Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Highlight of Montessori's approach to early years practice part I

Have read this book 'Bringing the Montessori approach to your early years practice' in the last two weeks and found it really interesting and think it is my idea of early education should be today, however it isn't very popular in England.

I made notes on the background of Montessori and the Montessori early years curriculum plus how it links to the foundation stage, however due to my poor English so I only did it in author's own words - Barbara Isaacs and I will reference the book in the end.

Maria Montessori's own life is closely linked with the political, social and economic changes that resulted from the unification of Italy in the year Montessori was born, 1870. Maria joined the public school in Via de San Nicola da Tolentino at the age of six, in 1876, the year before primary education had become compulsory in Italy. By the time Montessori graduated at the age of twenty she was interested in biological sciences and was determined to study medicine, a path not followed by a woman in Italy before. Having achieved the Diploma de License in the spring of 1892 with the high grade of 8 out of 10. Montessori was eligible to study medicine at the University of Rome. Montessori's years of study were challenging in every aspect: her father disapproved, she was ridiculed by her fellow students and she also hated dissection, which she had to perform in the evenings. In the last year of her studies, like the rest of her fellow students, she gave a lecture to the class, it was attended by her father. Montessori's success had ended six years of rejection and criticism. In 1897 she was asked to visit Rome's asylums, and this led to meeting the 'idiot children' who were to change her life. Montessori's experience of these children collecting crumbs from the floor once they had eaten had led her to consider the fact that perhaps they behaved in this way because they were bored. They had nothing to play with! In 1900, Montessori again enrolled to study at the University of Rome. She continued her interest in psychology and prusued Seguin's theory of educating the senses through concrete experiences. In Naples in 1902 she presented her own ideas about the possibility of the education of 'unteachable children'. she made links between the two theories exploring the notion of training of the senses and the importance of approaching abstraction through concrete forms a child could see and touch (Kramer, 1976). This was the basis for later development of the Montessori apparatus and sensorial materials that she called 'materialised abstractions'.

The first Montessori nursery

In 1906 Montessori was asked to look after children of migrant workers who lived in the tenements of the San Lorenzo district of Rome. Her work with these children laid a foundation for what we know today as the Montessori approach to education. In 1907 Montessori observed the children's reactions to their new environment without any pre-conceived ideas of what would happen. These observations provided opportunities to understand better the children and the materials themselves - this was, what we call today, action research. Montessori's observations gave her a further insight into the nature of children and formed the basis of the discoveries explained in her first book The Montessori Method, which was published in Rome in 1912. In this book Montessori described children as:

  • being capable of extended periods of concentration
  • enjoying repetition and order
  • revelling in the freedom of movement and choice
  • enjoying purposeful activities (preferred work to play)
  • self-motivated, displaying behaviours that did not require wither punishments or rewards
  • taking delight in silence and harmony of the environment
  • possessing personal dignity and spontaneous self-discipline
  • being capable of learning to read and write

It was these discoveries that made Montessori believe that these characteristics represented the potential of humanity. She advocated that all children should be given the opportunity to 'reveal themselves' in a developmentally appropriate environment that would facilitate their natural growth and development.

Between 1907 and 1914, when World War 1 broke out, interest in Montessori education flourished and many opportunities were opened to Montessori to promote her unique view of children and their learning. By 1914 there were hundreds of Montessori schools established in Europe, North and South America as well as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. She died in the netherlands at the end of the summer of 1952 wanting to be known as a citizen of the world.

cited from: Isaacs, B. (2007). Bringing the Montessori approach to your early years practice. David Fulton. Oxon

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Time Limited Exam and Speed of Handwriting

Everyone is trying to tell me to forget about the exam and move on, however I have very personal belief that you can learn better and avoid from the mistake that you made. When I look back on things I did, I can have ideas that I won't make same mistake again and what can I do to make different. Especially I still got exams to come in the future, if I don't solve the problem that I have now, when is the best time then??!!

With all the learning theories that we had learnt and told, I can understand why and how we learn and behave. In my person learning style, Piaget's theory comes in my head that he believe we learn from personal experience and as individual active learner. What happened in the exam, was that I spend too much time to think and constructure my answers although we kind of knew what areas that exam cover, but when the questions come out, I still want to answer to the question critically. There are so much knowledge in my lead, shouting to me, it want to get out, however my handwriting came in the way!! I didn't know that I am a slow writer until I heard that everyone had wrote so many pages in the exam.

That's why now that I am sitting in front of my desk and writing this post on my blog. I am disappointed with my exam, not because I havn't got the knowledge or didn't know how to answer the question, is becuase I run out the time. If education is made to suit everyone, is made to help people to have more knowledge, is made to make you learn more, then why create the exam which doesn't suit everyone, doesn't really give people chance to show what knowledge they got, doesn't help with the individual learning??

I don't have any disability so I can't have extra time which is fair, but what if I could get extra time because of I am a slow handwriting person. Some people would have extra time due to the difficulties with reading which slow them down in the exam. What about the people who can't physically write fast?? I WONDER!!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Poverty and welfare state - five evils

This is the video that I found on youtube which is very good if you are a virual learner like me.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Half way there to my goal of life

It's so fast that I can't believe that I am half way to achieving my goal of life. In my childhood experience, I always be told that I have to study hard, get a degree to get a better life or a better future or a better husband!! Play wasn't part of my childhood experience same as most of other children in Taiwan. Music, art, fashion subjects weren't even a option for us, because those subjects are classify as low class with low pay and no future. When I start on this course, I have learnt so much that open my eyes and my mind. I thought I already have culture shock when I married to John, well I had even bigger culture shock of how I am going raise my children here. It's totally up side down with my belief of how my father raised me and my old culture background. I am glad that I have chosen this course and met so many wonderful people on the course.
Gosh, I am so nervous going to Warwick, but not because there will be more hard work. it's because of new environment and new tutors. It's just like first day of school experience for me, sounds very funny but I really feel this way. And somehow I just want grab someone I know with me, so I don't have to face it alone. I am 35 years old, I can't understand how this is happening to me. However as a mother, I have to set a good, brave example for my children, so I guess I would have to hide my feeling.....

Friday, 27 March 2009

My mind map of Brian's essay

Just done the mind map for Brian's essay but not sure if I am thinking the right direction of how to tackle it. If anyone have any comments or suggestions after reading it, I will be very happy to have it, please.

A video to share and give more understanding of whole attachment theories

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Some reading about attachment theory

What is Attachment?
Attachment is an emotional bond to another person. Psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings" (Bowlby, 1969, p. 194). Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. According to Bowlby, attachment also serves to keep the infant close to the mother, thus improving the child's chances of survival. The central theme of attachment theory is that mothers who are available and responsive to their infant's needs establish a sense of security. The infant knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world.

Characteristics of Attachment:

Safe Haven: When the child feel threatened or afraid, he or she can return to the caregiver for comfort and soothing.
Secure Base: The caregiver provides a secure and dependable base for the child to explore the world.
Proximity Maintenance: The child strives to stay near the caregiver, thus keeping the child safe.
Separation Distress: When separated from the caregiver, the child will become upset and distressed.

Ainsworth's "Strange Situation"

In her 1970's research, psychologist Mary Ainsworth expanded greatly upon Bowlby's original work. Her groundbreaking "Strange Situation" study revealed the profound effects of attachment on behavior. In the study, researchers observed children between the ages of 12 and 18 months as they responded to a situation in which they were briefly left alone and then reunited with their mothers (Ainsworth, 1978). Based upon the responses the researchers observed, Ainsworth described three major styles of attachment: secure attachment, ambivalent-insecure attachment, and avoidant-insecure attachment. Later, researchers Main and Solomon (1986) added a fourth attachment style called disorganized-insecure attachment based upon their own research. A number of studies since that time have supported Ainsworth’s attachment styles and have indicated that attachment styles also have an impact on behaviors later in life.

Characteristics of Attachment:

Characteristics of Secure Attachment
Securely attached children exhibit minimal distress when separated from caregivers. Remember, these children feel secure and able to depend on their adult caregivers. When the adult leaves, the child feels assured that the parent or caregiver will return.
When frightened, securely attached children will seek comfort from caregivers. These children know their parent or caregiver will provide comfort and reassurance, so they are comfortable seeking them out in times of need.Characteristics of Ambivalent Attachment
Ambivalently attached children usually become very distressed when a parent leaves. This attachment style is considered relatively uncommon, affecting an estimated 7-15% of U.S. children. Research suggests that ambivalent attachment is a result of poor maternal availability. These children cannot depend on their mother (or caregiver) to be there when the child is in need.Characteristics of Avoidant Attachment
Children with an avoidant attachment tend to avoid parents or caregivers. When offered a choice, these children will show no preference between a caregiver and a complete stranger. Research has suggested that this attachment style might be a result of abusive or neglectful caregivers. Children who are punished for relying on a caregiver will learn to avoid seeking help in the future.

Problems with Attachment:

What happens to children who do not form secure attachments? Research suggests that failure to form secure attachments early in life can have a negative impact on behavior in later childhood and throughout the life. Children diagnosed with oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently display attachment problems, possibly due to early abuse, neglect, or trauma. Clinicians suggest that children adopted after the age of six months have a higher risk of problems with attachment. While attachment styles displayed in adulthood are not necessarily the same as those seen in infancy, research suggests that early attachments can have a serious impact on later relationships. For example, those who are securely attached in childhood tend to have good self-esteem, strong romantic relationships, and the ability to self-disclose to others. For more information, see this articles on attachment styles.

information cited from: Attachment Theory: An Overview of Attachment Theory
By Kendra Van Wagner,