The function of education according to Dr. Montessori is, to render assistance according to man in course of fundamental development in order to work at his self formation in obedience to the laws that govern development. For rendering this assistance effectively a special preparation is necessary. This preparation is not only physical but also spiritual. The adult world has to bring about both these preparations an then render the needed assistance. Dr. Montessori laid a greate emphasis on the spiritual preparation of the adult. This helps him to shed away the age old prejudices against the child and serve development.
After having trained and prepared oneself the 'adult' as he or she is called in a 'Montessori House of Children' should prepare the following:
- Prepare the environment with proper conditions.
- Prepare the means of development. These are the very tools with which the child work.
- The adult should establish positive and constructive contacts between the child and the means of development.
- Should ensure that the child enjoys freedom with regard to choosing an activity and repeating it as many times as he wants.
The adult in the House of Children is one of the agents in the process of education. The other two being the prepared environment along with the community of children, secondly the means of development. The adult herself is in the background as an assistant. She approaches the child either through the environment or throught the means of development. As far as possible the indirect approach is resorted to, because, it doesn't dampen the child's enthusiasm and spontaneous interest and also the thrill of doing and knowing things by himself
The Montessori Method is adapted to children's education at three levels.
- General adaptation to the child in general satisfying his needs in order to follow the path of development.
- Local adaptation satisfying the needs of local conditions like social, culture and climatic conditions.
- Individual adaptation satisfying the needs of an individual child depending upon his specific needs and capacities.
The aim of the the Montessori Method of education is to help the child become a self sufficient and an independent master of himself. All activities in the House of children are directed towards this goal. In fact the very aim of life itself is this independence and education is a means towards this goal.
Alas! in traditional school this aim is lost sight of. Individuality is crushed under mass education system. The teacher dominates the show. No freedom of choice or freedom to repeat the activities. The child has no freedom of movement either, children are crammed in a small enclosure and are made to do what the teacher dictates. The Child has to do what the teacher tells him to do and this cannot but curb his development.