Human Needs and Tendencies - 3: Role of the Adult and the Environment

Role of the Adult and the Environment

  • The child depends on the adult to provide the environment and the opportunity to use these tendencies to their fullest in order to fulfill their needs. The adult should provide for each tendency as listed above, with the understanding that while each one is important throughout life, there are sensitive periods for each one in which needs and other tendencies are most fully strengthened and matured.

  • The physical environment should be simple, beautiful and orderly, with plenty of room to move around, as well as an arrangement which requires both gross and fine motor movement; minimal changes only as needed and with the participation of all affected persons.

  • A regular routine should be established with the children, again with the children participating in any necessary changes, i.e. with forewarning or other preparation. The child thrives on hearing real language, enunciated clearly, not baby talk or watered down sentences; he needs guidance and advice for specific social situations as they present themselves.

  • The child needs to see excellent role models, who perhaps make mistakes but are quick to recognize them, ask forgiveness and improve themselves.

  • The child needs opportunities for rest and reflection after moment of intense work, therefore simpler activities should always be present in the environment to which the child can return at any time.

  • The adult should allow the child to participate in the world around him, opening and closing doors and drawers, helping to prepare or clean up for various family and social activities.

  • The adult should move at the child’s pace; there should be substantial enough time to allow for plenty of repetition without unnecessary interruption; materials and activities which require exactness, including glass and other fragile items which require exactness of movement; materials at the child’s level to promote usage.

  • Mistakes should be expected and almost encouraged, with materials, activities and words set up in a manner which allows for auto-correction.

[1] Mario Montessori. (the pamphlet). 32. 

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