Course: Philosophy of Education (8609)
Semester: Spring, 2022
ASSIGNMENT No. 2
Q.1 What kind of curriculum Aristotle supported to be taught to the children? Discuss its features.
Aristotle, embraced the Greek version of liberal arts curriculum and emphasized natural sciences, biology, botany, physiology, and zoology. He studied with Plato for 20 years at the Academy and eventually joined him and Socrates in Western education history. Aristotle was able to take Plato’s philosophical and educational ideas as a jumping off point changing them throughout his life to become his own personal philosophy. Whereas Plato believed truth was found within the mind, Aristotle looked to the world outside the mind to find evidence of what was true. Born in 384 BCE in Stageira, Chalcidice, Greece, Aristotle served as a tutor to Alexander the Great for seven years and eventually established a school in Athens known as the Lyceum. Aristotle believed the purpose of school was to develop and exercise students’ potential for reasoning, form ethical character, and provide a skill and knowledge base. He thought the purpose of schooling was to develop dispositions and habits that exercise reason and forming a human’s ethos. Schools were to prepare future citizens with more functional knowledge needed to conduct their political, social, and economic affairs.
His lifelong fascination with science and medicine is reflected in his philosophy of education with one of his biggest philosophies being his definition of humans as rational animals. As a founder of Western science, he pioneered categorization of objects and was the founder of natural realism. He can be seen as a forerunner of the modern university professor who believes research and teaching are inseparable. His writings span a wide range of disciplines including logic, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, political theory, aesthetics, and rhetoric. They even delve into such primarily non-philosophical fields as empirical biology where he excelled at detailed plant and animal observation and taxonomy. In all these areas, Aristotle’s theories have provided illumination, met with resistance, sparked debate, and generally stimulated the sustained interest of an abiding readership. Like Plato, Aristotle recognized the importance of early childhood as a formative period of human development. He divided schooling into three stages: primary, secondary, and higher education. Ages 7-14 would attend primary and could consist of gymnastics, writing, reading, music, and drawing. Ages 14-21 would attend secondary and would continue their primary studies while implementing literature, poetry, drama, choral music, and dancing. The last four years would be spent in military drill, tactics, and strategy. Higher studies would begin at age 21 and continue as long as the student was willing and able. Higher education was for males only as Aristotle believed women were not capable of such complex studies.
It is believed Aristotle wrote 150 philosophical treatises with the 30 that survive touching on an enormous range of philosophical problems, from biology and physics to morals to aesthetics to politics. However, many are thought to simply be “lecture notes” instead of complete treatises and a few may not even be Aristotle’s but of members of his school. One of the major discoveries that were made during the Crusades was that of Aristotle’s texts which had not been found up until this point. With the discovery of these texts, the rise of Islam, and the spread of the Arab Empire, they became familiar to Muslim scholars who translated them into Arabic. They then spread throughout the Islamic world including Spain. In the 12th century, scholars came from England, Paris, and Italy to seek them out and translate them into Latin. At this point, Aristotle’s texts had now spread into the intellectual centers of the West. Arabic scholars have managed to preserve Aristotle’s work in whole and they have recognized over time that none of his work is consistent with any religious ideas or thoughts of his time. Aristotle’s works were eventually translated into Latin and then distributed all through Europe bringing about the birth of what is known as modern atheism.
For Aristotle the development of a moral character was to be the aim of education (Carr & Harrison, 2015). As such the education of children and young people should extend beyond learning about academia and useful skills to a greater understanding of moral and social values and to a cultivation of a personal moral character.. When it comes to moral education then Aristotle believed that practice to form the habits should come before Intellectual virtues represent traits of character such as being able to judge the truth of the matter and understanding the nature of things while moral virtues are habits of living that involve the whole person and include justice, temperance, prudence and fortitude where they are characterised by desire and emotion. Aristotle explores these ideas in The Nichomachean Ethics, a text which consists of ten books and from where he argues that ‘The man who is to be good must be well trained and habituated’ . Happiness for Aristotle can only become accessible through education with it being the touchstone of Aristotelian ethics with the virtues, wisdom and happiness acquired through this. Virtue for Aristotle comes when we obtain happiness or goodness with goodness lying across two categories; goodness of intellect and goodness of character . Goodness of intellect can be enhanced through education and is the result of training and experience while goodness of character occurs because of habit which can be engineered by keeping good habits.
Aristotle held the view in this theory of education that it was the responsibility of the state to provide for education and therefore he is a strong advocate for public education. Indeed the only extended discussion of his theory of education that survives is that held within Book VIII of the Politics where Aristotle argues that schooling should be provided by the state and ‘one and the same for all’ . He was also interested in continuing education recognising that it was not limited to children and young people but that it needed to take a whole-life perspective with this being organised in stages of seven years at a time. Pre-school education denotes the very first stage with the parents, and specifically the father responsible for their children’s education as noted in his text The Nichomachean Ethics. Games should be used as the basic tool of education until a child is five, between five and seven they should merely be spectators in the lessons they will later go on to learn and at seven the child should attend school up to twenty one years of age. Unfortunately much of Aristotle’s work has been lost so we do not have the details of how schooling was structured or any details about adult education. However what we do know is that Aristotle believed in a system of continuing education and in supporting learning throughout the lifespan. Ultimately Aristotle’s theory of education sees a well-educated person as somebody who seeks out a balanced life, is capable of pursuing a range of interests including in music, public speaking, philosophy etc..
Q.2 Discuss the basic concepts of John Dewey’s philosophy of education.
John Dewey is credited as founding a philosophical approach to life called ‘pragmatism’, and his approaches to education and learning have been influential internationally and endured over time. He saw the purpose of education to be the cultivation of thoughtful, critically reflective, socially engaged individuals rather than passive recipients of established knowledge. He rejected the rote-learning approach driven by predetermined curriculum which was the standard teaching method at the time. However, importantly, he also rejected child-centred approaches that followed children’s uninformed interests and impulses uncritically. While he used the term ‘progressive education’, this has since been misappropriated to describe, in some cases, a hands-off approach to children’s learning which was not what Dewey proposed. Dewey believed that traditional subject matter was important, but should be integrated with the strengths and interests of the learner.
He developed a concept of inquiry, prompted by a sense of need and followed by intellectual work such as defining problems, testing hypotheses, and finding satisfactory solutions, as the central activity of such an educational approach. This organic cycle of doubt, inquiry, reflection and the reestablishment of sense or understanding contrasted with the ‘reflex arc’ model of learning popular in his time. The reflex arc model thought of learning as a mechanical process, measurable by standardised tests, without reference to the role of emotion or experience in learning. Dewey was critical of the reductionism of educational approaches which assume that all the big questions and ideas are already answered, and need only to be transmitted to students. He believed that all concepts and meanings could be open to reinvention and improvement, and all disciplines could be expanded with new knowledge, concepts and understandings.
The main features of Dewey’s theory of education
Dewey suggested that individuals learn and grow as a result of experiences and interactions with the world. These interactions and experiences lead individuals to continually develop new concepts, ideas, practices and understandings, which, in turn, are refined through and continue to mediate the learner’s life experiences and social interactions. According to Dewey:
Interactions and communications focused on enhancing and deepening shared meanings increase potential for learning and development. When students communicate ideas and meanings within a group, they have the opportunity to consider, take on and work with the perspectives, ideas and experiences of other students.
Shared activities are an important context for learning and development. Dewey valued real-life contexts and problems as educative experiences. If students only passively perceive a problem and do not experience the consequences in a meaningful, emotional and reflective way, then they are unlikely to adapt and revise their habits or construct new habits, or will do so only superficially.
Students learn best when their interests are engaged. It is important to develop ideas, activities and events that stimulate students’ interest and to which teaching can be geared. Teaching and lecturing can be highly appropriate as long as they are geared towards helping students to analyse or develop an intellectual insight into a specific and meaningful situation.
Learning always begins with a student’s emotional response, which spurs further inquiry. Dewey advocated for what he called ‘aesthetic’ experiences: dramatic, compelling, unifying or transforming experiences in which students feel enlivened and absorbed.
Students should be engaged in active learning and inquiry. Rather than teach students to accept any seemingly valid explanations, education ought to give students opportunities to discover information and ideas by their own effort in a teacher-structured environment, and to put knowledge to functional use by defining and solving problems, and determining the validity and worth of ideas and theories. As noted above, this does not preclude explicit instruction where appropriate.
Inquiry involves students in reflecting intelligently on their experiences in order to adapt their habits of action. Experience should involve what Dewey called ‘transaction’: an active phase, in which the student does something, as well as a phase of ‘undergoing’, where the student receives or observes the effect that their action has had.
Education is a key way of developing skills for democratic activity. Dewey was positive about the value of recognising and appreciating differences as a vehicle through which students can expand their experiences, and open up to new ways of thinking rather than closing off to their own beliefs and habits.
While there is no direct evidence that Dewey’s approach improves student outcomes, Dewey’s theory of students’ learning aligns with current theories of education which emphasise how individuals develop cognitive functioning by participating in sociocultural practices and with empirical studies examining the positive impact of interactions with peers and adults on students’ learning. Quantative research also underlines a link between heightened engagement and children’s learning outcomes, with strategies such as making meaningful connections to students’ home lives and encouraging student ownership of their learning found to increase student engagement. A few empirical studies which examined the effectiveness of aesthetic experiences for students confirmed that students experienced those lessons as more meaningful, compelling and connected than a comparison group
Dewey’s influence on teaching practice
Dewey’s theory has had an impact on a variety of educational practices including individualised instruction, problem-based and integrated learning, dialogic teaching, and critical inquiry. Dewey’s ideas also resonate with ideas of teaching as inquiry.
Dewey’s ideas about education are evident in approaches where teaching and learning are designed to be responsive to the specific needs, interests, and cultural knowledge of students. Teachers therefore learn about students and their motivating interests and desires in order to find subject matter, events and experiences that appeal to students and that will provoke a need to develop the knowledge, skills and values of the planned curriculum. Students are encouraged to relate learning to their lives and experiences.
Problem-based learning and integrated learning approaches
Dewey’s principles of learning are evident also in problem-based learning and project approaches to learning. These approaches begin with a practical task or problem which is complex, comprehensive, multi-layered, collaborative, and involves inquiry designed to extend students’ knowledge, skills and understandings. Problem-based learning should:
- start by supporting students to intellectualise exactly what the problem is
- encourage controlled inquiry by helping students to develop logical hypotheses (rather than depending on their habits of thinking to jump to conclusions), for example, by connecting or disconnecting ideas they already have encountered
- encourage students to revise their theories and reconstruct their concepts as their inquiry unfolds.
Dewey’s theory has also been extended to the problem of enhancing student engagement. Some strategies that have been found to increase student engagement and that align with Dewey’s concept of aesthetic experiences include:
- engaging students in deeper perception – going beyond the simple recognition of objects to look carefully at colours, lines and textures, question perceptions, and use new understandings to perceive things in new ways
- building intellectual, sensory, emotional or social connections to a topic, such as connecting to the topic of space travel through intellectual connections to the concepts of speed, power and force, sensory connections to the sounds, fire and vibrations, and emotional or social connections to the feelings of astronauts involved
- encouraging risk-taking, such as suggesting a calculation, or experimenting to make papier mâché
- encouraging sensory exploration
- using a theme or metaphor to illuminate powerful ideas and to produce a sense of wonder, imagination and anticipation, such as ‘rocks have a story to tell’
- provoking anticipation with evocative materials or suggestive situations, enabling students to unravel a mystery rather than follow a recipe.
Engagement can be heightened when students have ownership of their learning, for example, by being engaged in curriculum planning and cooperatively build curriculum themes, or by selecting a topic to research rather than being assigned a topic. Students can take responsibility for judging the value, significance and meaning of their experiences as well as next steps.
Dialogic teaching emphasises the importance of open student dialogue and meaning-making for learning, and builds on Dewey’s ideas about the importance of communication and social interaction. In this approach, students are encouraged to form habits of careful listening and thoughtful speaking: for example, they might be discouraged from raising their hand to speak in a lesson, as that action triggers anticipatory thought rather than full attention to the current speaker. Attention is paid to issues of power, privilege and access that may hinder open dialogue.
Dewey’s approach to education is evident in curricula focused on critial thinking skills in which students engage in intellectual reflection and inquiry, critique, test and judge knowledge claims, make connections, apply their understandings in a range of different situations, and go into depth, rather than be given quick answers or rushed through a series of content. Dewey’s philosophy of education highlights the importance of imagination to drive thinking and learning forward, and for teachers to provide opportunities for students to suspend judgement, engage in the playful consideration of possibilities, and explore doubtful possibilities.
Teaching as inquiry
Dewey’s perspective on teaching and learning encourages a teaching as inquiry mindset. His principles for teaching and learning suggest that teachers should cultivate an energetic openness to possibilities alongside a commitment to reflectively learning from experiences, be willing to experience ambiguity and use problems as an opportunity to get deeper into an understanding of self, students, the subject and the context.
Q.3 Enlist educational views of Ahmed Ibn-e-Muhammad Ibn-e-Yaqoob Ibn-e-Miskawayh.
Abu `Ali Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Ya’qub Miskawayh (932-1030) is a brilliant intellectual and philosopher of 10th-century Buwayhid Baghdad. His effect on Islamic philosophy is mainly concerned with ethical issues. His book Tadhib al-akhlaq (Ethical Instruction) is considered as the first major Islamic work on philosophical ethics. Focusing on practical ethics, conduct, and refinement of character, it contains an original theory on the education of young boys.
Miskawayh lived in the 4th century H and its scientific environment, and his very productive life extended for around 20 years into the 5th century, as is shown by the date of his death. So he spent the whole of his life within the period of the Abbasid empire, the rule of which extended from 132 to 656 H (750-1258 CE). This period of time is well known for the Muslims’ concentration on translating the sciences from other languages, and it witnessed also a flourishing of writing in Arabic, once the translation process had yielded its results. Many Muslims excelled in the branches of learning known at that time. As a result of the many books translated into Arabic, the various compositions in all kinds of fields, and the spread of the use of paper, the caliphs turned their attention to the establishment of what were known as Dar al-`ilm or Dar al-hikma (House of learning, or house of wisdom) in Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba, and in other countries of the Islamic world. These operated somewhat like public libraries, well provided for the needs of the general readers and specialists. Stationers’ shops also appeared, for selling books or renting them out to readers; and there was increased competition among the caliphs, viziers, learned men, and others, to acquire books and to establish their own private libraries in their castles, and to gather people together for learned discussions on the content of these books, in what might resemble seminars or study circles today.
Miskawayh is one of the outstanding personalities in the history of philosophical thought among the Muslims; so, as seems clear, his fame did not come about as a result of his involvement with teaching or with writing on education, in our modern terms, but his fame arose from his work in philosophy. Miskawayh was attracted to Greek philosophy, the books of which were available in a variety of Arabic translations because there were so many translators. However, he did not stop short at logic and theology, as did preceding Muslim philosophers such as al-Farabi (260-339/873-950), considered among Muslims as the Second Teacher after Aristotle, who was known to them as the First Teacher. Rather, he continued his path to deal with matters left aside by most of his predecessors or contemporaries among the philosophers. He differed from them in his concern for ethics more than most other studies of traditional philosophy at that time. Hence he was named by some the ‘Third Teacher’, since he was considered the first ethical thinker among the Muslims.
If Miskawayh was famous particularly in the field of ethics, yet like others of the best Muslim intellectuals he was very much attracted to the philosophy of the famous Greeks such as Plato and Aristotle and others, whose books, translated into Arabic, exerted their special fascination on those who worked with philosophy or were devoted to it. Perhaps the influence of Plato and Aristotle on Miskawayh is shown most clearly in his book Tahdhib al-akhlaq wa-tathir al-acraq (Refinement of character and purification of dispositions). He did not confine himself to the works of the great Greek philosophers, but studied others and referred to them also in his various works. These included Porphyrius, Pythagoras, Galen, Alexander of Aphrodisias, and Bryson. From this latter he took over most of what he wrote in connection with the education of young boys, although this man was not well known, as will be detailed later.
In addition, Miskawayh is very clearly distinguished from others who worked in science and philosophy, within Islamic civilization, by the fact that he indicated clearly and distinctly the sources on which he drew; something which proves his scientific reliability, and also emphasizes his patent admiration for the branches of learning which he studied, well known and widespread throughout the Islamic community. So he did not hesitate to rewrite these in his own language, Arabic.
Just as he was influenced by the Greek philosophers, so he was by his predecessors and contemporaries among the Muslim philosophers and scholars. Some of those he referred to distinctly in his writings, such as al-Kindi or al-Farabi, while with others he was content to mention their ideas only.
Maybe one of the most important characteristics of Miskawayh also, emphasizing his great admiration for the Greek philosophy which had reached him, is that he did not aim for a reconciliation between religion and philosophy, as other previous Muslim philosophers had done. Nor did he attempt to combine them, as was done by the Brethren of Purity for example; but the opinions he set forth remained Greek in nature, and usually attributed to their original exponents .
Miskawayh’s scientific output is not restricted precisely to the field of philosophy and ethics, but he made a distinguished contribution to history; he also busied himself with chemistry, and was concerned with literature and other subjects. This emphasizes the multiple facets of his culture, making him a mirror for his age; for he is distinguished by the many sources of his culture and the encyclopedic nature of his writings .
Miskawayh said himself in his book Tahdhib al-akhlaq, for example, that it is a book composed ‘for the lovers of philosophy in particular, and it is not for the general public’. Maybe this simply indicates how much he was influenced by the culture coming to the Islamic nation, and well known at his time. It may be, too, that it distanced him to some extent from the Islamic tendency, which did not recognize particularity in the field of learning, because the specialization of the élite in rational sciences was merely a Greek idea, as is well known.
The book Tahdhib al-akhlaq is considered the most famous book of Miskawayh; so this is the work of which we shall examine the contents quite carefully, so as to base on it our presentation of Miskawayh’s remarks on the education of young boys, only. For the work contains, in general, the majority of opinions which he introduced in this subject, although he did aim for a basis to acquaint the reader with the way to reach the supreme happiness. Maybe this tendency of his can be considered an effective translation, or a practical application, of the views he embraced, such as ‘seeing comes before action’ i.e. knowledge precedes action. For if the reader knows moral happiness, and is influenced by the contents of the book, all his actions will be fine, according to his interpretation. Hence it can be said that Miskawayh’s book prepares the way for anyone who examines its contents to reach supreme happiness. So it is not possible to separate the learner’s personality and character from the science he learns, and the aim and objective for which he is striving to learn it. Besides all this, the basic conditions for reaching happiness are psychological conditions and factors; this is because training the soul, cleansing it, teaching it, making it profit from general and particular experiences, are centred on the human’s will and his ability to raise his inclinations, so as to attain the degree of happiness appropriate for him.
The sixth maqala, entitled ‘Medicine for souls’, clarifies the importance for man to know his own defects. The seventh, entitled ‘Restoring health to the soul’, clarifies the method of treating the illnesses of souls. In this maqala, Miskawayh does not distinguish between evil and illness; and the psychological evils or illnesses he lists are: rashness, cowardice, pride, boasting, frivolity, haughtiness, scorn, treachery, accepting injustice, and fear. Miskawayh is concerned with talking about the fear of death, also grief. For he considers that it is not difficult for the rational man who desires to free his soul from its pains and save it from its dangers to examine the illnesses and treat them so as to be set free from them. This must be by success from God and by the man’s own personal striving; both are required, one completing the other
Q.4 Describe the educational philosophy of Essentialists.
Educational essentialism is an educational philosophy whose adherents believe that children should learn the traditional basic subjects thoroughly. In this philosophical school of thought, the aim is to instill students with the “essentials” of academic knowledge, enacting a back-to-basics approach.
Reading, Writing, Literature, Foreign Languages, History, Mathematics, Science, Art, and Music. Moreover, this traditional approach is meant to train the mind, promote reasoning, and ensure a common culture. Essentialism is an approach assuming that people and things have natural and essential common characteristics which are inherent, innate and unchanging. Thus, it is regarded as an educational philosophy. However, having the common essence and the same essentials at the same levels can lead to undesired practices in real life too. Even nouns and pronouns used in daily communication reflect some connotations of a philosophy as a system of beliefs about reality based on how we perceive ourselves and others in terms of our existence. How we address ourselves and others also represents our point of view related to the relationship and interaction between us and others. Essentialism as a philosophy has impact on our differentiation or unification ways while addressing. In this sense, the pronoun we represents a kind of unification while the pronoun you refers to a kind of discrimination or differentiation, which can be referred as a kind of taxonomy used in communication. This paper seeks to present how essentialism is used as the basis of our daily communication and its role in our discriminating and unifying efforts in social, cultural and scientific domains. Essentialism in education asserts that common and essential ideas and skills belonging to a certain culture should be taught to all citizens at the same level at especially primary school level. To do this, the teacher’s authority in the classroom is emphasised and the subject matter is the centre of the curriculum.
The essence or the centre of education is the core curriculum which is a combination of hard work and rigorous effort. The unification role of essentialism is represented in the core curriculum that aims to transfer the essential knowledge and skills needed for the equal and well-balanced citizens. The discrimination function of essentialism comes out in politics, natural sciences in the form of taxonomy. Essentialism is a relatively conservative stance to education that strives to teach students the knowledge of a society and civilization through a core curriculum. This core curriculum involves such areas that include the study of the surrounding environment, basic natural laws, and the disciplines that promote a happier, more educated living. Other non-traditional areas are also integrated as well in moderation to balance the education. Essentialists’ goals are to instill students with the “essentials” of academic knowledge, patriotism, and character development through traditional (or back-to-basic) approaches. This is to promote reasoning, train the mind, and ensure a common culture for all citizens.
Essentialism is the most typically enacted philosophy in American classrooms today. Traces of this can be found in the organized learning centered on teachers and textbooks, in addition to the regular assignments and evaluations.
The role of the teacher as the leader of the classroom is a very important tenet of Educational essentialism. The teacher is the center of the classroom, so they should be rigid and disciplinary. Establishing order in the classroom is crucial for student learning; effective teaching cannot take place in a loud and disorganized environment. It is the teacher’s responsibility to keep order in the classroom. The teacher must interpret essentials of the learning process, take the leadership position and set the tone of the classroom. These needs require an educator who is academically well-qualified with an appreciation for learning and development. The teacher must control the students with distributions of rewards and penalties. The Essentialist movement first began in the United States in the year 1938. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, a group met for the first time called “The Essentialist’s Committee for the Advancement of Education.” Their emphasis was to reform the educational system to a rationality-based system.
The term essentialist first appeared in the book An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education which was written by Michael John Demiashkevich. In his book, Demiashkevich labels some specific educators (including William C. Bagley) as “essentialists.” Demiashkevich compared the essentialists to the different viewpoints of the Progressive Education Association. He described how the Progressives preached a “hedonistic doctrine of change” whereas the essentialists stressed the moral responsibility of man for his actions and looked toward permanent principles of behavior (Demiashkevich likened the arguments to those between the Socratics and the Sophists in Greek philosophy). In 1938 Bagley and other educators met together where Bagley gave a speech detailing the main points of the essentialism movement and attacking the public education in the United States. One point that Bagley noted was that students in the U.S. were not getting an education on the same levels as students in Europe who were the same age.
A recent branch has emerged within the essentialist school of thought called “neoessentialism.” Emerging in the eighties as a response to the essentialist ideals of the thirties as well as to the criticism of the fifties and the advocates for education in the seventies, neoessentialism was created to try to appease the problems facing the United States at the time. The most notable change within this school of thought is that it called for the creation of a new discipline, computer science.
Q.5 How do, according to Montessori, environment and freedom of a child play a significant role in his education?
The “prepared environment” is Maria Montessori’s concept that the environment can be designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child. In the prepared environment, there is a variety of activity as well as a great deal of movement. A Montessori teacher serves as the preparer and communicator of the environment to the child and is responsible for maintaining the atmosphere and order of the prepared environment. A prepared environment gives every child the freedom to fully develop their unique potential through developmentally appropriate sensorial materials. The materials range from simple to complex and from concrete to abstract, catering toward every child’s age and ability.
Montessori classrooms are designed to offer lessons, activities, and tools that match the developmental needs and interests of each individual child. It is important to note that not every child will be interested in every available lesson. This is why children are allowed to choose the lessons they gravitate toward naturally.
Many parents may find themselves wondering what sets Montessori childcare apart from your average daycare center or preschool. For starters, as soon as you walk into your traditional childcare center, you will notice that is most likely lively, loud, and messy. On the other end of the spectrum, as soon as you walk into a Montessori classroom, you will notice that it is peaceful, quiet, and orderly. You may ask yourself, why are the two childcare systems so different from one another. The difference lies in something that Dr. Maria Montessori calls the prepared environment.
Freedom – One of the main goals of a Montessori prepared environment is freedom of choice. This is achieved through giving the child freedom to exploration, freedom of movement, freedom to interact socially, and freedom of interference from others.
We believe in giving our little ones enough independence to choose their daily activities. Meanwhile, we as mentors, will keep a close watch and correct them where ever needed. It improves the cognitive (the process of knowing, thinking, learning and judging) skill.
Structure and Order – The idea behind this principle is to reflect the structure and order of the universe, so that the child can internalize the order of his surroundings and is therefore able to begin making sense of the world around him.
Beauty – It is also important to make the environment inviting for learning. The atmosphere, therefore, should be prepared beautifully and simplistically, in such a way that evokes peace, tranquility and harmony. The learning environment should also be uncluttered and well-maintained.
Nature and Reality – Dr. Montessori believed that nature should be used to inspire children. That’s why Montessori teachers regularly take the children out into nature and use natural learning materials in the prepared environment. These materials include real wood, metal, bamboo, cotton, and glass, rather than synthetics or plastics. The materials should also be real and child-size, so the child is able to work with the materials on her own without frustration and without having to depend on adult for help with movement.
Social Environment – The prepared environment should support social development by encouraging freedom of interaction. Montessori classrooms foster the development of a sense of compassion and empathy for others, thus causing children to be more socially aware.
Intellectual Environment – Once all of the above principles are met, Montessori educators will be able to reach children through the intellectual environment, which develops the whole personality of the child, as well her intellect.
Our childcare facilities are purposefully designed with the child’s independence in mind. Classrooms at Silverline Montessori are filled with learning materials that enhance the senses of our children. We encourage freedom of choice while still maintaining structure and order. Our caring environment is well-prepared and dedicated to academic excellence while nurturing each child’s mind, body, and spirit for success throughout life.
The lessons and learning materials in the prepared environment are specially designed and set out on low, easily accessible shelves. In addition to child-height shelves, Montessori classrooms have child-sized furniture, fixtures, tools, and utensils. By keeping the environment child-sized and accessible, the Montessori classroom minimizes the child’s need for adult assistance and maximizes the self-regulated activity. True Montessori materials are presented to the child in the Four Avenues of Learning: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Mathematics.
Freedom within limits is an empowering concept. It embraces the notion of the child as an explorer who is capable of learning and doing for themselves. Montessori encourages freedom within limits through the design of the prepared environment. Especially relevant is the low open shelves, logically ordered activities, and child-friendly work spaces of the Montessori classroom. In effect, this encourages the child to move freely around the classroom, and choose their own work within limits of appropriate behaviour. These limits are the ground rules of the Montessori classroom.
There are three ground rules of the Montessori classroom. All other ground rules stem from these three.
1) Respect for oneself
2) Respect for others; and
3) Respect for the environment.
In the first place, respect for oneself refers to teaching children how to work safely and productively in the Montessori classroom. Children are free to choose their activities, provided that they have been shown a presentation of the activity, and know how to use the materials respectfully to avoid self-harm.
Furthermore, respect for others incorporates social skills and good behaviour. Children can choose to work independently or in small groups; however, they must be invited to work with another child, and must not interfere with another child’s work. All children must show respect for others within their classroom community.
Finally, respect for the environment relates to the proper care for everything within the Montessori classroom. This includes the proper use of the Montessori materials, packing away, and taking care of all things living and non-living within the environment.