Saturday, October 11, 2014


Froebel's gift number 2
I was talking with one of the Dads from Clear Spring School and we were reminiscing about the days when our children were so very small. His child in now almost a teen and my own is teaching Middle School in New York City. But in their infant years we put special latches on the cabinet doors that were to keep unattended children from getting poisoned by Draino, not realizing that in the course of things we would never leave our children unattended for even one minute. Being as attentive as we were, and in retrospect, the special latches were almost an over-protective joke.

Then kids reach their teens, we buy them cell phones and send them off driving cars. There is a bit of irony in that, being over protective in one moment and negligent in the next when the dangers have become real.

It strikes me as ironic that so many know of Montessori and Waldorf Schools, and that children can be (and some few are) given greater value in their educations, and then in so many cases we crowd 25-30 children into public school classrooms as though the children don't really matter. In stating this, I am not intending to insult the teachers who do their best with what resources and time they are given, but I do intend to insult the policy makers who short change our kids by not giving them full developmental opportunities, like those that Waldorf, Montessori, or Clear Spring School might provide.

I sometimes learn more about my own subject here by checking the links that travel to this blog, and the following is from Educating for Life.
"Montessori wrote in The Absorbent Mind:

“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of the child’s mind comes about through his movements.”

“The hand is in direct connection with man’s soul, and not only with the individual’s soul, but also with the different ways of life that men have adopted on the earth in different places and at different times. The skill of man’s hand is bound up with the development of his mind, and in the light of history we see it connected with the development of civilization. The hands of man express his thought, and from the time of his first appearance upon the earth, traces of his handiwork also appear in the records of history. Every great epoch of civilization has left its typical artifacts.”

And further:

“The nature of a person’s work is betrayed by his movements. For his work is the expression of his mind–it is his mental life–and this has access to a whole treasury of movements which develop in the service of this–the central and directive–part of his inner being…The mental life of anyone who does not work at all is in grave peril because–although it is true that all the muscular powers cannot be used–there is a limit beneath which it is dangerous for those in use to fall. When reduced below this, a person’s whole life is weakened.”
 And so what is the lesson in that? We can put children safe in classrooms, cause them to be idle and force them to learn to sit still, fighting against their own muscularity until it is stifled. But children need to move in order to learn and grow. And most certain in this need to move is that their hands not be stilled and stifled in disservice to their development.

As you can see in the photo above, I am back at work on Froebel's Gifts.

Make, fix and create...

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