Early childhood education across the world has been influenced by the pioneering work of Maria Montessori, and this book provides a complete overview of Montessori pedagogy and practice. It considers the Montessori approach within the context of early childhood education and care, and examines it in the light of new insights from the fields of neuroscience and child development.

By helping the reader understand the influence of Montessori on contemporary early years policy and practice, the book outlines ideas relevant to all early years settings, and suggests ways for all early childhood educators to apply these ideas in practice.

The book looks in detail at:

  • The Montessori story
  • The child as worker and the adult as observer
  • Developing independence and concentration
  • Using the senses to build the foundations for learning
  • Early communication and language
  • Early mathematics
  • Cultural knowledge and understanding
  • Maria Montessori, and other early childhood pioneers

Within each chapter are definitions of the key concepts of the Montessori approach, questions for reflection and discussion, activities and suggestions for further reading. This book focuses on the 3 to 6 age range.

The Exercises of the Senses

The exercises of the senses

Chapter Objectives

  • To introduce the second of the two foundation areas of the Montessori curriculum, the exercises of the senses.
  • To consider the exercises of the senses both as a means for training the intellect in early childhood and a bridge to educational knowledge.
  • To explore the relationship between abstraction and the imagination in early childhood.
  • To introduce the three-period lesson.

The Montessori exercises of the senses are based on a principle that is best exemplified in the following way. When we see a car go by, the first thing we might notice is its red colour. Before long we might separate the idea of red from the other qualities of the car. Once the idea ‘red’ is no longer tied ...

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