One hypothetical learning experience is when the child watches an old type TV set placed on the ground where the child is able to reach it. The apparent video in the TV set involves images that the child would recognise such as images of a dog, a cat, some familiar food or baby bottle or even another baby. Taking the example of an infant, the baby will be able to recognise immediately that the image is that of a baby. If the image is a video and the baby happens to be moving in the TV, the infant watching may become more curious and may even raise a question as to what is happening or make an action to suggest that they notice something recognisable or outstanding that someone else also ought to see. The ability to recognise an object in size or colour and be able to identify the object even in other contexts apart from the ones during the experiment suggests that the child has learned and that their development is otherwise normal. As such, this essay explores Montessori's theory of education of eh senses as a way of deciphering the characteristics of child development that relate to cognition.
The learning experience that I mention above is quite similar to the approach that Maria Montessori, a renowned psychologist from the early 20thcentury also used to explain child development through the "Education of the Senses." Primarily, the input of Montessori about such an experimental context is that these should encourage the child to exercise their senses rather than weary the child. As such, Montessori expresses that education aims to develop the energies (Montessori, 1912). The psychologist does this in an explanation of the most viable object that may be used to divert the child's attention in an ambition to ensure to evoke the child's senses in one way or another.
In the hypothetical situation provided above, the child is before a visual stimulus to which the child is supposed to react if at all the child's senses is well developed. According to Montessori's theory, the difference in the manner in which the stimulus inspires the child's senses defines whether the child is normally developed or whether the child's development is deficient. From the theory, the use of graded stimuli in experimenting whether or not learning takes place is able to offer an idea of the possible difference between the deficient child and the normal child (Montessori, 1912). On this, the theorist expresses that the normal child has more propensity to make an auto-education when they are exposed to such material. On the contrary, the contexts for the deficient child are usually slower in that the didactic material made of graded stimuli will be limited to only making education possible.
In the experiment involving images on a TV set, there are an aspect of child development and cognition that have to do with the ability to label objects. According to Lovelace, (2014), children can make relations between objects and other objects and between objects and concepts between the ages of 2years to 4 years. In the experiment, the child, two and a half years old was quite quick in recognizing the objects and would sometimes spontaneously point and shout their names (Darwin, 1877). As such, the children can make recognition of materials that they manipulate through their characteristics that are also definitive of the concepts we use when trying to get them to understand their environment through these materials. In the experiment, the normal child can recognize the images that emerge from the TV set due to their physical characteristics. Lovelace, (2014), explains that such cognition has to do with the symbols that the child is able to attach to the objects. The rationale is that these symbols are not necessarily confined to words. Symbolic relations may involve aspects of the object or stimulus that can be related to an event or even their visual effect in terms of size.
As Piaget notes, the baby is always an experimenter, and the aspect of experimentation follows throughout their development and exposure to the environment until a stage where the individual is familiar or indifferent to most of the events or objects surrounding them (Monastersky, 2000). As such, it is normal that the child will seek to experience aspects of nature such as size or colour and as the child grows, the interest in these aspects of their environment diminishes. The same may explain the child's interest in the nature of the objects that they observe and thus their motivation to continue looking at the images. Montessori, (1912), for instance, offers an example with a game of square boxes varied in size where the child is to construct a block by placing one box over the other. Accordingly, Montessori observes that the older pupil who is four years and older would find it rather simple and may not be challenged in arranging the boxes. On the other hand, younger children may find that they need guidance in recognizing the effect of size on their ability to balance the boxes over each other as indicated by Darwin, (1877).
Conclusively, this essay explores Montessori's theory of education of eh senses as a way of deciphering the characteristics of child development that relate to cognition. In my exercise, the main objective can be related to Montessori's theory in that I seek to find the extent of refinement of the differential perception of stimuli. In the experiment, the child was able to identify objects by name. Accordingly, I find that the child's extent of learning has to do with their ability not only to recognize these stimuli, such as the visual representation of an object but should also relate such cognition to language. Montessori, (1912), suggests 'the three periods' exercise as one viable measure of the extent to which the child is able to associate the stimuli they experience to language involving the concepts that they would use for the stimuli. In the 'the three periods' the first step/period involves associating the sensory perception with a name, that is, description of the object of experience. The next step involves an exercise for recognizing the correspondence between the concept and the object by say, asking the child to point at it or to bring it to you. The last step involves testing whether the child can make their association between the object and the concept by say asking them which is the 'biggest,' the 'red' or otherwise. By being able to recognize the objects and even mention their names, the experiment would derive that the child was rather perfectly normal.
Montessori, Maria., Translated by Anne Everett George. (1912). "A Celebration of Women Writers; Chapter XII Education of the Senses." The Montessori Method. Retrieved from http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/montessori/method/method-XII.html
Lovelace, Dorothy. (2014, April 26th). "Concrete Operations" [You Tube Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erjEK-T0sAQ
Monastersky, Richard. (2000). A New Round of Research Rattles Old Ideas of How Infants Interpret the World. Chronicle of Higher Education, 46(29), A22-A22.Darwin, Charles. (1877). 'A Biographical Sketch of an Infant', Mind, pp. 285-294. Retrieved from http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1779&viewtype=text
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