Montessori Fantasy & Reality III

The second type of play behavior is based on Montessori’s research and materials. It is called the organized game.
Here is what Dr. Mario M Montessori has to say about this type of play.

2. The Organized Game. When the child’s fantasy is interrupted by external resistance or reality refuses to be adapted, his attention is recalled, the situation becomes fundamentally changed, and the child’s attitude toward the exterior world changes accordingly.

Dr. Mario Montessori goes on to explain that while a child is in fantasy play he or she can be distracted by reality. Such as a child playing cowboy outdoors can be distracted by birds singing or a fire engine going by.

Thus, if the child encounters a specific interference or obstruction which requires intelligent attention, if he discovers something new and intersting, either in the external world or in himself, he forgets his world of fantasy and directs his curiosity toward the real situation.
When the child is attracted by specific, concrete qualities of some material with which he wishes to “play,” either on the basis of its specific use or because it is part of a collective activity in which he wants to participate, he must sumit to the disciplinary “rules of the game,” and as a result he is working unconsciously at the inner construction of his personality. In this sense we are discussing “autorealization” rather than “autoexpression.” The child must develop within himself the kind of behavior he will need in order to move independently and logically in his world; this, of course will develop in realtion to his innate nature, his intellectual and physical capacity, and according to his own rhythm.

So the child starts to move from the internal to external in his expressions to a more concrete understanding of his world. The impressions of his life are beginning to be categorized into intellectual building blocks. This occurs within the realm of reality.
Montessori used her materials in a mathematical way to help a child put together all his or her sensorial impressions within a concrete realtiy.

The initiative to adhere to real things now comes from the child himself as he explores and experiments with reality. Real things in the environment have their own meanings, their own characteristics, value, and possiblilties of application. The world shows a definite sturcture in which there are different principles of order and well as different, distrint forms with their specific laws and mutual relationships.

A child starts to define his world. The stick that was a horse is now a piece of wood, and wood comes from trees, birds live in trees, and so on. The world has it own rules-day and night, less and more, big and little. heavy and light, sweet and sour, and so on. Math and science come to the forefront.

Differnt situations in life require different forms of behavior and social relations. In order to belong to a grouop, one must accept the rules and the customs which govern that group. When the child voluntarily directs his attention to his environment, he no longer tries to externalize his own feelingss or imagination but instead tries to learn and know about things as they really are. He now has the impulse and need to beome one with his world.

To no longer think the world revolves around you, and wanting to be a part of the world brings to mind how many people believe during the process of normalization children become obedient. It’s an obedience that is internal, and not egocentric.
Caring and love are a part of this obedience. With this intellectual change there is a social change. Some would even say
that a child is begining to understand morals, what is good and bad, and right and wrong.

Montessori calls this aspect of the child’s behavior “work,” and we will designagte this with term organized play. The direction of events in organized play is now reversed: it is addressed inwardly by the child. While in the free grame the chld’s creativity is manifested in conscious representation which can be verbalized or expressed by actions or with concrete and visible results, the creativity in organized play is unconscious, proceeding in an abstract and invisible manner.

Montessori first developed concrete materials for preschool children to use with rules and methods. During this time a child becomes normalized and develops an internal knowledge of rules of behavior, laws of nature, math, and so on. She felt that this transition from fantasy to concrete learning was essential for later abstract learning.

Under these circumstances, in organized play the adult can help. Along with guidance, understanding, and love, during this period of his development the child needs to be given those “organized toys” which we call materials.
The Montessori material is designed to provide the child with a key for his future discoveries of his world. This, however, is possible only when the material is presented correctly and when the child has reached the right stage of development to recieve it.

Maria Montessori was concerned about concrete learning for a preschool child. For example, if a child doesn’t understand the concepts of large and small, larger or smaller, it is difficult for them to understand math. Fantasy play does not involve this type of concrete thinking. Concrete learning is based on reality, whereas fantasy play belongs to the universe of the child.
Because Maira Montessori first worked in mental institutions, she may have been concerned about children not wanting to leave the world of fantasy and shunning the world of reality. It seems like her grandson, Dr. Mario M. Montessori, understood that fantasy play is a part of a child’s development that eventually passes into reality.

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