Maria Montessori started the first course for the Assistants to Infancy with Adele Costa Gnocchi in 1947 in Rome. She devoted her energies to developing an understanding of the unborn child to the 3year old after she developed the 3 – 6 and 6 – 12 year old programmes. Maria Montessori’s philosophy is based on the scientific observation of the child at various stages of development: infancy, childhood, adolescence and maturity. The three key terms in the Montessori pedagogy for the 0 – 6 year old child are: the Absorbent Mind, Sensitive Periods and the Prepared Environment.
THE ABSORBENT MINDThe child from 0 – 3 years processes a very specific kind of mind by which they unconsciously and effortlessly absorb all that is in the environment. The absorbent mind is transitory and only present in infancy. The purpose of the absorbent mind and the sensitive periods is to facilitate the child’s adaptation to the culture and environment into which they are born.
SENSITIVE PERIODSThe sensitive periods refer to periods of time when the child has a special sensibility and receptiveness for acquiring a particular trait. The sensitive periods for the 0-3 child are:
THE PREPARED ENVIRONMENTThe Montessori teacher combines their knowledge of human development with knowledge of the specific child and prepares a room made especially for the 0 – 3 child – an environment that is ordered, engaging, challenging and fulfiling for each child.
CHARACTERISTICS AND NEEDS OF 18 MONTH TO 3 YEAR-OLD CHILDThe child at this stage of development is learning to adapt to his world. To assist him in his self-construction and adaptation, the 0 – 3 classes offer:
- Freedom of movement
- An environment rich in language
- An inviting, sensorial pleasing classroom
- Respect for the child in facilitating their independence
- Order and consistency to make the child feel at home and Secure.
THE PURPOSE OF 0-3yrs PROGRAMThe 0-3yrs Program aims to provide the child with an environment, which is enticing and interesting as well as an environment that helps the child to develop their own independence. The environment created is based on the child’s need for order, movement and language. Through the activities below the child is able to develop and their needs are met:
- Practical life exercises
- Exercises to refine hand-eye coordination and visual discrimination
- Language enrichment (Early exposure to literacy)
- Art activities
- Refinement of movement
- Development of concentration
- Development of the will (giving choices)
PARENT INFORMATION AND EDUCATIONParent education is a very important part of the programme and will be facilitated through observations and parent information evenings.
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