Submission Date

7-20-2018

Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Department

Education

Faculty Mentor

Stephanie Mackler

Comments

Presented during the 20th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 20, 2018 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

We live in an era that considers standardized testing paramount in regards to academic success. The rationale: we consistently gain a more informed understanding of students’ progress. However, these tests rarely fulfill this goal and instead assess one’s socioeconomic status. The “No Child Left Behind Act", an initiative to purportedly help disadvantaged students improve their academic performance, highlights the value we attribute to testing, but suggests that a child’s inner needs are secondary. Such a rigid initiative deprives students of educational freedom. The Montessori Method, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the 1900s, challenges our current day initiative by placing the child at the forefront of her educational model. She suggests that the child should be respected and valued, as they are “spiritual embryos,” which hold within them an inner psychic life and the secret to humankind. The child possesses within herself the tools necessary to embark on an independent educational journey with minimal assistance. Dr. Montessori’s method enables an authentic development that caters to the child’s innate love of learning through their “sensitive periods” and “absorbent mind.” This work aims to explore Dr. Montessori’s philosophy with a focus on the ways in which she challenges our thinking on the child, childhood, and the adult in relation to the child. An examination of the classroom environment is necessary as it brings all four elements to fruition. Ultimately, children are miraculous beings that need not be undermined via traditional pedagogical approaches, but rather assisted and respected in order to thrive.

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