Erdkinder (Montessori)

From Montepedia
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Erdkinder, a German term that translates to "Children of the Earth," is a concept developed by Maria Montessori which refers to her vision of an ideal adolescent educational environment[1].

This model, often described as a "farm school," posits that adolescents benefit from practical, hands-on work, and real-life experiences, such as farming, cooking, business operations, and craftsmanship, which can help them develop skills, responsibility, and self-confidence. Montessori believed that such an environment would provide adolescents with meaningful work, and a greater understanding and appreciation of their role in society and their relationship to the natural world[2].

In Erdkinder programs, academic learning continues but is integrated with practical activities and experiences, encouraging adolescents to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world scenarios. This also gives them the opportunity to explore different vocational paths.

Montessori Quotes on Erdkinder

There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature.

— Maria Montessori

Research and Critiques on Erdkinder in Montessori


Erdkinder promotes practical skills and independent thinking, helping adolescents prepare for adult life. The emphasis on connection with nature can foster a sense of responsibility for the environment.


Erdkinder programs may not be feasible in all settings, particularly urban environments, due to the need for land and resources. Critics question whether this approach sufficiently prepares adolescents for modern careers, particularly in technology and other rapidly-evolving fields.

Comparison to Other Methods

Traditional middle and high school programs often emphasize academic achievement with less emphasis on practical, real-world experiences. Waldorf education, another alternative education approach, also values hands-on learning and nature-based activities, but it places a higher emphasis on arts and crafts, storytelling, and free play.

Glossary of Montessori Terms

The Glossary of Montessori Terms is a collection of specific terms and vocabulary that are related to the Montessori method of education, primarily focusing on the theory and practice for children aged 3 to 6. The jargon used by Montessori educators offers a unique insight into child development as discussed by Maria Montessori. The 'Montepedia Glossary of Montessori Terms' originated from a glossary that was compiled by the late Annette Haines from the Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis, at the request of Molly O'Shaughnessy from the Montessori Centre of Minnesota. The reason behind the creation of this glossary was to supplement O'Shaughnessy's lecture at the Joint Annual Refresher Course that took place in Tampa, Florida, in February 2001.[3] The glossary has since been expanded and updated with additional 'Montessori Terms'.

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  1. Montessori, M. (1994). From Childhood to Adolescence. Clio Press.
  2. Lillard, P.P. (1972). Montessori: A Modern Approach. Schocken Books.
  3. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.