The Child’s play is really work –
the child works for his/her own development. All the separate embryonic developments, which occurred from 0-3 years, must in the end, function together and become integrated so as to serve the individual personality. This is what is happening in the period for 3-6, when the hands are working, guided by the mind. When the environment offers motives for constructive activity, all energies concentrate together. With freedom to develop normally, we see the true personality of the child emerge.
This is what Montessori called the ‘Normalised‘ child. During, and as a result of the process of normalisation, the child develops character quite spontaneously. Montessori identifies the period from three to six years of age as the ’embryonic period for the formation of character’.
This is the Plane of fundamental importance for the formation of the individual. The infant from 0-3 is identified by Montessori as a “Spiritual Embryo”, as the infant has, within him/herself “potentials”, which determine his or her development, seen as empty vessels, waiting to be filled with knowledge, language, intellect and culture.
There exists within this inert being, a global power, a human creative essence, which drives her or him to form a human being, of his time, civilization and associated culture. The newborn child has to perform formative work, which corresponds in the psychological sphere, to the one just done by the embryo in the physical sphere. In this psycho-embryonic period, various powers develop separately and independently of each other i.e. arm and leg movements, sensory movements, language etc. At this stage, there is no unity in the personality. Montessori called the infant from 0-3 the “unconscious creator”.
The construction of the individual takes place. It is the HORME within the child, that forces to learn and act like a human being. It urges the child on to construct himself – it makes the child a humen being.
(HORME – n. Psychology, vital energy directed to in active purpose. hormic, a. hormist, n believer in horme as fundamental psychological factor.)
The tendencies for exploration, orientation and order are manifested as the child develops his sensory organs.
Society needs freedom to carry out movements to fulfill the tendencies.
The child in this plane needs freedom and limits:
- freedom for movement – exploration.
- develop a taste of what it means to be human.
Limits are responsability:
- conform to family life.
- rules are set for the good of everyone
- safeguards rather than prohibitions
So if the child is understood and helped during this years from 0 – 3, than the years from 3 – 6 can take the concious individual and develop that potential that has been founded.