Work (Montessori)

From Montepedia

In the context of Montessori education, Work refers to the self-initiated, purposeful activities of children. While these activities may appear to be play from an adult perspective, Maria Montessori considered them as the child's work, given the seriousness and concentration children often exhibit during these activities.[1] This perspective arises from an understanding that, from an evolutionary perspective, the extended period of childhood serves as a time for learning and experimenting in a relatively pressure-free environment.[2]

Montessori Quotes

  • "The first essential for the child's development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy."[3]
  • "The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience 'work'. "[4]

Research and Critiques

  • Pros: The Montessori perspective of viewing children's activities as work recognizes the importance and significance of these activities in the child's development. It allows children to take their tasks seriously, fostering focus, dedication, and intrinsic motivation.[5]
  • Cons: Critics argue that the term "work" could potentially be misinterpreted, implying that children's activities are laborious or burdensome, which contrasts with the inherent joy and exploration often associated with childhood. There's also the risk that this perspective may blur the boundary between essential leisure/play time and learning time.[6]

Comparisons to Other Methods

While play-based learning is commonly emphasized in many early childhood education approaches, Montessori's view of children's activities as work sets it apart. This distinction highlights the value of the child's chosen activities and the depth of learning these can offer.[7]

See Also

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.[8] The glossary has since been expanded and updated with additional 'Montessori Terms'.

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  1. Montessori, M. (1967). The Absorbent Mind. Clio Press.
  2. Groos, K. (1901). The Play of Man. D. Appleton and Company.
  3. Montessori, M. (1989). The Child, Society and the World. Clio Press.
  4. Montessori, M. (1967). The Absorbent Mind. Clio Press.
  5. Lillard, A. (2017). Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. Oxford University Press.
  6. Mooney, C. (2000). Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget, and Vygotsky. Redleaf Press.
  7. Thayer-Bacon, B. J. (2017). Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and William H. Kilpatrick. Education and Culture, 33(2), 31-57.
  8. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.