A person (actually a teacher in Texas, I think) who posts on Facebook as “Maria Montessori” has linked to a series of videos over the past week having to do with the Pink Tower, which is one of the most recognizable materials in a Montessori Primary classroom. The first is an overview of the material by Ginni Sackett, the Primary trainer at Montessori Institute Northwest, which is the AMI teacher training center in Portland, OR. It’s just her talking, but Ginni is brilliant and knows her stuff, so she is very much worth listening to.
The second is a video of a child actually building a Pink Tower. One of my favorite things about this is how well it shows the self-correcting aspect of the Pink Tower. You can see the child figure out that he hasn’t got it right and then figure out how to unbuild until he can put the blocks on in the right order. No adult intervention needed. In fact, there are no adults in that entire video. But my absolute favorite thing about this video is the look on the boy’s face at the end when he finishes the tower. Now that’s satisfaction..
And the third is a video by someone (or someones) who does not get it.
This video makes me so sad. Why doesn’t the child have arms? Why does there need to be a person with a machine to move all the blocks? The great thing about the Pink Tower is how well it empowers a three year old. A child can move the pieces, figure out what piece comes next, put the tower together, and decide when she’s gotten it right all by herself. But in this video, the child can’t do any of that. Why in god’s name would a small child care about unions and whether there’s a proper work order? Those are adult issues. Why does the little girl need someone to talk her through every step of putting the tower together? Why does she need to be told “okay, it’s time to go off to the next station now” after the tower gets put together? Why do the blocks need to talk? Why does the small block need to move all by itself despite being a block? And why, oh why must the child be instructed to choose the next block correctly in a song?
Why do people do these things?