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THE
MONTESSORI METHOD

BY MARIA MONTESSORI


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DR. MONTESSORI GIVING A LESSON IN TOUCHING GEOMETRICAL INSETS


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THE

MONTESSORI METHOD

SCIENTIFIC PEDAGOGY AS APPLIED TO CHILD
EDUCATION IN "THE CHILDREN'S HOUSES"
WITH ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS
BY THE AUTHOR

BY

MARIA MONTESSORI

TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN BY

ANNE E. GEORGE

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

PROFESSOR HENRY W. HOLMES

OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY

WITH THIRTY-TWO ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS

SECOND EDITION

NEW YORK
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
MCMXII


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Copyright, 1912, by
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian FASC April, 1912


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I place at the beginning of this volume, now appearing in the United States, her fatherland, the dear name of

ALICE HALLGARTEN

of New York, who by her marriage to Baron Leopold Franchetti became by choice our compatriot.

Ever a firm believer in the principles underlying the Case dei Bambini, she, with her husband, forwarded the publication of this book in Italy, and, throughout the last years of her short life, greatly desired the English translation which should introduce to the land of her birth the work so near her heart.

To her memory I dedicate this book, whose pages, like an ever-living flower, perpetuate the recollection of her beneficence.


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[Page v]

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Grateful acknowledgement is made to Mrs. Guy Barring, of London, for the loan of her manuscript translation of "Pedagogia Scientifica"; to Mrs. John R. Fisher (Dorothy Canfield) for translating a large part of the new work written by Dr. Montessori for the American Edition; and to The House of Childhood, Inc., New York, for use of the illustrations of the didactic apparatus. Dr. Montessori's patent rights in the apparatus are controlled, for the United States and Canada, by The House of Childhood, Inc.

THE PUBLISHERS.


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PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION

IN February, 1911, Professor Henry W. Holmes, of the Division of Education at Harvard University, did me the honour to suggest that an English translation be made of my Italian volume, "Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica applicato all' educazione infantile nelle Case dei Bambini." This suggestion represented one of the greatest events in the history of my educational work. To-day, that to which I then looked forward as an unusual privilege has become an accomplished fact.

The Italian edition of "Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica" had no preface, because the book itself I consider nothing more than the preface to a more comprehensive work, the aim and extent of which it only indicates. For the educational method for children from three to six years set forth here is but the earnest of a work that, developing the same principle and method, shall cover in a like manner the successive stages of education. Moreover, the method which obtains in the Casa dei Bambini offers, it seems to me, an experimental field for the study of man, and promises, perhaps, the development of a science that shall disclose other secrets of nature.

In the period that has elapsed between the publication of the Italian and American editions, I have had, with my pupils, the opportunity to simplify and render more exact certain practical details of the method, and to gather additional observations concerning discipline. The results attest the vitality of the method, and the necessity for an [Page viii] extended scientific collaboration in the near future, and are embodied in two new chapters written for the American edition. I know that my method has been widely spoken of in America, thanks to Mr. S. S. McClure, who has presented it through the pages of his well-known magazine. Indeed, many Americans have already come to Rome for the purpose of observing personally the practical application of the method in my little schools. If, encouraged by this movement, I may express a hope for the future, it is that my work in Rome shall become the centre of an efficient and helpful collaboration.

To the Harvard professors who have made my work known in America and to McClure's Magazine, a mere acknowledgement of what I owe them is a barren response; but it is my hope that the method itself, in its effect upon the children of America, may prove an adequate expression of my gratitude.

MARIA MONTESSORI

ROME, 1912.


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CONTENTS

PAGE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS V
PREFACE VII
INTRODUCTION XVII

CHAPTER I

A CRITICAL CONSIDERATION OF THE NEW PEDAGOGY IN ITS RELATION TO MODERN SCIENCE
Influence of Modern Science upon Pedagogy 1
Italy's part in the development of Scientific Pedagogy 4
Difference between scientific technique and the scientific spirit 7
Direction of the preparation should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism 9
The master to study man in the awakening of his intellectual life 12
Attitude of the teacher in the light of another example 13
The school must permit the free natural manifestations of the child if in the school Scientific Pedagogy is to be born 15
Stationary desks and chairs proof that the principle of slavery still informs the school 16
Conquest of liberty, what the school needs 19
What may happen to the spirit 20
Prizes and punishments, the bench of the soul 21
All human victories, all human progress, stand upon the inner force 24

CHAPTER II

HISTORY OF METHODS
Necessity of establishing the method peculiar to Scientific Pedagogy 28
Origin of educational system in use in the "Children's Houses" 31
Practical application of the methods of Itard and Séguin in the Orthophrenic School at Rome 32
Origin of the methods for the education of deficients 33
Application of the methods in Germany and France 35
Séguin's first didactic material was spiritual 37
Methods for deficients applied to the education of normal children 42
Social and pedagogical importance of the "Children's Houses" 44

CHAPTER III

INAUGURAL ADDRESS DELIVERED ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF ONE OF THE "CHILDREN'S HOUSES"
The Quarter of San Lorenzo before and since the establishment of the "Children's Houses" 48
Evil of subletting the most cruel form of usury 60
The problem of life more profound than that of the Intellectual elevation of the poor 52
Isolation of the masses of the poor, unknown to past centuries 53
Work of the Roman Association of Good Building and the moral importance of their reforms 56
The "Children's House" earned by the parents through their care of the building 60
Pedagogical organization of the "Children's House" 62
The "Children's House" the first step toward the socialization of the house 65
The communised house in its relation to the home and to the spiritual evolution of women 66
Rules and regulations of the "Children's Houses" 70

CHAPTER IV

PEDAGOGICAL METHODS USED IN THE "CHILDREN'S HOUSES"
Child psychology can be established only through the method of external observation 72
Anthropological consideration 73
Anthropological notes 77
Environment and schoolroom furnishings 80

CHAPTER V

DISCIPLINE
Discipline through liberty 86
Independence 95
Abolition of prizes and external forms of punishment 101
Biological concept of liberty in pedagogy 104

CHAPTER VI

HOW THE LESSON SHOULD BE GIVEN
Characteristics of the individual lessons 107
Method of observation the fundamental guide 108
Difference between the scientific and unscientific methods illustrated 109
First task of educators to stimulate life, leaving it then free to develop 115

CHAPTER VII

EXERCISES OF PRACTICAL LIFE
Suggested schedule for the "Children's Houses" 119
The child must be prepared for the forms of social life and his attention attracted to these forms 121
Cleanlinss, order, poise, conversation 122

CHAPTER VIII

REFECTION­THE CHILD'S DIET
Diet must be adapted to the child's physical nature 125
Foods and their preparation 126
Drinks 132
Distribution of meals 133

CHAPTER IX

MUSCULAR EDUCATION­GYMNASTICS
Generally accepted idea of gymnastics is inadequate 137
The special gymnastics necessary for little children 138
Other pieces of gymnastic apparatus 141
Free gymnastics 144
Educational gymnastics 144
Respiratory gymnastics, and labial, dental, and lingual gymnastics 147

CHAPTER X

NATURE IN EDUCATION­AGRICULTURAL LABOUR; CULTURE OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS
The savage of the Aveyron 149
Itard's educative drama repeated in the education of little children 153
Gardening and horticulture basis of a method for education of children 155
The child initiated into observation of the phenomena of life and into foresight by way of auto-education 156
Children are initiated into the virtue of patience and into confident expectation, and are inspired with a feeling for nature 159
The child follows the natural way of development of the human race 160

CHAPTER XI

MANUAL LABOUR­THE POTTER'S ART, AND BUILDING
Difference between manual labour and manual gymnastics 162
The School of Educative Art 163
Archæological, historical, and artistic importance of the vase 164
Manufacture of diminutive bricks and construction of diminutive walls and houses 165

CHAPTER XII

EDUCATION OF THE SENSES
Aim of education to develop the energies 168
Difference in the reaction between deficient and normal children in the presentation of didactic material of graded stimuli 169
Education of the senses has as its aim the refinement of the differential perception of stimuli by means of repeated exercises 173
Three periods of Séguin 177

CHAPTER XIII

EDUCATION OF THE SENSES AND ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE DIDACTIC MATERIAL: GENERAL SENSIBILITY: THE TACTILE, THERMIC, BARIC AND STEREOGNOSTIC SENSES
Education of the tactile, thermic and baric senses 185
Education of the stereognostic sense 188
Education of the senses of taste and smell 190
Education of the sense of vision 191
Exercises with the three series of cards 199
Education of the chromatic sense 200
Exercise for the discrimination of sounds 203
Musical education 206
Tests for acuteness of hearing 209
A lesson in silence 212

CHAPTER XIV

GENERAL NOTES ON THE EDUCATION OF THE SENSES
Aim in education biological and social 215
Education of the senses makes men observers and prepares them directly for practical life 218

CHAPTER XV

INTELLECTUAL EDUCATION
Sense exercises a species of auto-education 224
Importance of an exact nomenclature, and how to teach it 225
Spontaneous progress of the child the greatest triumph of Scientific Pedagogy 228
Games of the blind 231
Application of the visual sense to the observation of environment 232
Method of using didactic material: dimensions, form, design 233
Free plastic work 241
Geometric analysis of figures 243
Exercises in the chromatic sense 244

CHAPTER XVI

METHOD FOR THE TEACHING OF READING AND WRITING
Spontaneous development of graphic language: Séguin and Itard 246
Necessity of a special education that shall fit man for objective observation and direct logical thought 252
Results of objective observation and logical thought 253
Not necessary to begin teaching writing with vertical strokes 257
Spontaneous drawing of normal children 258
Use of Froebel mats in teaching children sewing 260
Children should be taught how before they are made to execute a task 261
Two diverse forms of movement made in writing 262
Experiments made with normal children 267
Origin of alphabets in present use 269

CHAPTER XVII

DESCRIPTION OF THE METHOD AND DIDACTIC MATERIAL USED
Exercise tending to develop the muscular mechanism necessary in holding and using the instrument in writing 271
Didactic material for writing 271
Exercise tending to establish the visual-muscular imageof the alphabetic signs, and to establish the muscular memory of the movements necessary to writing 275
Exercises for the composition of words 281
Reading, the interpretation of an idea from written signs 296
Games for the reading of words 299
Games for the reading of phrases 303
Point education has reached in the "Children's Houses" 307

CHAPTER XVIII

LANGUAGE IN CHILDHOOD
Physiological importance of graphic language 310
Two periods in the development of language 312
Analysis of speech necessary 319
Defects of language due to education 322

CHAPTER XIX

TEACHING OF NUMERATION: INTRODUCTION TO ARITHMETIC
Numbers as represented by graphic signs 328
Exercises for the memory of numbers 330
Addition and subtraction from one to twenty: multiplication and division 332
Lessons on decimals: arithmetic calculations beyond ten 335

CHAPTER XX

SEQUENCE OF EXERCISES
Sequence and grades in the presentation of material and in the exercises 338
First grade 338
Second grade 339
Third grade 342
Fourth grade 343
Fifth grade 345

CHAPTER XXI

GENERAL REVIEW OF DISCIPLINE
Discipline better than in ordinary schools 346
First dawning of discipline comes through work 350
Orderly action is the true rest for muscles intended by nature for action 354
The exercise that develops life consists in the repetition, not in the mere grasp of the idea 358
Aim of repetition that the child shall refine his senses through the exercise of attention, of comparison, of judgment 360
Obedience is naturally sacrifice 363
Obedience develops will-power and the capacity to perform the act it becomes necessary to obey 367

CHAPTER XXII

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPRESSIONS
The teacher has become the director of spontaneous work in the "Children's Houses" 371
The problems of religious education should be solved by positive pedagogy 372
Spiritual influence of the "Children's Houses" 376


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ILLUSTRATIONS.

Dr. Montessori giving a lesson in touching geometrical insets Frontispiece
FACING
PAGE
Dr. Montessori in the garden of the school at Via Giusti 144
Children learning to button and lace. Ribbon and button frames. 145
Children playing a game with tablets of coloured silk 186
Girl touching a letter and boy telling objects by weight 187
Pupils arranging colours in chromatic order 187
Didactic apparatus to teach differentiation of objects 190
Blocks by which children are taught thickness, length, and size 191
Geometric insets to teach form 194
Geometric insets and cabinet 195
Cards used in teaching form and contour 196
Frames illustrating lacing; shoe buttoning; buttoning of other garments; hooks and eyes 200
Tablets with silk, for educating the chromatic sense 201
Didactic apparatus for training the sense of touch, and for teaching writing 282
Children touching letters and making words with cardboard script 283
Montessori children eating dinner 348
School at Tarrytown, N. Y. 349

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