Dr Montessori emphasises the importance of the development of imagination.How do cultural activities in a Montessori prepared environment aid in this development? Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability of forming mental images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses.Imagination is the work of the mind that helps create fantasy.
Imagination helps provide meaning to experience and understanding to knowledge; it is a fundamental facility through which people make sense of the world, and it also plays a key role in the learning process.A basic training for imagination is the listening to storytelling, in which the exactness of the chosen words is the fundamental factor to ‘evoke worlds.
‘ Imagination is the faculty through which we encounter everything. The things that we touch, see and hear coalesce into a “picture” via our imagination. Imagination is the power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality. It is a creative ability or mental capacity for experiencing, constructing and manipulating mental images.Imagination is responsible for the entire range of fantasy, original and insightful thought and sometimes for a much wider range of mental activities.
With children and their development, nothing is more important than imagination to help with the growth of thought processes and creativity. Children that are able to get away from it all and place themselves, mentally, in another world are more likely to be able to think “outside the box” and produce more creative results when learning and working.For this reason, the importance of imagination cannot be underestimated and should be encouraged when raising children. Curiosity holds an important place in the minds of kids because it helps provide them with the will to explore objects and places that they do not know. Children become curious from a very young age and begin to wonder about various notions in this broad universe, but it is imagination that helps carry the child beyond the boundaries of imagination and into a new world of discovery. It is imagination that begins to develop and occupy a very vital place in a child’s mental world.With imagination, a child can move mountains, transport himself to a distant world, make himself smaller or larger, or disappear from sight.
Imagination allows children to form new ideas and explore old ideas, all at once. For children with more to escape in their unfortunate realities, such as abuse victims or children with separated parents, imagination plays an even more critical role in development as it aids with coping. When children get scared, it is important to show them compassion and belonging. This can be accomplished through the use of imagination at play.Doll houses, miniature worlds, board games, role-playing games, or even a simple tent in the backyard can promote imagination in small children as they are influenced through the limitless boundaries of the creative world. With more than these in mind, Dr Montessori emphasises the importance of imagination in children. Maria Montessori said “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world”.
When she said this, she also meant that imagination is one of the child’s potential that can be broadened over time.However Dr Montessori only emphasized imagination but not fantasy. She felt that young children would not be able to differentiate between reality and fiction if they got too much idea about fantasy. It is a fairly common concern among Montessori parents and critics of the method that Montessori discouraged imaginative play. Montessori herself says this: “Adults, even thought they punish or patiently tolerate the errant and unruly actions of these disordered children, actually favor and encourage their fantasies, interpreting them as the creative tendencies of a child’s mind.Froebel invented many of his games to encourage the development of a child’s imagination along these lines..
. Toys furnish a child with an environment that has no particular goal and , as a consequence, they cannot provide it with any real mental concentration but only illusions…. ‘divided’ children of this sort are regarded, particularly in school, as being highly intelligent, even if they lack order, neatness, and discipline. ” There is a clear distinction between fantasy and imagination.
The Montessori learning environment is much different than the traditional model. Instead of information passing from the teacher to the student, the teacher is skilled in putting the child in touch with the environment, and helping him learn to make intelligent choices and to carry out research in a prepared environment. The teacher then protects the student’s concentration from interruption. This fosters a love of lifetime learning in the student.