The absorbent mind of children
The mind of a child has a wonderful and unique ability: the ability to acquire knowledge by absorbing it with their psychological life. They learn everything subconsciously, gradually going from unconsciousness to consciousness, progressing along a road of happiness. We can compare them with a sponge, except that a sponge has a limited capacity for absorption, whereas the mind of the child is infinite. Knowledge enters their head simply by living.
We thus learn that the first period of human development is the most important. It is the stage of life in which there is most need for assistance, which is given, not because they are considered to be insignificant and weak beings, but rather because they have great creative energies, of a nature that is so fragile that they require, so as they are not decreased and harmed, loving and intelligent protection.
This refers to an environment that has been carefully organised for the child, designed to promote their self-learning and growth. In it, social, emotional and intellectual aspects are developed and they respond to the needs of order and security. The characteristics of this prepared environment allow children to develop without constant assistance and intervention of an adult.
The design of these environments is based on principles of simplicity, beauty and order. They are bright warm areas that include language, plants, art, music and books.
The room is organised into work areas, equipped with tables adapted to the size of children and open areas for working on the floor. Shelves with materials belonging to this area of development surround each of these sectors. Materials are organised systematically and in order of difficulty.
Sensitive periods are periods in which children can acquire a skill very easily. These are special sensitivities that allow children to relate to the outside world in an exceptionally intense manner. They are temporary and limited to acquisition of a certain nature.
The adult role
The role of the adult in Montessori philosophy is to guide children and share the environment with them in a respectful and affectionate manner. Being a conscious observer and continuously learning, fostering their personal development.
The authentic vocational educator is at the service of the child, so must cultivate humility to walk hand-in-hand with children, learn from them and build a community together.