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                PRINCIPLES OF EDUCATION FOR COMPLETE PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT

                        (based on Montessori's principles of education for 'normalisation')

 

1. Education must help the individual in the process of personality development in accordance with the principles of human nature defined in terms of human motives for behaviour or 'human needs' for self-preservation - the basic psychological needs for self-esteem (the 'ego needs') and the higher psychological needs for growth and actualisation of human potential or 'self-actualisation' (the growth needs or 'metaneeds') and in an appropriate manner which is in accordance with the individual's stage of development (socio-cognitive stage) so that later they can live as independent and balanced human beings who can contribute to the functioning of civilised communities.  The aim of education should always be the formation of complete human beings ... development of the total personality as a product of the interrelatedness of its many different aspects - physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, social, moral, political, spiritual ... 

2. Optimal relationships between children and adults and an optimal environment stimulate and give positive support to this spontaneous inner development. When it occurs, a change takes place in the child called 'normalization'.

3. Children want to become adults and, prompted by their inner needs, strive to achieve this goal independently. Education must assist them in this task of inner development. In order to offer them adequate help, it is necessary to understand their psychic activity from the point of view of this final aim.

4. Many activities of small children appear meaningless. However, the concentration with which they devote themselves to these activities makes it evident that they are important to them. When children are engaged in such activities, the teacher must withdraw and allow them to proceed without interruption. Only then can the child grasp the meaning of a single phenomenon in its correct context. Therefore it is important to respect the self-directed activity of the child. Any attempts to penetrate into the secret of childhood are made through its spontaneous manifestations. Teachers are trained to observe the child and to report on their observations. The behavior of the child is studied in the meaningful context of the whole personality acting in the pedagogical situation.  

5. The school, must be a cultural environment, so that children have the opportunity to become familiar with the basic aspects of their own culture. During the first years of life, the child's absorbent mind enables it to incorporate the fundamental patterns of culture it has come in contact with through association with adults. It then proceeds to give them form and content in a personal way. Schools must offer children this possibility for a cultural environment and enlarge their cultural horizon in such a way that not only intellectual, but also spiritual development occurs. The spiritual core of man is already present in children. It directs their psychic development from within by means of special sensitivities and needs that, if given the opportunity, spur the conscious ego of the child to specific activities.

 6. Educational material is constructed to appeal to these inner needs. In addition, it offers children the opportunity to work independently and to have their own experiences with it. Since handling it demands the coordination of different functions, the entire personality is involved.

7. The educational material takes into account the inner needs of the child in the course of its development. It has emotional appeal and an inviting character. It arouses interest and stimulates activity and concentration. The motto of Montessori education, in the words of a child, is "help me to do it myself." The motto represents the acknowledgement of the child as a being with its own needs and aims - striving for its own self-realization.

8. A prepared environment requires an outward adjustment to others in the group and thus encourages social development and proper social education. The child's need for belongingness in the community requires a balance between freedom for the individual and the needs of the group. The child learns to consider his own needs within the context of the needs of the community.

 9. The Montessori educational methods acknowledge the personality of the child as a psychosomatic entity in the learning process. Learning is a dynamic process involving the engagement of the personality as a whole.

10. Montessori education emphasizes the importance of responsible freedom and thus fosters the development of independence and maturity in cooperative social environments.

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  Montessori principles

reference: Mario Montessori. Education for Human Development: Understanding Montessori Ed. Paula Polk Lillard 1976. New York NY: Schocken Books, 1967, 1976. 41-43.

1. Education must help the child in its development of personality in accordance with its nature and possibilities, and at its own rate, so that later it can fufill its task as an independent balanced human being in the adult community. The aim, therefore, is always the formation of the total personality, not independent functions or processes.

2. Optimal relationships between children and adults and an optimal environment stimulate and give positive support to this spontaneous inner development. When it occurs, a change takes place in the child called 'normalization'.

3. Children want to become adults and, prompted by their inner needs, strive to achieve this goal independently. Education must assist them in this task of inner development. In order to offer them adequate help, it is necessary to understand their psychic activity from the point of view of this final aim.

4. Many activities of small children appear meaningless. However, the concentration with which they devote themselves to these activities makes it evident that they are important to them. When children are engaged in such activities, the teacher must withdraw and allow them to proceed without interruption. Only then can the child grasp the meaning of a single phenomenon in its correct context. Therefore it is important to respect the self-directed activity of the child. Any attempts to penetrate into the secret of childhood are made through its spontaneous manifestations. Teachers are trained to observe the child and to report on their observations. The behavior of the child is studied in the meaningful context of the whole personality acting in the pedagogical situation.  

5. The school, must be a cultural environment, so that children have the opportunity to become familiar with the basic aspects of their own culture. During the first years of life, the child's absorbent mind enables it to incorporate the fundamental patterns of culture it has come in contact with through association with adults. It then proceeds to give them form and content in a personal way. Schools must offer children this possibility for a cultural environment and enlarge their cultural horizon in such a way that not only intellectual, but also spiritual development occurs. The spiritual core of man is already present in children. It directs their psychic development from within by means of special sensitivities and needs that, if given the opportunity, spur the conscious ego of the child to specific activities.

 6. Educational material is constructed to appeal to these inner needs. In addition, it offers children the opportunity to work independently and to have their own experiences with it. Since handling it demands the coordination of different functions, the entire personality is involved.

7. The educational material takes into account the inner needs of the child in the course of its development. It has emotional appeal and an inviting character. It arouses interest and stimulates activity and concentration. The motto of Montessori education, in the words of a child, is "help me to do it myself." The motto represents the acknowledgement of the child as a being with its own needs and aims - striving for its own self-realization.

8. A prepared environment requires an outward adjustment to others in the group and thus encourages social development and proper social education. The child's need for belongingness in the community requires a balance between freedom for the individual and the needs of the group. The child learns to consider his own needs within the context of the needs of the community.

 9. The Montessori educational methods acknowledge the personality of the child as a psychosomatic entity in the learning process. Learning is a dynamic process involving the engagement of the personality as a whole.

10. Montessori education emphasizes the importance of responsible freedom and thus fosters the development of independence and maturity in cooperative social environments.