Montessori practice is built on a tripod: the prepared environment, the prepared child and the prepared adult (see also spiritual preparation).
If any one of these legs are not in place, the tripod will fall.
|The albums, with a *proper* scope and sequence *guide*|
are the adult's tools for planning.
This is simply not reality - at least not for an authentic Montessori environment.
We adults cannot plan for a child's every interest or mood - but we do need to have the big picture so that we can follow the particular interests when appropriate.
It is the responsibility of the adult to lay the environment - which is a planning process in itself. The adult is planning what foundational experiences the child will have. Some of those experiences do not involve materials - or many materials - or use the same materials as already used, but in a different way.
Yes, many times a child will ask a question or pinpoint an interest - but more often than not, the adult is the one presenting new ideas to the child, providing the tools (the keys) - and it is the adult's responsibility to assure the keys are presented.
The adult is responsible for having the big picture - the map - in place so that the adult can properly guide the child. Yes, the child has freedom at all ages to stop and smell the roses, to dig deeply, to take a variety of paths (rabbit trails) --- but the adult knows the big picture and assists the child in digging deeper, in pointing a variety of key experiences (that all children need) and helping develop processes within the child (such as planning their time, planning their own projects, fueling creativity and responsibility) that allow the child to take greater ownership of their developmet and their work - as well as greater interdependence in the family and society at large. (think work plan development here)
Children left without a prepared adult who has done some planning (knowing that the plan will need to be flexible) will end up with Lord of the Flies. Evil and crying and children ill-suited to interact with society, let alone become adults in it.
We prefer Lord of the Rings around here ;) Honesty, bravery, planning even without knowing where the journey would lead - in the end, all people working together to make it happen.