In the GAM central department was set up a Montessori museum – MEMO– which also included an events room. The exhibition holds a series of educational materials designed by the great Italian educator Maria Montessori.
The Montessori materials are simple, rational, logical objects designed to offer the child different tools to explore the natural and human reality. They help him to develop the ability to sort the myriad of stimulations coming from the external environment. Their purpose is to give the child the opportunity to classify all the possible attributes which compose reality: colour, shape, size, loudness, roughness, weight, heat, smell, taste, etc.
By visiting the room you can watch the “development materials” classified by themes:
Practical life activities are carried out for two purposes: 1) to take care of the environment (reordering, setting the table, washing, taking care of animals and plants, etc.) and 2) the person (dressing, undressing, washing, grooming, etc.). These activities constitute an extraordinarily natural form of psychomotor exercises to help develop coordination of movement and concentration.
The importance attributed by Maria Montessori to the sensory experiences in the development of the child’s faculties is reflected in the fundamental role of the educational material. Through the manipulation and the reasoning stimulated by this educational material the mechanism of self-learning or self-education is encouraged.
Written language, and the mechanism of writing and reading:
Through the contact and the exploration of the environment the child is preparing for higher intelligence acquisitions, such as learning to write in all its stages: from the exercise of the metal insets with geometric shapes to the exercise with sandpaper letters on wooden tablets, up to the movable alphabet with individual letters.
The teaching of numbers and arithmetic:
When the child is introduced to writing and reading, he is also prepared to understand the figures representing numbers. The child’s mind needs to be fed with concrete and accurate materials, which is why he is given clear and precise tools that are specifically made for him to help satisfy these needs.
Science – Geography – History:
Hunger for knowledge of our world, both animate and inanimate, strongly stimulates the child’s desire to learn; he plunges into it with the same enthusiasm of a true artist who gives himself up to the inspiration of his muse to understand her voice and interpret her soul and musicality. The field of geography is another area of culture that fascinates the child where he can be led by his intellectual capacity. Here, more than in other disciplines, he can wander from one point of the globe to the other, looking at islands, seas, continents … and the whole world, his thirst for knowledge never quenched.