Absorbent Mind: Refers to the child’s ability to learn, effortlessly, by virtually “absorbing” information through all her senses from the environment. The child is like a sponge!
Control of Error: Works are self-correcting. For example, if there aren’t enough counters, then the child must have miscounted somewhere.
Erdkinder: Dr. Montessori felt that because of the rapid growth, the increased need for sleep, and hormonal changes, it is useless to try to force the adolescent to concentrate on intellectual work. She recommended an Erdkinder (German for “land children”), or Earth school, where children would live close to nature, eat fresh farm products, and carry on practical work related to the economics of supplying food, shelter, transportation, and so forth. Intellectual work is still done, following the child's interests, but without pressure.
Golden Beads: A 501-C3 nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing opportunities for students to access a Montessori education within the public schools.
Match: When a child is involved in a work that is meaningful and at his point in development, we say that we have made the match.
Normalized Child: A child who is capable of organizing her world and successfully choosing appropriate learning experiences. This child is calm and at peace with herself. She is personally able to embody order, concentration, coordination and independence.
Overview: The act of observing and knowing what is happening in the whole environment. It is an active awareness of the actions of the whole group. The person doing overview is either sitting or quietly moving around the class, keenly aware of what all the children are doing, while the second adult is giving lessons to individuals or small groups of children.
Planes of Development: Dr. Montessori defined 4 stages of development and labeled them as the 4 planes of development, noting that within these stages, the development is intense at the beginning, consolidates and then tapers to the next. The 1st and 3rd planes are periods of intense creation, while the 2nd and 4th planes are the calm periods of consolidation. Key to all the planes of development is the individual’s need for independence. This is expressed differently throughout the planes. Each plane is approximately 6 years and has its own special characteristics as follows:
First Plane – Age 0 - 6 – Early Childhood (Individual Creation of the Person): Characterized by the “Absorbent Mind” in which the child’s mind is like a sponge, absorbing all that is in the environment. At age 0-3 this is unconscious, at age 3-6 this is conscious. Characterized by “sensitive periods” which include the intense need for: order, language, refinement of the senses, movement. Characterized by concrete thinking, construction of the physical person, fundamental formation of the character, physical independence – “I can do it myself!” The child wants to be free to work independently within a structured environment doing real activities with an intelligent purpose.
Second Plane – Age 6 – 12 – Childhood (Construction of the Intelligence): Characterized by reasoning with imagination and logic, intense thirst for knowledge which is so great that if allowed, the child will seek exposure to many things that have been left to high school and college in the past. “Cosmic Education” – the child wants to know about the whole and his/her place within it and can appreciate the interconnectedness of all things and people, the transition from concrete to abstract thinking, interested in learning about the universe – what is outside of the prepared environment. Intellectual independence – “I can “think it” myself.”
Third Plane – Ages 12 – 18 Adolescence (Construction of Social Self): Characterized by self concern and self assessment, critical thinking and re-evaluation. This is a transition period both physically and mentally, beginning to try to find a place in this world. Characterized by construction of social and moral values. “Erd Kinder” or “Children of the Land” – Dr. Montessori envisioned the child practicing for life in society by working together in a sort of hostel. Cultural development which has been ongoing is solidified in this plane. Financial Independence – “I can get it myself”.
Fourth Plane – Ages 18 – 24 and Beyond – Adulthood (Construction of Self Understanding): Characterized by construction of the spiritual, conscious discernment of right and wrong, seeking to know one’s own place within the world, emotional independence – “I can stand on my own”.
Prepared Environment: The environment made ready for the child. It is carefully designed to assist and encourage the natural development of the child.
Sensitive Periods: The point in time at which a child will receive maximum benefit from a learning experience. The individual developmental “clock” that leads each child to the appropriate ask to fulfill an inner need. There is a sensitive period for example, for writing, or learning colors, etc. It isn’t the only time a task can be learned, but it is the most natural and “perfect time.”
Three Period Lesson: Is the manner used in the presentation of materials or new information
1st Period: The information is given. (Ex: “This is red.”)
2nd Period: The information is retrieved with a clue given.
(Ex.: “Can you show me red?”)
3rd Period: No clue is given. Information is fully learned and can be successfully applied to the environment or situation. (Ex.: “What is this?”)