The special characteristic of the equipment of these houses is that it is adapted for children and not adults. They contain not only didactic material specially fitted for the intellectual development of the child, but also a complete equipment for the management of the miniature family. The furniture is light so that the children can move it about, and it is painted in some light color so that the children can wash it with soap and water. There are low tables of various sizes and shapes--square, rectangular and round, large and small. The rectangular shape is the most common as two or more children can work at it together. The seats are small wooden chairs, but there are also small wicker armchairs and sofas.
[Illustration: FIG. 1.--CUPBOARD WITH APPARATUS.]
In the working-room there are two indispensable pieces of furniture. One of these is a very long cupboard
Project Gutenberg's Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook, by Maria Montessori
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Title: Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook
Author: Maria Montessori
Release Date: August 8, 2009 [EBook #29635]
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AUTHOR OF “THE MONTESSORI METHOD” AND
WITH FORTY-THREE ILLUSTRATIONS
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
Copyright, 1914, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company
All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages
TO MY DEAR FRIEND
DONNA MARIA MARAINI
DEVOTEDLY AND WITH SACRIFICE
HAS GENEROUSLY UPHELD
THIS WORK OF EDUCATION BROUGHT TO BIRTH IN
OUR BELOVED COUNTRY
TO THE CHILDREN OF HUMANITY
NOTE BY THE AUTHOR
As a result of the widespread interest that has been taken in my method of child education, certain books have been issued, which may appear to the general reader to be authoritative expositions of the Montessori system. I wish to state definitely that the present work, the English translation of which has been authorised and approved by me, is the only authentic manual of the Montessori method, and that the only other authentic or authorised works of mine in the English language are “The Montessori Method,” and “Pedagogical Anthropology.”
If a preface is a light which should serve to illumine the contents of a volume, I choose, not words, but human figures to illustrate this little book intended to enter families where children are growing up. I therefore recall here, as an eloquent symbol, Helen Keller and Mrs. Anne Sullivan Macy, who are, by their example, both teachers to myself––and, before the world, living documents of the miracle in education.
In fact, Helen Keller is a example of the phenomenon common to all human beings: the possibility of the liberation of the imprisoned spirit of man by the education of the senses. Here lies the basis of the method of education of which the book gives a succinct idea.
If one only of the senses sufficed to make of Helen Keller a woman of exceptional culture and a writer, who better than she proves the potency of that method of education which builds on the senses? If Helen Keller attained through exquisite natural gifts to an elevated conception viii of the world, who better than she proves that in the inmost self of man lies the spirit ready to reveal itself?
Helen, clasp to your heart these little children, since they, above all others, will understand you. They are your younger brothers: when, with bandaged eyes and in silence, they touch with their little hands, profound impressions rise in their consciousness, and they exclaim with a new form of happiness: “I see with my hands.” They alone, then, can fully understand the drama of the mysterious privilege your soul has known. When, in darkness and in silence, their spirit left free to expand, their intellectual energy redoubled, they become able to read and write without having learnt, almost as it were by intuition, they, only they, can understand in part the ecstasy which God granted you on the luminous path of learning.
|A “Children’s House”||9|
Didactic Material for the Education of the Senses
Didactic Material for the Preparation for Writing and Arithmetic
|Language and Knowledge of the World||69|
Exercises for the Management of the Instrument of Writing
Exercises for the Writing of Alphabetical Signs
|The Reading of Music||98|
|Dr. Maria Montessori||Frontispiece|
|1.||Cupboard with Apparatus||12|
|2.||The Montessori Pædometer||13|
|3.||Frames for Lacing and Buttoning||22|
|4.||Child Buttoning On Frame||23|
|5.||Cylinders Decreasing in Diameter only||30|
|6.||Cylinders Decreasing in Diameter and Height||30|
|7.||Cylinders Decreasing in Height only||30|
|8.||Child using Case of Cylinders||31|
|10.||Child Playing with Tower||31|
|11.||The Broad Stair||36|
|12.||The Long Stair||36|
|13.||Board with Rough and Smooth Surfaces||37|
|14.||Board with Gummed Strips of Paper||37|
|15.||Wood Tablets Differing in Weight||37|
|16.||Cabinet with Drawers to hold Geometrical Insets||44|
|17.||Set of Six Circles||44|
|18.||Set of Six Rectangles||45|
|19.||Set of Six Triangles||45|
|20.||Set of Six Polygons||46|
|21.||Set of Six Irregular Figures||46|
|22.||Set of Four Blanks and Two Irregular Figures||47|
|23.||Frame to hold Geometrical Insets||48|
|24.||Child Touching the Insets||49|
|25.||Series of Cards with Geometrical Forms||54|
|28.||Sloping Boards to Display Set of Metal Insets||90|
|29.||Single Sandpaper Letter||90|
|30.||Groups of Sandpaper Letters||91|
|31.||Box of Movable Letters||94|
|32.||The Musical Staff||98|
|33.||Didactic Material for Musical Reading||100|
|34.||Didactic Material for Musical Reading||100|
|35.||Didactic Material for Musical Reading||100|
|36.||Didactic Material for Musical Reading||101|
|37.||Didactic Material for Musical Reading||101|
|38.||Didactic Material for Musical Reading||101|
|40.||Diagram Illustrating Use of Numerical Rods||107|
DR. MONTESSORI’S OWN HANDBOOK
Recent years have seen a remarkable improvement in the conditions of child life. In all civilized countries, but especially in England, statistics show a decrease in infant mortality.
Related to this decrease in mortality a corresponding improvement is to be seen in the physical development of children; they are physically finer and more vigorous. It has been the diffusion, the popularization of science, which has brought about such notable advantages. Mothers have learned to welcome the dictates of modern hygiene and to put them into practice in bringing up their children. Many new social institutions have sprung up and have been perfected with the object of assisting children and protecting them during the period of physical growth.
In this way what is practically a new race is coming into being, a race more highly developed, finer and more robust; a race which will be capable of offering resistance to insidious disease.
What has science done to effect this? Science has suggested for us certain very simple rules by which the child has been restored as nearly as possible to conditions of a natural life, and an order and a guiding law have been given to the functions of the body. For example, it is science which suggested maternal feeding, the abolition of swaddling clothes, baths, life in the open air, exercise, simple short clothing, quiet and plenty of sleep. Rules were also laid down for the measurement of food adapting it rationally to the physiological needs of the child’s life.
Yet with all this, science made no contribution that was entirely new. Mothers had always nursed their children, children had always been clothed, they had breathed and eaten before.
The point is, that the same physical acts which, performed blindly and without order, led to disease and death, when ordered rationally were the means of giving strength and life.
The great progress made may perhaps deceive us into thinking that everything possible has been done for children.
We have only to weigh the matter carefully, 3 however, to reflect: Are our children only those healthy little bodies which to-day are growing and developing so vigorously under our eyes? Is their destiny fulfilled in the production of beautiful human bodies?
In that case there would be little difference between their lot and that of the animals which we raise that we may have good meat or beasts of burden.
Man’s destiny is evidently other than this, and the care due to the child covers a field wider than that which is considered by physical hygiene. The mother who has given her child his bath and sent him in his perambulator to the park has not fulfilled the mission of the “mother of humanity.” The hen which gathers her chickens together, and the cat which licks her kittens and lavishes on them such tender care, differ in no wise from the human mother in the services they render.
No, the human mother if reduced to such limits devotes herself in vain, feels that a higher aspiration has been stifled within her. She is yet the mother of man.
Children must grow not only in the body but in the spirit, and the mother longs to follow the 4 mysterious spiritual journey of the beloved one who to-morrow will be the intelligent, divine creation, man.
Science evidently has not finished its progress. On the contrary, it has scarcely