Larry Victor Montessori did much more than expose children to information. The overall context of support and the careful design of how the information was presented (structural within the “toys”). Just as it is critical to assess an adult’s frame and cognitive/emotive/performance (CEP) competencies in selecting what SET of stimuli to present them (from which they choose); it is equally important for children (whose diversity may be greater than adults). Children are not little adults. In some situations children can be conditioned to perform for adults seemingly demonstrating adult skills – such as memorization feats. Both human children and adults can employ different inner processes to accomplish the same observable performances.
I have long speculated that for CEP variation in humans, the DIVERSITY DISTRIBUTION becomes what defines us, for which norms and averages no longer are useful. Whereas norms are appropriate for other species, and probably for non CEP domains for humans. It may be that for humankind, the diversity of CEP is of magnitude equal or greater than the diversity of food gathering schemes in all mammals. Humankind, although emergent from the mammalian substrate and sharing many traits (e.g., human emotions are cognitively enhanced mammalian emotions), may represent a radical (orthogonal) break from the 4 billion year evolution of life within Gaia – which is both embryonic and highly risky.
Glistening Deepwater, I believe we can go a long way in helping children learn-to-learn about themselves (bio/psycho/cultural) in ways they can comprehend – but much action/research is needed. I recall an instance in my distant past when a 6 year old girl gave comforting guidance to her mother who was having great difficulty with her 4 year old son. The 6 year old had profound insight.
Charity Kalinovka , Although there are critical points in the biological maturation of the brain, where after certain ages some types of learning become almost impossible (e.g., “first” language learning of additional languages). By age one, we humans lose the ability to discriminate between all phonemes in all human languages and from then on are limited to using only those phonemes in languages we have already experienced. We really don’t know what other critical points may exist. Kindergarten may be too early for some learning and “too late” for other learning. And, the critical age may be quite narrow and uniform for some learning, and quite variable for others. We don’t all mature or develop according to the same clock – except when we do. I recently did a Goggle search for MINNEMAST (which occurred before the PC and Internet) and found that only a very small number of our “lessons” have been preserved. A few books were written in the years following the project’s shutdown, which I have not read.
A tragic processes emerged as the project continued. As grades materials (for students and teachers) were created one “school year” by a team of 20+ scientists, artists, mathematicians, historians, psychologists, educators, etc. These lessons were tested multiple times with classes in the Minneapolis area involving both developers and teachers. In the summer, teachers from all over the country came to Mpls to be oriented to “teach” the newly prepared materials at the next grade level. And, those who taught the lessons that year (the earlier grade level created the year before) worked to revise the lessons from their feedback in teaching the lessons. This processed each year, until the K and grade one materials had many years of teacher revisions. Tragically, most of the radical and new material was wiped out by the teachers and the product was being returned to what contemporary teachers preconceived what should be taught. IMHO it wasn’t that the new materials didn’t work with children – we tested it ourselves (although our bias was questioned) – but that within the pressures of real school systems (where true innovation is highly discouraged, for reasons of “stability”), they succumbed to the social pressures – even though their initial participation was based on a willingness to try something new. Also, to be part of the MINNEMAST project got them well paid summers in culture rich Minneapolis and a very exciting work setting. In a way I was not to disappointed that the project shut down.
My second venture in children science instruction was to design a “matrix curriculum” that over the years would teach both students and teachers. The teachers’ manual for a grade level would differ whether it was the first, second, or third year that teacher taught the lessons. With a co-author (co-worker from the MINNEMAST project), and a contract with a publisher, we started creating this matrix curriculum – where the first impression was that it was a traditional science curriculum (the radical was hidden within). Although we composed much material, shifting management eventually caused an abandonment by the publisher – it would be far too costly to have more printed materials for teachers than for students. This matrix model would still be viable IF education was to continue with its transitional form.
All above expressed as fact or truth are only nuet’s speculations. I apologize for getting “carried away”; “catalyze nuet and it channels through Larry Victor”
The above was a long comment to a FaceBook post: