ERIC Number: ED224610
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Preschool Democracy: Ideas from Montessori.
Krogh, Suzanne Lowell
Maria Montessori believed that preschool children were capable of practicing an elementary form of democracy, could direct their own learning and discipline themselves, and were able to thoughtfully control their behavior for the benefit of the group. She believed also that it was necessary to prepare the environment so that democracy would begin to evolve naturally. Toward this end Montessori provided multi-age grouping, limited amounts of materials, a low pupil/teacher ratio, and real tools rather than toys. She encouraged self-discipline by providing variety in learning activities and materials and, for younger students, "exercises in practical life" to promote a feeling of security. Teachers who value the qualities promoted by the Montessori approach and who wish to promote them in their classrooms must be willing to be facilitators or collaborators rather than directive teachers and must trust children to work with real materials in caring for the room, model appropriate behavior, trust children to create their own concept of community, and treat children with dignity. Peer teaching, mixed-age grouping, student-initiated grouping, nonpunitive/nonauthoritarian group management, techniques promoting self-discipline, goal-directed selection of materials, use of real tools in structured activities, and gradual implementation of activities with developmentally appropriate materials are eight of Montessori's ideas which can be adapted to regular classrooms. (RH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Montessori Method
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (Washington, DC, November 11-14, 1982).