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” A child asked his father once why leaves were green…”

"A child asked his father once why leaves were green. The father thought how intelligent his child was, so he gave a long explanation of chloroplasm and chlorophyll and of the blue rays of the sun, etc. Presently he heard the child mumbling and listened; the child said: ‘Oh, why did I ask Papa? I want to know why the leaves are green, not all this about chlorophyll and the sun!’
"…The teacher requires a special preparation, because it is not our logic that solves problems. In no point on which we have touched, does our logic help, we have to know the child’s development and to shed our preconceived ideas. 
 "Great tact and delicacy is necessary for the care of the mind of a child from three to six years, and an adult can have very little of it. Fortunately the child takes more from the environment than from the teacher. We must know the psychology of the child and serve him where we can."
— Dr. Maria Montessori
The Absorbant Mind
(A Montessori quick bite from The Center for Guided Montessori Studies)

As adults we have built up layers of abstraction into an understanding that helps us navigate a complex world. What did our ancestors need to know of chlorophyll or the various spectra of reflected light? Entering the world anew, our ways of thinking may be useless, and actually add confusion. At worst, by imposing abstractions onto a child we may diminish their pleasure in exploring the world and subvert that natural science that children do best.

Abstractions are wonderful tools of the intellect, and sharing them with a child receptive to them can be joyful. Much of being a Montessori guide is learning to observe a child and understand best where their sensitivities lie. A book on photosynthesis might be perfect for one child, whereas another child may do best with an activity on the life cycle of the seed and yet another child might have her curiosity met by taking care of a classroom plant. In all cases, the concrete precedes the abstract; hence, a prism is a better tool for introducing the notion of spectra than a dry discourse.

Part of the challenge of being an educator is to unravel the cloth of our adult perceptions. We must see the world as a child in order to understand how to help them knit together their own understanding and mastery.


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CGMS offers both teacher training and continuing education for professionals.

If you are interested in becoming a certified Montessori teacher, now is the time to enroll! Whether you choose our online-only Associate Certificate, or our low-residency Full Certificate program, you will get the same  thorough and well-respected training from some of the world’s leading Montessori educators. The CGMS training program has been carefully designed to combine the best practices of over a century of Montessori training with the most up-to-date e-learning techniques. The result is an authentic program unlike any other.

To learn more about our teacher certification programs, please email us or visit our website at http://www.guidedstudies.com/montessori-certification-online.html.


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