Writing, Books, Painting, Politics, Neuroplasticity
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Montessori Google! Maria’s 142nd Birthday and This Shared Dream

 

This morning I was absolutely delighted, when I went to Google, to see my old familiar tools:  a sandpaper letter (“G” for Google), geometric insets, cylinder blocks, beads, and a trinomial cube.  Mostly, I was stunned to see these Montessori materials thus honored.  When I released THIS SHARED DREAM in 2011, the centerpiece of which is the importance of Montessori’s approach to universal preschool education, I got a few sidelong glances implying “What’s so important about preschool?” 

 

I think that universal implementation of the developmental insights Montessori pioneered a century ago would truly change the world.  I proposed a science fictional mechanism for doing so—tiny nanotech Montessori classroom seeds released into the world, to grow where there is a need.  In the novel, their complexity is unpacked, so to speak.   I first proposed this in a talk I gave at a Joint Services Small Arms Project meeting in Crystal City about future weapons; my premise was that our best weapon against terrorism is a form of  universal education that we know works:  Montessori education.  It is not expensive.

 

Montessori works because it allows every preschooler’s developmental neuroplasticity to fuse with the environment, with results that astonish most people.  Normal children learn to write and to read, easily, by age four; they can also perform the four basic mathematical operations and other interesting feats.  But that is not what is most important.  The most important aspect of being in a Montessori classroom is the confidence that children gain in their ability to interact with the environment and with others. 

 

When I see news features of failing classrooms with a teacher and blackboard at the front of the room and rows of bored children, I am deeply saddened.  You cannot learn by looking at a blackboard.  Learning takes place when children explore the environment with their hands.  This is vital.  This is how children learn how to write, read, and cipher.  Letters are sounds; numbers are objects; the trinomial equation is three-dimensional. 

 

I am thrilled at Google’s tribute.

 

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