Hidden deep inside the budding spirit of every child born are 8 embryonic “seeds” that when prompted by the stimuli in a nurturing environment give rise to the child’s early psychic development. Just as the 9 months in utero is a period of physical creation, so the first three years of life is a period of psychic creation. The infant brain seeks experience in the environment to flesh out its genetic blueprint. The unfolding of these embryonic “seeds” – empowers the child’s abilitiy to survive and thrive in the world.*
1. CURIOSITY AND THE URGE TO INVESTIGATE:
The “seed” of the child’s inquisitive spirit engenders an unfolding desire to fully experience her world.
2. MAXIMAL ENERGY:
The spirited “seed” of inborn zest precipitates an impetus to confront challenges with maximal effort as they pursue areas of interest and learn to perfect their skills.
3. SELF-PACE THROUGH REPETITION:
The “seed” of relentless fascination drives the next phase of development: the urge to master the task at hand through repeated effort at her own pace. Achieving mastery through independent trial and error empowers the child to stive further and fulfill her inborn potential.
4. CRAVING INDEPENDENCE & SELF RELIANCE:
Nightingale’s prepared learning environment nurtures the “seed” of independent learning by providing opportunities to be resourceful and inventive.
5. PERCEPTION OF ORDER AND HIGHER ORDER THINKING:
The natural capacity to perceive patterns and relationships between categories is a “seed” that, when cultivated, informs critical reasoning and engages Higher Order Thinking. The discovery of the underlying logic that governs correspondences between concrete objects and abstract representations empowers the “mathematical mind” and the capacity to decode and encode language. Understanding the basic principles of order minimizes reliance on rote memorization.
6. EAGERNESS TO ADAPT & CREATE:
The development of higher order thinking empowers problem solving skills, a trait that is foundational to creative thinking. The child enjoys inventing and constructing new imaginative forms based on hands-on experience.
7. AESTHETIC SENSE:
The natural love of order and beauty he enjoys with his five senses stimulates his sensorial experience, his motor and emotional sensibilities spatial, mechanical, and emotional sensibilities. This in turn kindles a desire to imagine and recreate that beauty and satisfaction in his own work.
8. ABSORBENT MIND:
In the formative years of every toddler there is a unique sensitivity to her environment that leads her to observe and subconsciously absorb everything around her so she can adapt to life. This “psychic embryo” is the most significant phase of learning in the life of a human being. It shapes her learning and her ability to assimilate the customs and language of her culture. If we fulfill the potential of each child, we can hope to realize the potential of the human race.
*During her work with children, Maria Montessori observed that the human species has a double embryonic life. The first is the physical embryo which unfolds within the womb. The second, the “embrione spirituale” or psychic embryo, refers to the developmental changes that occur during the first three years of life as the child’s intelligence is formed. During these critical years, the infant toddler, driven by innate curiosity and impulse to learn, acquires the culture and language of the society into which she or he is born.