Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Introduction to Mathematics

     A child can learn basic concepts of mathematics in either of two ways. He can learn by using concrete materials during the years when he enjoys manipulating equipment; or he can learn by abstract methods when he is in the elementary grades. Dr. Montessori demonstrated that if a child has access to mathematical  equipment in his early years, he can easily and joyfully assimilate many facts and skills of arithmetic. On the other hand, these same facts and skills may require long hours of drudgery and drill if they are introduced to him later in abstract form.
     After she observed that the child who becomes interested in counting likes to touch or move the items as he enumerates them, Dr. Montessori designed concrete materials to represent all types of quantities. In a Montessori environment, a child not only sees the symbol for 1, 10000, or 1/2, he can also hold each of the corresponding quantities in his hand.
     Later, by combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, counting it, and comparing it, he can demonstrate to himself the basic operations of arithmetic. This activity gives him the satisfaction of learning by discovery rather than by being told. Eventually he develops an early enthusiasm for the world of numbers.
THE RED AND BLUE RODS
     In the Montessori classroom the child's first introduction to numbers is made with a set of red and blue rods representing the quantities one through ten. The teacher helps the child to count the alternating red and blue sections of each rod as he arranges them in stair-like formation. The child calls the smallest rod One, the next rod Two, and so forth. The Number Two Rod is a unit, yet it is equal to two of the Number One Rods.
     At about the same time, the child learns the corresponding figures by tracing the numerals in sandpaper. The teacher helps him to place each of these numerals beside the rod illustrating that quantity.
     Working with this equipment gives the child an opportunity to discover many mathematical facts. For example, if he places the Number One Rod end to end with the Number Two Rod it will be exactly the same length as the Number Three Rod. The child is also able to see basic multiplication and division; for example, the Number Two Rod will fit on the Number Six Rod exactly three times.
     He can also use the rods to demonstrate the various combinations that equal the Number Ten Rod. He can place the Number One Rod beside the Number Nine Rod, the Number Two Rod beside the Number Eight Rod, the Number Seven Rod beside the Number Three Rod, the Number Six Rod beside the Number Four Rod and the Number Five Rod taken twice.
    THE SPINDLE BOXES
     The Spindle Boxes represent a parallel exercise in associating the numerals with the proper quantities. This tie the numerals are in a fixed order and the quantities are loose. The Spindle Boxes have ten compartments labeled with the figures Zero through Nine. In a separate box there are forty-five spindles. The child puts one spindle in the compartment labeled 1, two spindles with the label 2, etc. The first compartment is labeled 0 and this is the child's first introduction to this symbol. He usually wants to put a spindle in this compartment but has to learn that Zero means none or nothing.
THE NUMERALS AND COUNTERS
     In this exercise both the symbols and the quantities are loose and both must be placed in order by the child doing exercise. First, he arranges the numerals in ascending order. When placing the appropriate number of red discs under each figure, the child puts the discs in row of two. Each odd number has only one disc in the bottom row. This arrangement automatically illustrates the odd ans even numbers.
THE SEGUIN BOARDS
     To learn the "teen" numbers, the child uses equipment known as the Seguin Boards, The boards have the numeral 10 printed nine times in a vertical row. On separate cards are printed the numerals 1 through 9. The child forms the number 11 by sliding the figure 1 over the 0 of the 10. This shows her concretely that the number 11  is made up of 10 plus 1. Then she forms 12 by sliding the figure 2 over the 0 of the second 10. The teacher helps her with the words eleven, twelve, thirteen and so forth.
     Another set of Seguin Boards is available for learning the numerals 21  through 99. To build the corresponding quantities in this exercise, the child uses colored bead bars. Therefore, work with the Seguin Boards usually begins after the child has been introduced to the Golden Bead Material.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sensorial Exercises (3)

Learning to Write
     To be able to write, a child must develop a two-fold skill. He must commit to memory the shape of the letters and their corresponding sounds, and he must develop the muscular skill necessary for using the pencil with control.
     To clarify this distinction, look carefully at what happens when either phase of this skill is not perfected. A child may wish to write dog. He has good control of his hand, but his perception of the shapes of the letters is hazy. He writes bog very neatly.
     On the other hand, a child may know all the letters perfectly, but his hand is not practiced. He wants to write dog but he actually puts dog on the paper.
     For a child to try to acquire both aspects of this skill at the same time is often discouraging and frustrating. It is extremely difficult for him to try to learn the path for making the letters at the same time that he is trying to learn how to move the pencil with control.
     The materials that Dr. Montessori designed offer the child the opportunity to learn the shapes and sounds of the letters in a way that is completely independent from his perfection of the motor skill. Therefore, the child in the Montessori classroom learns to write not by writing per se, but by performing a number of purposefully structured activities that prepare him both indirectly and directly for success in handwriting.
THE SANDPAPER LETTERS
     The child learns the alphabetical symbols by using the Sandpaper Letters. Each letter of the alphabet is cut out of sandpaper and mounted on an individual tablet, the vowels on blue and the consonants on red. The teacher shows the child how to trace the letter with two fingers following the same direction in which the letter is normally written.
     Use of this material gives the child a three-fold impression. He sees the shape, he feels the shape, and he hears the sound of the letter which the teacher repeats when introducing it. The fact that the letter is made of sandpaper, rather than ink, invites the child to trace its shape. This is an important step in learning to write. The repetition of this exercise fixes the path of each of the letters in the child's muscular memory.
     In a Montessori classroom the child learns the phonetic sounds of the letters before he learns their names used in the alphabetical sequence. The phonetic sounds are given first because these are the sounds he actually hears in words. For example, a child can hear sss at the beginning of the word stop. He cannot hear the alphabetical name of "s"in this word.
     The child first becomes aware of these phonetic sounds when the teacher introduces the consonants with the Sandpaper Letters. For example, when presenting the letter m, the teacher makes a humming sound rather than saying em. She suggests words like mommy or muffin that begin with this sound. The child then repeats the sound and usually adds additional words in which this sound is used, like man or mitten.
     In the first introduction of the vowels, the teacher gives the short vowel sounds such as those at the beginning of the words, apple, egg, inset, ostrich, and umbrella. As soon as the child learns a few vowels and consonants, she is ready to begin constructing three-letter words that have a short vowel sound.
THE METAL INSETS
     A child in a Montessori classroom learns to control a pencil by filling in outlines-an activity that does not weary him because he enjoys it. To make the outline, he uses equipment known as the Metal Insets. Each inset represents a different geometric shape. After selecting a figure and tracing it on paper, the child fills in the outline with a colored pencil of his own choosing.
     At first his strokes are erratic and often extend beyond the outline. By degrees they become more accurate and uniform. Progress in muscular control can be noted by comparing the child's designs from week to week and from year to year. Eventually he makes more intricate designs by superimposing two or three other shapes on the original figure. When colored, this effort resembles a stained glass window.
     The designs shown above, made by children using the Metal Insets, illustrate various stages of progress in this activity. Although work with the Metal Insets gives the child an opportunity to experiment with color and design, it is not considered creative art. Crayons and paints are not used for this activity because the purpose is always pencil control.
WRITING
     Sometime during the year when a child is in a Montessori class, an exciting thing happens. After he has worked for a while with the Metal Insets and the Sandpaper Letters, a day comes when he realizes that he is able to make words and numerals with a pencil. Montessori called this phenomenon the "explosion into writing."
     When writing begins in this spontaneous way, the child is spared many tedious hours of forced effort. Writing is fun. Because he has already learned control, the repetition necessary for developing neatness and style does not tire him.
FROM WRITING to READING

WORD BUILDING
     Dr. Montessori always pointed out that a young child has a natural sensitivity for language development which follows closely on the years when she learns to speak her native language. The child at three, four and five has a unique fascination for words, both printed and spoken. This fascination often enables her to begin reading and writing before the age at which it is traditionally taught.
     The individual presentation of language materials in a Montessori classroom allows the teacher to take advantage of each child's greatest periods of interest. Reading instruction can begin on the day when the child wants to know what a word says or when she shows interest in using the Sandpaper Letters. The construction of words with movable letters nearly always precedes reading in a Montessori environment.
THE MOVABLE ALPHABET
     After a child has learned the Sandpaper Letters, she is ready to make words with the large Movable Alphabet. For this activity the teacher prepares a bag of miniature objects representing three words with the short vowel sound, such as a bed, a lid, a fan and a cup. First the child selects an object, such as the bed, and says the name of it very slowly so she can hear each sound-b...e...d. She then selects the letter to represent the first sound and places it beside the object on a mat. Next she selects the letter for the second and finally the third.
    Dr.Montessori called this activity "word building." The fact that the child is manipulating material at this stage is important because she still concentrates best on something she is doing with her hands.
     The child usually continues the word building process for a long period of time. The classroom offers a wide variety of small toy-like figures and pictures for which she can build the names. Gradually the difficulty of the nouns increases from three-letter words like pig. to four-letter words containing a consonant blend, such as flag.
MATCHING WORDS AND PICTURES
     Reading very naturally follows the word building exercises. After making lists of words for several days, or even weeks, a child gradually realizes that he can go back over the list and pronounce the words he constructed.  However, pronouncing words that he has constructed himself is not really else has constructed. The opportunity to take this step comes when he matches a set of objects with a set of cards on which the names of the objects are already printed. To place the correct card with each object he must read the word on the card. Later he matches pictures and words-still using his hands while doing a reading exercise. 
THE COMMAND CARDS
     Verbs are introduced to the children with a set of red cards that have an action words printed on each one. The children enjoy these because, as they read each Command Cad, they must perform the appropriate action. Words such as run, hop, skip, clap and jump appear in the beginning set. Later the children follow directions that tell them to "Set the map on the desk"or "Sit on the red mat." The teacher increases the difficulty of the commands according to the progress of each child.
PHONOGRAMS
     Two different colored Moveable Alphabets are used for building words containing phonograms. A phonogram is a special combination of two or more letters that produces a single sound different from the regular sequence of sounds of these letters. Examples of phonograms are oy as in toy, ch as in chin, and tion as in action. The particular phonogram that the child is learning is constructed in a color different from the rest of the word.
     For example, when learning sh, the child can make words like ship, shell, and fish. Each time, he puts the sh in one color such as red, and the remainder of the word in another color, such as black. The teacher then uses two colors to print small phonogram and has a different word printed on each page. For example, the booklet illustrating the phonogram oa might have coat on the first page, boat on the second page, road on the third page and so forth. On each page, the phonogram oa is emphasized by a color different from the rest of the word.
READING DEVELOPMENT
     Gradually the child learns words with tow and three syllables by doing reading exercises that offer variety than monotonous repetition. Also introduced at this time are the Puzzle Words (usually called Sight Words) such as one, does, sure, and the, that do not follow the phonetic rules and must be memorized. Because his skill in phonics gives him the means of attacking almost any new word, each child is encouraged to read about things that interest him. This introduces him to the longterm pleasures of reading.
    Some children read at four, some at five, and some at six. The actual age is not as important as the right moment of readiness. If a child begins too early, he will be discouraged. If he is forced to wait until he has passed his initial period of interest, then he will miss that golden opportunity when he is propelled by his own natural enthusiasm. The freedom of the Montessori classroom allows each child's own interest to determine his progress.
The child's interest in reading is never stifled by monotony. Rather, it is cultivated as the most important key to future learning. He is not asked, "Why did Jane run"" which may not interest him at the moment. He is encouraged to explore books for answers to his own questions, whether they are about frogs, rockets, stars, or fire engines.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sensorials Exercises(2)

THE ART OF LISTENING
     The art of listening carefully is a quality worth cultivating for a life time of use. Many youngsters in today's noisy world have formed the habit of "turning off"their attention to sound. They make no effort to distinguish the many sounds that assault their ears and thus they block themselves from many learning activities.
     Listening attentively is a vital preparation for learning the sounds of the letters for reading. Montessori designed several sensorial games to help the child concentrate on particular sounds. In one game a child is blindfolded and asked to identify particular sounds in the classroom, such as the noise of opening a window, closing a door, closing a book, or pouring water. In another game, he tries to identify the voices of his classmates without looking at the students who are speaking.
THE SOUND BOXES
     To help children become more aware of the intensity of sound, Montessori designed a set of six cylinder-shaped wooden boxes with red tops. Each box contains a small amount of a different substance such as salt, rice, dried beans, buttons or pebbles. The sounds produced when the child shakes the boxes vary intensity from soft to loud. This set of boxes corresponds to a second set that produces a similar sound. The child must find the mates by listening. Later he can grade the boxes in one set from the loudest to the softest.
THE BELLS
     Another quality of sound that is interesting to children is pitch. To isolate this quality, Montessori designed a set of black and white bells corresponding to the black and white keys on the piano. The bells are alike in every detail except the pitch, that is heard when the child strikes them gently. A similar set of brown bells corresponds exactly in pitch to the black and white set. The exercise consists of pairing the bells and later grading them in the order of the musical scale.
     The teacher begins by allowing a child to use only two pairs of bells with a wide differential in pitch. When the child is able to match these successfully, she gradually increases the number of  pairs with which she can work. As the contrast between the pairs decreases, the exercise becomes more challenging. Sometimes the children build not only the scale but little melodies as well, using about nine or ten of the bells. This type of ear training is good preparation for any further pursuit in music.

THE ART OF FEELINGS
     A child loves to touch. Much of the world comes to her through her hands as she investigates everything in her environment. She can use the sense of touch in a more meaningful way if she wears a blindfold. This eliminates visual recognition of an object and challenges her to recognize something with her fingers.
     In the Montessori classroom the child begins tactile activities with the Objective Bag. This is a simple bag containing a collection of familiar objects such as a cup, lid, button, string, and ball. The child grasps each object and names it without looking at it.
     Further education of the tactile sense is accomplished when the child uses the Rough and Smooth Boards, which let her feel the difference between sand paper and smooth wood.

THE SWATCHES
     A parallel exercise for educating the tactile sense is a box containing many pairs of swatches of different materials such as wool, flannel, silk, cotton, velvet, canvas, lace, etc. In this exercise a child mixes all the swatches, puts on a blindfold and then matches the pairs by feeling them. The child can correct the exercise herself by removing the blindfold and looking to see if each pair is correctly matched. While doing this exercise, the child also learns the correct names of the materials, thus giving her an opportunity to further extend her vocabulary during the years when she is especially sensitive to language development.
THE GEOMETRIC SOLIDS
     Many of the sensorial exercises, by their nature, are remote preparation for academic learning. For example, the child who has learned to listen carefully will be able to perceive subtle differences in the sounds of the letters. Of equal importance to language skills are the geometric materials, which help the child to concentrate on different shapes.
     Since shape is the defining characteristic of each letter of the alphabet, Dr. Montessori designed several sensorial exercises to make children aware of this quality. She began with the Geometric solids This is a set of materials alike in color and texture and of approximately the same size, but differing from each other in shape. The set includes the cube, the sphere, the cone, the cylinder, the pyramid, the rectangular prism, and the triangular prism.
     The children learn to recognize these shapes by handling the solids, looking at them, and playing group games where they try to identify the shapes while wearing a blindfold. They also learn to relate the solids to common things in the environment; for example, the sphere is like a ball; the cylinder is like a drinking glass; the cone is like an ice cream cone.
     Vocabulary building is an important part of this activity. Children love a big word like "supercalifragilistic,"in the same way, they enjoy the challenge of big terms like cylinder, pyramid, and rectangular prism. It is much easier for children to learn what a pyramid or a sphere is when they can hold it in their hands, than it is for them to learn it later in abstract form. When they study geometry in future years, children who have been in a Montessori class will have their necessary vocabulary based on concrete representations.
    THE GEOMETRIC CABINET
    The Geometric Cabinet presents the plane geometric shapes to the child. This cabinet contains six drawer of flat wooden insets representing different types of triangles, different sizes of rectangles, different polygons, different sizes of circles, irregular four-sided figures and various curved figures. Each inset has a little knob by which the child can move it in and out of its wooden frame. She does this at first like a puzzle.
    Later she matches the wooden insets to similar shapes on printed cards, The first set of cards has each shape printed in solid blue. The second set has the shape represented with a thick blue outline. The third set has each shape drawn with a pencil-thin blue outline. As the child matches the wooden insets to these three sets of cards, she gradually makes the transition from a shape in solid form to a shape outlined with a pencil. This is a remote preparation for recognizing the different shapes of written letters and numerals.
THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRIANGLES
     The Constructive Triangles are brightly colored flat triangles that the child puts together like a puzzle. Each triangle has one or more edges with a black line border. By matching the black lines, a child is able to construct many of the straight-edged geometric figures. The complete figures illustrate how these shapes are actually composed of triangles. The picture shows triangles composed of one, two, three, and four triangles.
THE CYLINDER BLOCKS
     Indirect preparation for the motor technique of writing begins when a child uses the Cylinder Blocks. These are four oblong blocks of natural colored wood. Each block contains ten cylinder-shaped insets that can be handled by a knob attached to the top. The cylinders vary in graduated differences of depth and diameter.
     At first a child works with one cylinder block. She takes all the cylinders out, mixes them up, and replaces each in its corresponding socket. The exercise has a built-in control of error because each cylinder fits correctly in only one particular hole. Later, she works with two, three, and finally four blocks at the same time. Eventually, a child can perform the whole exercise while wearing a blindfold.
    Essentially this is a sensorial exercise in a discrimination of size. However, it is also an important muscular activity because the child grasps the little knobs with thumb and the same two fingers that she will later use to hold a pencil. Each time she does the exercise, she gains control of the small muscles that she will eventually use for writing. Other materials in the classroom, that require the handling of this same type of knob, are the insets in the Geometric Cabinet and the pieces in the Puzzle Maps.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sensorial Exercises(1)

Purpose
     A young child meets the world around her through the constant use of all her senses. To examine a new object, a baby will look at it, hold it in her hands to feel the texture and weight, shake it, lick it, or even try to bite it. Dr. Montessori felt that since the child quite naturally uses all her powers of observation during her early years, this was the ideal time to give her equipment that sharpens her senses and enables her to understand the many impressions she receives through it.
     The Sensorial Materials in the Montessori classroom help the child to become aware of details by offering her at first, strongly contrasted sensations, such as red and blue, and then variously graded sensations, such as the many different shades of blue. The material enables her to know what is red, what is blue, and then to understand the abstraction of blueness and finally the abstraction of color itself.
     Each of the Sensorial Materials isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, smell, etc. The equipment emphasizes this one particular quality by eliminating or minimizing other differences. Thus, the Color Tablets are all the same size, the same shape, and the same texture. They differ only in color.
     The important of educating the senses can be illustrated by an example from the adult world. It is possible for men and women, as well as children, to receive any amount of sensory impressions and be none the richer. Two adults may attend a concert together. One experiences great pleasure and the other, with equally accurate hearing, feels only boredom and weariness. Sense impressions are not enough by themselves. The mind needs education and training to be able to discriminate and appreciate.
    A young child can remain unmoved by a myriad of sensory impressions in her everyday environment. What she needs is not more and more impressions bur the ability to understand what she is perceiving. The Montessori Sensorial Materials help the child to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what she already knows. Dr. Montessori believed that this process is the beginning of conscious knowledge. It is brought about by the intelligence working in a concentrated way on the impressions given by the senses.
THE PINK TOWER
     Size in three dimensions is introduced to the child by the use of the Pink Tower. This is a series of ten pink cubes graded in size from one centimeter cubed to ten centimeters cubed. All the blocks are the same color, shape, and texture. To perform the exercise, a child must recognize the gradation in size and build the tower beginning with the largest cube and finally placing the smallest cube on top. The exercise is self-correcting because a block placed in the improper order will be immediately noticeable and may cause the tower to topple.
THE BROWN STAIRS
     The Brown Stairs introduce the child to differences in size in two dimensions. This is a set of ten prisms with a constant length of twenty centimeters but whose width and height both vary from one centimeter to ten centimeters. Again, the child must place the blocks in proper gradation forming a stair-like structure. With this exercise the teacher introduces the concepts of thickness and thinness, using the terms thick, thicker, thickest and thin, thinner, thinnest, with the corresponding blocks as concrete examples.
THE RED RODS
     The Red Rods help the child to recognize differences in size in one dimension-length. Again, the child must place the rods in the proper sequence from the shortest, which is ten centimeters in length, to the longest, which is one meter in length. The exercise is similar to the preceding ones in that a mistake in the order is very evident to the child and can be corrected easily. It also offers the teacher the opportunity of introducing to the child the terms short, shorter, shortest and long, longer, longest. This equipment gives the child a sensorial basis for learning to count when she begins mathematics.
THE SMELLING JARS
     The smelling materials consists of two sets of small jars with removable caps. These jars are identical in all respects except the flavoring that they contain. One has cinnamon, another mint, another coffee, another cloves, etc. Each jar has a significant fragrance.
     The food is covered by cheesecloth or a perforated top so that the child can smell it, but she can't see or feel it. Each jar in the first set has a mate in the second set. The child combines the pairs by carefully smelling each jar. The teacher uses the exercise as an opportunity to build the child's vocabulary by teaching her the names of the foods she is smelling.
     In a parallel exercise, children smell cotton dampened with drops of liquids such as  perfume, vanilla and vinegar. Many teachers follow up this exercise by having the children carefully smell flowers in the school garden. Some children, wearing a blindfold, learn to identify many of the flowers by their fragrance.
THE COLOR TABLETS
     The child's first exercise with color is a box containing six tablets-two red, two blue and two yellow. All the tablets are the same size, shape and texture. They differ only in highly contrasting color. In this exercise, the child pairs the tablets and learns the corresponding names. This is a simple exercise used for the very youngest children in the class.
     The difficulty of the exercise can be increased by gradually adding more pairs of colors. Eventually, the child should be able to match and name eleven different pairs.
GRADING THE COLORS
     For the next step the child may use a box containing eight different shades of eight different colors. The shades of each color are graded from very light to very dark. To perform this exercise, the child must distinguish the intensity of the shades and place the tablets in order from the lightest to the darkest shade of each color. When the exercise is completed, the arrangement gives a pretty rainbow effect that is appealing to the children.
     This activity can be made more challenging by the teacher. She can select a color tablet and ask the child to go to the box and bring back the one that is just darker or just lighter than then one the teacher is holding. To do this is not easy, but many children are able to do it accurately after having worked with the colors for several months. Teaching children to be aware of fine differences in color is giving them remote preparation for all kinds of scientific observations, art, art appreciation, decorating, and many other meaningful activities.
THE BARIC TABLETS
     Another sensorial material is a box containing three sets of little blocks of wood, each set varying slightly from the other two in weight. The blocks also differ in color so the child wears a blindfold while doing the exercise. This eliminates the visual difference and enables the child to sort the blocks by weighing them on the tips of his fingers. First the child mixes two sets together and attempts to sort them into two piles corresponding to the terms light and heavy. Later he increases the difficulty by adding a third set and sorting them into light, medium, and heavy. The child can correct the exercise himself by removing the blindfold and nothing whether or not all the blocks in each pile are the same color.



Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Practical Life Exercises

The Practical Life Exercises (คัดลอกมาจาก หนังสือของ Aline D.Wolf)
 "A child's work," Dr. Montessori wrote, "is to create the man he will become. An adult works to perfect the environment but a child works to perfect himself."
This distinction can be illustrated by looking closely at two people who are shoveling sand on a beach on a hot day. One is a man who is trying to fill a large barrel with sand; the other, a little boy, who is filling a pail with sand, dumping it out, and then filling it again. If anyone offers to help the man he readily hands over she shovel; but any efforts to help the little boy are resisted. He clings to his shovel because the work he is doing can be done only by himself. By constant repetition of motions he is strengthening his muscles, perfecting his coordination an gaining confidence in a particular skill. No one tells him that he has to shovel the sand; he is guided by direction deep within his own nature.
     Using the child's natural inclinations as a point  of departure, Dr. Montessori structured several exercises for the classroom to help the child satisfy this need for meaningful activity. For these exercises she used familiar objects-buttons, brushes, dishes, pitches, water and many other things that the child recognizes from his home experience.
     For the young child there is something special about tasks that an adult considers ordinary-washing dishes, cutting celery, and polishing shoes. They are exciting to the child because they allow him to imitate adults. Imitation is one of the child's strongest urges during his early years.
     Several of the Practical Life Exercises involve the use of water with which most children naturally like to play. Carrying the water in a pitcher and pouring it into a basin helps the child to perfect his coordination. As he becomes absorbed in an activity such as scrubbing a table top, he gradually lengthens his span of concentration. He also learns to pay attention to details as he follows a regular sequence of actions. Finally, he learns good working habits as he finishes each task and puts away all his materials before beginning another activity.
     Although the Practical Life Exercises may seem simple and common place, they are actually a very important part of the Montessori program. Each of the tasks helps a child to perfect his coordination so that he will be able to work later with the more intricate academic materials. No learning takes place without concentration and attention. The child prepares to learn by performing exercises that help him to gradually lengthen the time in which he can focus his attention on a specific activity.
The Dressing Frames
     The Dressing Frames are an important component of the Practical Life Exercises. Each frame isolates one skill of dressing and offers a child the opportunity to perfect this skill by repeating the motion over and over, thus helping him to become independent in dressing himself. The frames can offer practice in any or all of the following: buttons, snaps, zipper, pins, buckles, laces, hooks and eyes, and bows to tied. In the frame that features bow-tying, Dr. Montessori felt it was significant to have two different colored ribbons so that when giving assistance the teacher can say,"Put the block one around the white one." rather than saying, "Put this one around that one."
     Since there are many opportunities for Practical Life Exercises in the home, parents can encourage each child in the skills of dressing himself as soon as he shows interest in any of them. If the child wants to wash dishes, sort objects, polish silver, or pour milk, the parents should require the same orderly procedure that is encouraged in the classroom, so that good working habits may become second nature to the child.

จุดมุ่งหมายของการสอนแบบมอนเตสซอรี่

ฉันได้เข้าทำงานที่โรงเรียนนานาชาติ จอห์นไวแอทมอนเตสซอรี เป็นเดือนแรกทำให้ต้องศึกษาเอกสารเกี่ยวกับการสอนแบบมอนเตสซอรีมากมายเลยค่ะ ต่อไปนี้คือ เรื่องที่อ่านมาแล้วนำมาสรุปเล่าสู่กันฟังนะคะ
การสอนแบบมอนเตสซอรี่ เน้นให้เด็กมีใจรักในการเรียนรู้หรือการศึกษาด้วยตนเองอย่างอิสระจากสิ่งแวดล้อมที่จัดไว้ให้อย่างมีจุดมุ่งหมาย เป็นแนวคิดของ ดร.มาเรีย มอนเตสซอรี่ (ค.ศ. 1870-1952) แพทย์หญิงชาวอิตาลี และได้เริ่มปฏิบัติจริงในโรงเรียนเมื่อปี ค.ศ. 1970 โดยเน้นว่า มือ คือ เครื่องมือการเรียนรู้ที่สำคัญของเด็ก (ฉันขอแสดงความคิดเห็นว่า คล้ายกับทฤษฎีเชิงสังคมและวัฒนธรรมของไวก็อตสกีที่่ฉันเคยศึกษาคือ ถือว่า "ภาษา คือ เครื่องมือในการจัดการเรียนรู้ สร้างองค์ความรู้) เมื่อมือของเด็กได้จับต้องบางสิ่งบางอย่างแล้ว สมองจะทำหน้าที่ตอบสนองได้ ซึ่งแนวความคิดนี้ได้รับการยอมรับอย่างแพร่หลายทั่วโลก จากผลการสอนที่มีประสิทธภาพและประสิทธิผลที่ได้รับการพิสูจน์มาเป็นเวลายาวนาน
โรงเรียนนานาชาติ จอห์น ไวแอท มอนเตสซอรี เป็นโรงเรียนที่เพิ่งก่อตั้งก็จริงแต่ว่าได้ดำเนินการสอนแบบมอนเตสซอรีอย่างเต็มรูปแบบ โดยได้เชิญอาจารย์ผู้มีความรู้ทางภาษาอังกฤษควบกับวิธีการสอนแบบมอนเตสซอรีมาทำการจัดการเรียนการสอน เปิดทำการสอนในระดับ pre-K1 และ ระดับ K-1
พระราชบัญญัติการศึกษาแห่งชาติ พุทธศักราช 2542 และฉบับปรับปรุง ได้สนับสนุนการจัดการเรียนการสอนโดยยึดเด็กเป็นหลักในการจัดการศึกษา แนวคิดการสอนแบบมอนเตสซอรี่เป็นแนวคิดหนึ่งที่สามารถสนับสนุนการจัดการเรียนการสอนในระดับปฐมวัยให้มีประสิทธิภา ตามแนวทางที่ พรบ. การศึกษาแห่งชาติมุ่งหวัง
เด็กปกติในสิ่งแวดล้อมของมอนเตสซอรี่ จะมีพัฒนาการด้านต่างๆ ดังนี้
  1. พัฒนาการเรียนรู้ในการทำงานด้วยตนเอง โดยมีความรับผิดชอบในการที่จะควบคุมตนเองให้ทำงานได้สำเร็จ
  2. พัฒนาการทางด้านสังคม โดยการเรียนรู้ในการมีชีวิตสังคมที่แท้จริงในห้องเรียน รู้บทบาทหน้าที่ในการเป็นสมาชิกของกลุ่ม รู้จัดที่จะช่วยในการดูแลสิ่งแวดล้อม ทักษะทางสังคมจะได้รับการพัฒนาตามวัยและมีวินัยในตนเอง
  3. พัฒนาการทางด้านอารมณ์ ด้วยการเป็นผู้ที่มีจิตที่สงบ มีสมาธิในการทำงาน รู้จักควบคุมตนเองในการทำงานร่วมกับผู้อื่น และรู้จัดการรอคอยโอกาสของตนเอง มีอารมณ์ที่เหมาะสม
  4. พัฒนาการทางด้านสติปัญญา ด้วยการรู้จักแยกแยะ มีความคิดริเริ่ม รู้จักตัดสินใจและแก้ปัญหา เลือกได้อย่างอิสระ
  5. พัฒนาทางด้านร่างกาย ทักษะกลไกจะได้รับการดูแลและพัฒนาทั้งกล้ามเนื้อย่อย กล้ามเนื้อใหญ่ และสมดุลของร่างกาย รวมถึงการดูแลระวังรักษาสุขภาพให้ร่างการเจริญเติบโตอย่างถูกสุขลักษณะและมีสุขนิสัยที่ดีในการทำกิจวัตรประจำวัน
ซึ่งการสอนแบบมอนเตสซอรี่ ช่วยพัฒนาบุคลิกภาพทั้งหมดของเด็กให้มีคุณภาพพื้นฐานทุกด้านเพื่อนำไปสู่การเป็นพลเมืองที่ดีต่อไป