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Maria Monday - The Absorbent Mind Chapters 1-3

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Today marks the first week of our Montessori Book Club.  We have read through chapters 1-3 of The Absorbent Mind.

For those unfamiliar with the works of Maria Montessori, they can be a challenging read.  Montessori writings echo the doctor and scientist that she was.  Not only that but her works were written decades ago in her native Italian.  Even the most recommended translations can take time to digest.  It's still very much worth your time to read.

After reading the first three chapters, I was struck by the similarities in the challenges facing the current system of education.  The issues and misconceptions she discusses are still highly relevant; perhaps even more so today.  I felt tinge of sadness at the reality that we've learned so little as a society despite the works and pleadings of numerous brilliant educators.     

Here are my brief thoughts chapter by chapter:

Chapter 1
Montessori addresses the fact that children are not empty minds just waiting to be taught and filled by adults. They are more than capable of developing themselves and in fact, learn unconsciously during the early years.

“We find ourselves confronted by a being no longer to be thought of as helpless, like a receptive void waiting to be filled with out wisdom”

Chapter 2
The second chapter addresses the need for learning to be a life long process encompassing all aspects of the individual.  We have separated the academic system from real life.

“In most state controlled systems, what matters is that the programme shall be fulfilled.”

“The world of education is like an island where people, cut off from the world, are prepared for life by exclusion from it.”

Chapter 3
The third chapter addresses the periods of development from a high level.  It points out the fact that current educational practices do not line up with the needs of the individual at each stage of development.  It misses the essential first six years altogether.

“Only practical work and experience leads the young to maturity.”

“Our work as adults does not consist in teaching, but in helping the infant mind in its work of development.”

If you'd like to delve deeper into this topic, join us for our book club discussion at Montessori Homeschooling.  It isn't too late to join in either!

Happy Reading!
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