Finally there is the period of complete development in which the capacity to perform some operation is permanently acquired. There are, therefore, three periods: a first, subconscious one, when in the confused mind of the child, order produces itself by a mysterious inner impulse from out the midst of disorder, producing as an external result a completed act, which, however, being outside the field of consciousness, cannot be reproduced at will; a second, conscious period, when there is some action on the part of the will which is present during the process of the development and establishing of the acts; and a third period when the will can direct and cause the acts, thus answering the command from someone else.
When I used to take an exam in college, I found multiple choice tests much easier than essay-writing exams. Multiple choice is like the second period lesson where you point out the correct answer, whereas the essay requires the abstract knowledge of the third period lesson. The first period was always the college lecture-“a mysterious inner impluse from the midst of disorder”!
The main trait of a normalized child is obedience. It is a type of obedience that is calm and loving. It is not the blind obedience of the world, but a spiritual obedience that knows good from evil. Montessori states in the Montessori Method–
It is therefore entirely natural that, loving the child, we should point out to him that obedience is the law of life, and there is nothing surprising in the anxiety felt by nearly everyone who is confronted with the characteristic disobedience of little children. But obedience can only be reached through a complex formation of the psychic personality. To obey, it is necessary not only to wish to obey, but also to know how to.
It is intersting that Montessori believed that we have an inner source that helps us to know right from wrong, and we know how to obey a higher power. This knowledge existed in children that enabled them to learn to obey.
To prepare, in detail, this formation by means of detached exercises is therefore indirectly, to urge the child towards obedience. The method which is the subject of this book contains in every part an exercise for the will-power, when the child completes co-ordinated actions directed towards a given end, when he achieves something he set out to do, when he repeats patiently his exercises, he is training his positive will-power. Similarly, in a very complicated series of exercises he is establishing through activity his powers of inhibition; for instance in the “lesson of silence,” which calls for a long con- [Page 365] tinued inhibition of many actions, while the child is waiting to be called and later for a rigorous self-control when he is called and would like to answer joyously and run to his teacher, but instead is perfectly silent, moves very carefully, taking the greatest pains not to knock against chair or table or to make a noise.
Montessori’s sense of obedience includes self-control of oneself, which is a process a child has to learn in his/her own way. It is a part of a child’s intellectual and emotional development.
Montessorimom has great printables (free) of landform and water cards. Also, check out the definition cards for landforms and water.
Place the picture on top, such as an isthmus with the label “isthums” below the picture. Below the card and label, place the definition card (An isthmus is a narrow neck or strip of land where two larger sections of land are connected.)
Here are a few more of the first definitions we introduced-
A strait is a narrow strip of water connecting two large bodies of water.
A peninsula is a long, narrow neck of land extending into the water.
A gulf is a long, narrow inlet of water that extends into the land.
An island is a small piece of land surrounded completly by water.
A lake is a body of water surrounded by land. (Sometimes a child will immediately tell you that it is the opposite definition of an island!)
Take out the three different cards and place in proper order, one at a time. Read the definition to your child. If they can read it, great! Continue with the other landforms and water definitions.
Let your child do the exercise. Here are some more ideas for Montessori culture & geography.
Montessori education brings back to mind my own schooling in a one room, country school on the plains of Dakota. We had one teacher, less than 20 students ranging from first grade through eigth grade. There was a much greater age span than in a normal Montessori classroom. It was an amazing experience. We each had our own individual program. I was the only first grade student. I was a very restless, dreamy child with little academic interest. I am sure I would have been diagnosed with ADHD. I had a difficult time following directions and was easily bored. Mrs. Pearson, who had the wisdom of Solomon, let me go outside and “play”. She gave me a large area to roam and explore. The insects, birds, wind, and flowers gave me an opportunity to study and observe at my own pace, in my own way. After my outside experience, I was able to go inside and do my school work with renewed vigor and concentration. I had a very Montessori experience playing in the fields that I still vividly remember today.