Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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CONTROL OF ERROR
There is a book by Ralph Nadar (social activist from the 1960’s) in which he talks about the impact his parents had on his thinking skills. We work a lot with our children in the school to develop a life-long pattern of being able to evaluate situations and come up with excellent results. It’s inherent in the Montessori classroom where control of error is built into much of our apparatus. If a knobbed cylinder is placed in the wrong hole, something will be left over. The child doesn’t have to ask anyone or confess an error. He’s left with a cylinder sitting by itself on the rug, a cylinder that won’t fit into the hole that’s left. If the spindle box has an error, the child might be short a spindle for the 9 slot. If the pink tower has been stacked incorrectly, the sequence of large to small is glaring with its inconsistent progression. The child can be autonomous in making the decision to correct his error. Issues of humility in observing the error, courage and perseverance to find and correct the error, and the integrity to complete the work to its logical conclusion are all inherent in this design of the material. In the pre-eminent words of our Ms. Yvette, “Constant encounter with the control of error on the material makes a child increase his capacity to distinguish his mistake even when these are not the material he is working with but the whole environment itself, from the furniture to movement to order in the classroom.”

Ralph Nadar’s book talked about his parents’ expectations of their children to think and to articulate. One of our teachers tells a kindergartner that an answer on the work page is incorrect. A short while later, the child has found her error and corrected it. “Now,” she says proudly, “They’re all right.” Another child comes to tell his teacher that his friend is not sharing. Her response is, “What can you do about that?” A discussion follows about several options, and our young friend charges off to try the option he thought was best. If you have an interest in having children who one day, like Ralph Nadar, can talk about how their parents molded them to uncompromising standards, these are the results you can expect from a cultivated critical thinker:

• voices important questions, verbalizing them clear-ly and precisely,

• gathers and assesses relevant information and in-terprets it effectively,

• considers alternatives with an open mind, and

• comes to well-reasoned conclusions that can stand to be tested.

It’s a pure joy to meet people who have this self-directed, self-disciplined, and self-monitored thinking. Hopefully, they come from Montessori. Maybe they grew up in your house.

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