Montessori education is based on the child’s plane of development taking into account the child’s needs and attributes at each plane, these needs and attributes operate in three-year cycles, and maximum educational progress is achieved when the educational system acknowledges this fact.
All of Dr. Montessori’s educational philosophy is based on years of formal, focused study, with each plane reaching a certain level of integration.
For example, the planes of development represent three years of schooling: from birth to five years, middle years to seven years, and the final plane, seven years to ten years. By integrating these planes, and breaking up the year into smaller periods, children can move from one developmental stage to the next more quickly and easily. This system of three-year plans, Orthogonal or Correspondence, is based on observations of the child. The difficulty in Orthogonal education is in not knowing the precise year a child is formed.
A more complete definition of orthogonal education would include the following types of theories:
– Gross and/or Simulating Ignorance: Simulating ignorance is teaching a student with no understanding of the concepts for mastery until well into adulthood.
– Real-story Activities: Using compulsory activities is teaching the student with a purposeful attempt to draw him/her out.
– Dedication to the Ideas: Teaching to have a purpose in learning and leads to a more responsible approach to life.
– Integrates learning without the main concept: Simultaneous and cumulative learning.
– Creates associations and ideas through study: Reciprocity or the law of association.
– Permanency of ideas through education: Unobtrusive learning or burying the idea.
– Loss of memory through overloading: Short-term memory loss.
– Depression through lack of stimulation: Amenorrhea or abstinence.
– Deterioration of theoretical skills: Development of speech and language skills.
– Failure to gain coordination and balance: Developing skills for locomotion, gross motor skills, and balance and coordination.
– Parkinson’s syndrome through sensory neglect: Problems with sensory evaluation, eyesight, hearing, motor control, mobility, etc.
– Sleep and awakening skills: Getting to sleep at night and during the day in unfamiliar surroundings.
-Reluctant to integrate new information through the use of gradually increasing mental effort: This is a failure to integrate new information, and a child who has not had the appropriate input for success is likely to develop an inadequate function.
The foundation for success in learning and language acquisition is the child’s ability to learn, to understand, to reach out and touch, to experience, to talk, and to express themselves. These skills are required in order for the beginning learner to learn to walk, talk, read, write and speak. It is also the basis for learning a second language.
A child’s success in school depends upon his ability to learn the language he is being taught. This is especially true in the area of reading where students need to connect spoken lessons to the written word they need to memorize. So, a child’s ability to learn words places a substantial emphasis on oral language.
I can look at the average home-schooled child and determine what the curriculum should be without any doubt whatsoever. I can look at the progress made and determine that the child is receiving an average learning experience. But, are we doing enough to support our children’s learning?
Let’s look at some of the ways the education system is set up today and we can see for ourselves the benefits and the flaws. One of the fundamental flaws that can be observed is the focus on the individual child. We don’t want our children to learn any more than the next child. We want our children to learn the required material for passing the class. We design a curriculum that effectively hides all of the other developmental aspects in learning. We don’t want to know where the next generation is headed, what they are learning, or even who they are becoming. We want to focus on the here and now. Unfortunately, this is all that our school systems teach. The question is how do we get the information that is necessary to make this a national priority?
The information age and digital technologies are changing the definition of literacy. Children who can read online blogs and participate in online communities and forums. This is an important realization for us to keep in mind as we think about the next generation.
This is where school choice comes in. School choice allows parents and students to find a school or a teacher that matches their readiness and interests. Flagship programs that get the attention of our nation need to be identifiable and valued resources. I would like to suggest that in addition to the exploratory and comparable criteria, we should also include processing critical factors for learning and the defining characteristics of a good school.