True Montessori

Module 1: Montessori Philosophy

Spiritual Embryo

Spiritual Embryo

Dr. Maria Montessori defines psychology as a human being in his own rights. Child himself is the constructor of his own individual psychical or spiritual life. He is not only a constructor but as an active builder of himself with his own individual efforts which he makes from birth. This construction has to be aided or helped from birth. He has freedom to construct himself. This is autonomous nature of child. She used observation as a tool to define psychology. She observed the child in revealing environment, which was specially made. Here in this environment child finds protection, provision and stimulation and assistance needed to lead his life according to his true nature. Child was aided or helped and was set free. Dr. Maria Montessori not only observed, but also manipulated the environment, evaluated the environment also. She was able to distinguish healthy manifestation as well as the suffering of the child. She did not fall in the trap of just observing common thing around her.  

Dr. Maria Montessori observed the child methodically, scientifically, without any of her own thoughts, deliberately, objectively and suspending her own thoughts, personal likes without any preconceived ideas of children. She also observed with sympathy and with empathy. All she did with true love. Her observation was continuous and followed the child continuously. She started observing 3 to 6 years age group and then continued all age group. She had followed the child in course of his full development from birth to 24 years of age. Her observation was not as just as a child but as a human being, whole individual. She looked physically and psychically in a complete manner. She also observed and studied economic, social, racial, religious condition of the child in all strata of society. 

She continued her observation almost 22 years of life and based on her observations, she reached certain tentative conclusions. She rightly said that we fail to understand the child. We really don’t know the child. After all these observations, she wanted to know real nature of child. She therefore started investigating the conditions of why the child is not revealing the true nature of himself. She did lot of scientific work on how to refine the conditions so that child reveal his true nature. 

“And thus, the new-born child is not only a body ready to function as a body, but  a spiritual embryo with latent psychic capacities. It would be absurd to think that man alone, characterised and distinct from all other creatures by the grandeur of his mental life, should be the only one with no pattern of psychic development.” – The Secret of Childhood, Page 16 

Dr. Maria Montessori says that it is the study of man in the course of fundamental development as “constructor” of his own individual psychical life from birth and  also as an active builder and the process of construction and development. The child is helped and set free and then he achieves development. She recognizes the human being in the child. She recognizes that the child is a worker who actively works in his own construction. He is not inert; he is not passive and waiting to be filled by us. He actively works for his self-development. Not only he works for human psychical development, but he also works for individual psychical development. So, we have to therefore know each individual child. 

Knowing that he is working at his self-formation and understanding development from within not outside, guided by his own natural urges then she recognized this whole idea. She continued her observation in scientifically controlled conditions and again repeatedly observed the child in time and space and she was able to write about this child. She used her work to improve and develop perfect condition and create quality environment to help child and give proper assistance. 

Dr. Maria Montessori said education and psychology cannot be separated. When we assist the child to reveal his nature, we get to know him and help him better. When we understand and realize the interdependence of education and psychology, we serve or assist the child better so that he reveals himself better. Dr. Maria Montessori says that she studied normal human psychical health. She continued her study on child who was healthy socially, mentally, psychologically and realize that true nature of him is hidden from us. She said child shows two natures, first one normal and second one is true nature which is hidden. We have to notice the absence of psychical health and understand and help him to recover his psychical life. We will be able to help him regain, retain and develop which she called NORMALITY. 

We face many difficulties in getting to know the psychical health of the child. We  find it very difficult to accept that child has psychical life from birth because we  don’t have knowledge. We need to understand that after ten days of his birth he  has very good psychical nature. We fail to see that this child manifests his  psychical life because baby doesn’t have the means to show it. If we observe the  child, we will realize that he is a great worker. The third difficulty is that once the means are also built such as language, movement, etc., we still do not recognize these manifestations as being part of his psychical life, we don’t accept that also. We fail to recognize it as psychical life, because we do not know how to interpret it. Fourth difficulty is that the purpose of these efforts that he puts are hidden from us, similar to cocoon, as in butterfly. 

We don’t know what is happening inside as everything is hidden. When we observe then we realize something had happened. She recognizes child brain is far superior that man. We do not have that broad vision of recognition and it is not happening by any regular logic of us. Para human logic helps the child to do so. Fifth difficulty face by us is that we don’t see any child what we say a normal child having true nature because the true nature is hidden unless we look for since birth, every child has suffered from psychical nutrition. The child is deprived from psychical nutrition because hardly any child gets correct environment right from birth where he should be aided and set free. 

Children often intentionally or not they are hurt by us from birth. Their sensitivities have been hurt. The delicacy of psychical life can be compared with the delicacy of the germinal cell or the first cell that appears at conception. There is lot of suffering as a result the child’s reaction are always on the defense. Consequences of these things, child suffers and waste his all-precious energy in self-defense. So therefore, we say hardly there is a child who can reveal in all purity the normal psychical life. These difficulties are the ignorance of the adult regarding the child. All are prejudices and are deep rooted in our subconscious mind. We must observe and know every child and understand that every child is different. To educate the child, we have to know the child.  

We seek help to overcome these difficulties and prejudices. Let’s understand the help needed to overcome these difficulties. The first urgent help we need is to be aware these prejudices and have natural love for the child or we will get the answers within ourselves. Second help we need is human self-formation is to accept the laws of these self-formation which are given to us by nature, they are autonomous and unchangeable. Third help is that we must have complete faith in the laws that governs the child. Fourth help needed is that emotionally and intellectually understand the totality of this being and have full faith in this child that he will construct himself. Fifth help we need is to understand the process of his creative construction for himself. Sixth help needed is to know which factor have to play the role in his development. Seventh help is to have knowledge of  the agents or their role. Finally, when we take all these helps and observes carefully then we are able to reveal the real or the true nature of the child. 

Dr. Maria Montessori says where we would find the glimpse of the role we have to play; she says that it is the period of prenatal period, or it is in the womb. If one studies prenatal, we will be able to understand role of environment and our role towards the child development. We have to know the life from conception. The period of prenatal development is the most creative constructive phase because physical basis of human being comes into existence, after birthing this development is psychophysical. Before birth it is very concrete and very easy to follow step by step, to cope up with the natural environment to suit the needs. This will eventually make us understand the role of environment after birth, which of course will never be perfect as it was before. But in prenatal we will find ideal conditions according to the laws and plan of nature. 

This is human development in its purest form which gives perfect results. After birth we never  say perfect human being either physically, emotionally. Prenatal study makes us understand that it is very perfect, and we realize who is the main actor and  what directs process and what manner. We will also know the factors that influences and the agents that play the role and how they play the role. After birth we can help them by giving them perfect environment. We can only work  in periphery; we cannot touch inner cord which is hidden. 

Comparison of Physical and Psycho Embryo: 

Through these studies we have learnt various lessons.  

The first lesson learnt is that it enables us to form an orientation regards to creative development. Second lesson we learn that one cell which is storehouse has all potentials. Third lesson learnt is that the process is autonomous, self regulated driven by unvarying law and following proper plan. Fourth lesson is all fundamental is a logic of parahuman, significance steps can be understood in future. His will, intelligent, movement, gathering of raw material is done before birth. After birth language and movement develops. This construction is guided by special sensitivities. Seventh lesson is all about the role of environment. It must provide protection, provision, stimulation, it should give whatever is necessary and sufficient at that time otherwise development will suffer. Heredity will develop. 

Environment will never cause development but without  environment there cannot be development. Environment will leave undeletable mark. Eight lessons learnt is that this creative development is the result of the active efforts of the being itself, because he works at his own acknowledge, own efforts. The creator helps him to mold himself. Child has special creative conscious power to form himself. Before birth it is physical and after birth it is psychical, we must have complete faith on this faith and our role is strictly limited and we can assist only in assistancial approach. Therefore, we must realize what  this role is as a parent and as an adult.  

“The feeling we should have towards the new-born baby is not the compassion  that we have for the sick or weak, but reverence before the mystery of creation, the secret of an infinite taking bounded form.” – Secrets of Childhood, Page 24 

Let’s understand what birth meant to child. Birth is a momentous, unique transition from an environment which is absolutely, totally radically different. Also, birth is a narrow crushing passage because when the child is pushing all the systems such as circulatory or nervous system has to function on its own from  one environment to another environment. This happens from very natural stable environment to unstable environment which is an ocean of sensorial stimuli all at once and not even as perfect as that was created by nature. Child was exposed to everything that was dependable to every need. But interestingly nature has provided the strength to bear this shock. Child himself assumes responsibilities of his physical life and becomes independent. We have to realize that how sensitive this child is at birth and handle him with extreme delicacy, no need to wash and cloth immediately. Conditions must be prepared specially for the first ten days. So, the child enjoys the conditions, they are as alike as those  he enjoys for birth. He can learn from rigid society. No change of level, be gentle, no unnecessary clothing, breast feeding is must. Visitors should not come for at least first ten days. The physical incompleteness is that the cranium is open, human experiences are created in a man-made environment to stimulate the  brain cell. The bones of the lower limbs are soft, motor nerves are not myelinated. Each of these incompleteness is very significant.  

The task of the child is building psychical personality. He builds his final behavior pattern as an individual and as a member of society. He has to get his stand for individuality. 

Roles of Adults: 

The adult working with children in Montessori environment has a role to play for their psychical development. 

1. To prepare and maintain the environment with all materials. Adults must understand the purpose of each activity even in the environment. Keep it clean ready for each activity so the child when enters sees it perfectly. Nothing should be dirty or broken or chipped that must be removed. 

2. Link between child and material, presentation should be given and show them how to use these materials, they may get this from other children. 

3. Observe each child

We need to observe how does the child use the environment. From that observation we will discover the necessary changes to be made in the  environment and support needed by child. 

4. Obstacle – We need to remove all obstacles in the environment. It could be any kind of obstruction. No one should disturb the child who is concentrating it will be a disturbance.  

If physical or home environment is not prepared well then spiritual embryo will not develop properly. We have to provide rich experience and rich environment. Tendencies are operating aiding his adaptation. We have to help at right time. He must understand his environment and know how to behave. He is constructing his personalities himself. Child has to gain typical human behavior patterns which are in tune with the conditions that reveals in his time and in his phase. Only then typical human behaviors are characterized. Dr. Maria Montessori says human embryonic development is not complete at birth, it has to be built up physically and psychically with all personal conscious power, the will, the memory, intelligence, culturally, capacity to walk, speak.

Make sure to visit us and subscribe to us on YouTube.

Physical Embryo

Psycho Embryo
Montessori Philosophy

Enrollment Form!

    Enrollment Form!