failure to a child whom you never met (and who is now a National Merit Scholar and pre-medical honors student.) Pre-school children don't fail, Peter. Doctrinaire schools and teachers who lack imagination fail the children. Reading the early work of Maria Montessori, who you claim to admire, ought to have taught you at least that much.

As for "someone who wishes to tear down heroes whatever the opportunity," then again, Peter, get a mirror. I share Piaget's admiration for Montessori's breakthrough work - as important in education as, for example, Richard Wagner's was in music. But to get all twisted when one mentions that Wagner wrote anti-Semitic pamphlets, or that Montessori wrote teacher training manuals for Fascist schools, betrays an unbecoming lack of respect for reality. And parents do need to know that, when it comes to their children's minds, an "Official Montessori" certificate is no substitute for one's own critical observation and judgment.

But do feel free to rant. You are what you write.

Jameson

User hidden's picture

Your comments about personality are interesting. My daughter is very intense and emotional, like I am. I am hoping that the Montessori environment will give her the structure and calm that she doesn't naturally do for herself (and I don't naturally do for myself either), but that I have found is very good for me and makes me feel safe and happy. I am hoping she will have that same experience.

Kelly

A Tale of Two Kiddies

Jameson's picture

Both of my daughters attended a Montessori pre-school in Wellington. My eldest, Camille, was already obsessed with categorizing; grouping her undies by colour, lining her books up from biggest to smallest, organizing and reorganizing her rock collection. She took to the system like a bee to nectar. It was a different story for Isabella, who still can’t find a pair of socks that match. While I believe Montessori has something to offer every child, it seems more suited to the inherently analytical and orderly.

Adam.

Peter Cresswell's picture

So it turns out that for all his bluster Arsehole Adam's insights about Dr Montessori and her Method being "fascist" have been formed and validated on the basis of one bad experience at what he calls one bad school.

I'll post later on Dr Montessori's history with the 1922-1943 Italian Government, and its relevance (or lack thereof) for the development of the Montessori Method. I'll leave you to decide what Adam's judgement about a school might be worth. And I have no doubt that Carol will be able to successfully answer your substantive questions if you're patient enough to wait for your answers: she doesn't have a great deal of spare time because in addition to running her own Montessori Childrens' House she is setting up a New Zealand AMI Montessori Teacher Training School to ensure - despite the efforts of local arseholes like Adam - that quality Montessori education doesn't die out down here in the South Pacific.

In the meantime I'll just say that to charge Montessori and the Montessori Method with fascism and to claim it as the main reason for the failure of your child is context dropping in extremis, and raised as it was in the context of someone showing their baby photos is revealing only of someone who wishes to tear down heroes whatever the opportunity.

I can assure you that if I was running a school at which Arsehole Adam was a parent, I would be telling him whatever was necessary to see the back of him.

The schmuck.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

What to ask, what to lok for

AdamReed's picture

First, where I come from on this.

One of my academic disciplines is cognitive psychology. I studied with, among others, Seymour Papert, who had worked with Piaget in Geneva. At one point, when I was on the Graduate Faculty of Social and Political Science at the New School for Social Research and the department's developmental psychologist was away on sabbatical, I taught the psychology department's graduate seminar in Cognitive Development for a year.

When my daughter was about a year and a half, she began to treat the gadgets with which I had "child-proofed" our house as challenges to be solved. She figured out how to open supposedly "child-proof" cabinets and containers and bottles, and how to get into electric outlets that had even challenged some adults. Her mother and I were proud of her being able to figure them out, but her activity required an extreme level of vigilance on our part, and resulted in at least one trip to the emergency room. Since she needed the intellectual challenge we looked for a Montessori school that would be willing to enroll her, even though she was not yet two years old.

We found one that impressed us by its level of comittment to "the Montessori System," teachers who had learned Italian to be able to study Montessori in the original, a quiet and well-organized learning environment etc.

Our daughter was originally enthusiastic, but within a few weeks she began to dislike her teacher. When we visited the school our daughter showed us, with justified pride, some of the clever things that she had figured out how to do with the Montessori materials - and the teacher looked very uncomfortable with that. We asked, and it turned out that the teacher was discouraging children from using Montessori materials for unauthorized exploration, even when the child had already grasped the operation that the materials at hand were intended to teach. We pulled our daughter out. Her next pre-school was Montessori-influenced but not "official Montessori," and she liked it much better.

I eventually learned that the bad Montessori school was using teacher training that Montessori developped while working for the Fascist government between 1926 and 1934. The teachers were using Montessori's insights in the Fascist style, as rigid rules, and not as principles to be adapted to the different cognitive style of each individual child.

My advice to parents shopping for a Montessori school is, as I wrote on the previous thread, check and ask. More specifically, since you know your child's individual personality and cognitive style, think of what your child is likely to do - and ask how the teachers would react to her doing that. And, if you find that the school is using Montessori as rules and not as contextual principles, get out of there.

Carol

Gerald's picture

Hi Carol,

I have a 2 year old son who we're looking to put into daycare or a Montessori next year. Other then going to the school and observing the teacher in the classroom is there anything else we should look for specifically before enrolling our son?

Gerald

p.s. Claudia, thanks for starting this thread.

Montessori

Carol Potts's picture

In my experience the quality of the Montessori environment depends hugely on the training of the staff and their understanding (and interpretation) of the principles of the philosophy. I am the Head Directress and licensee of a Montessori children's house for ages 2.5 to 6, and have been for the past 11 years.

I am passionate about the Montessori philosophy and could not recommend another philosophy of early childhood education as highly.

Claudia - you comment that your experience within a Montessori 'based' system were not good. Sadly, I have also observed many 'Montesomething-based' environments - generally meaning that the school has acquired some of the materials, or staff, or have adopted some of the principles. Generally this neither serves the child or their families well. The Montessori philosophy is simple yet profound, much like Objectivism, and like Objectivism it requires more than just mere adoption of one or two rote-learned nostrums.

I look forward to communicating further on this topic.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.