True Montessori

Module 2: Child Development

Development of Independence

development of independence

The child from 3 to 6 years of age has a mind that has other powers than ours, the creation he achieves is no small one; it is everything. He creates his language, frames the words. The neurons in the brain start to form myelin around themselves as the child builds a connection with the environment around him with the help of different sensory impressions. This is the start of development of independence.

His mind is very different from an adult’s mind. He has a great curiosity in things around him, he has a love for everything that allows him to understand the world around him. Now he starts to understand human relationships, feeling very attracted to the human voice since it is the period of acquisition of language.  

His nervous system matures and he learns through senses and movement. At this point, we call the child the sensorial explorer. At the age of three, his ego starts to develop and he understands that he is different from things around him. He enjoys interacting with people and socializing, being away from the security of his family.  

When the child is born he is not able to speak, moves very little. But when he reaches the age of 5 he can do all the things he could not do a few years before. This happens because the child’s mind is different from the adult´s mind. It is called the Absorbent Mind. 

The nature of the child is to first gain directly functional development of independence (physical independence). The natural development of the child takes place with successive levels of independence. Each step that he takes to become independent, from birth to growing his milk teeth to weening to walking. Taking all these steps towards greater development of independence. The child is constantly urged from within to  become physically and mentally independent.  

All human beings need to achieve more and more independence over  increasing levels. From birth the child moves step by step to get  greater independence. Once he has a basic orientation and motor control, he is urged from within to become independent with regards to the daily activities done around him. Independence can only be gained through personal work.  

He will build his capacities physically and psychologically (just with freedom). If we do not allow the child to do these activities, we offer help, we are giving the child unnecessary help and blocking his natural urge to work at his own development. 

By two and a half years, he is quite independent and he can function on his own. These exercise of practical life, helps the child to be further independent in the following three years. These developmental activities help to build himself and to develop the means of his experiences.

With these activities he is gaining more and more experience, becoming more confident and wanting to do everything by himself. He keeps repeating these activities and performs them with quite a  certain amount of perfection without the help of an adult.  

The child becomes independent, he gains more confidence, he can choose by himself and plan his work independently from the adult’s guidance. As he repeats movement, his interest grows and he gets involved in the activity and reaches control thus perfection and he becomes independent regarding that activity.  

From independence in basic activities, comes the development of a strong sense of independence which brings with it joy and greater eagerness to greater difficulties in more complex activities. The child’s first instinct is to carry out actions by himself without help and he shows it very clearly when someone tries to do the actions for him. To succeed by himself, he intensifies his efforts. 

He enjoys his independence, makes his efforts through his own personal and maximum work. Dr. Maria Montessori used to say, these exercise for him are “Stars in the dark firmament” because they satisfy his natural inner urges and he expresses himself with these exercises through his work and effort. His work is constructive, creative and it is for his development. 

The sensitive period for coordination of movement drives him towards these exercises and the sensitive period for order helps him immensely to gain independence with his movements. This deep seated need of his gets satisfied when he works with these exercises. Acquisition for first three years and then consolidation.  

Three to six years, he is getting the time to do the consolidation of all that has occurred before the cry of the child “help me, to help myself”. Do not do it for me but just guide and show me. So, the child then eventually uses his judgement, learns to think for himself, makes his own choices, solves his problems and becomes mentally capable of thinking and acting for himself. At different stages of development, the child becomes more and more independent through all the stages. The first, second, third, fourth sages lead the child to be a viable human adult.

“The child realises that through his own efforts he can be independent and achieve things he has set his mind to. And gradually we educators are confronted with a simple but important fact: that to help the child is not what he needs, and indeed that to give help is  an impediment for the child. Therefore he must be allowed to act  freely on his own initiative in this free environment.” – Maria Montessori, from the Citizen of the World, Page 34.

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Development of Independence

Independence Development

Montessori Child
True Montessori

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