Montessori said that the children learn by unconsciously soaking in everything around them. She calls this as Absorbent Mind. The newborns have to learn everything. They have no tools, no language or conscious will to learn. They must acquire the survival skills in some other way. Using their senses, the children create themselves by absorbing the environment through the very act of living. They do this easily and naturally, without thought or choice.
Their mind is like a:
- Sponge with non-selective absorption
- Camera taking photos – very accurate, very specific and along with the background where the information is taken in, with no modification or change.
This incredible accurate absorption takes place very quickly and within a short span of time. Montessori discovered that knowledge is taken into their psychic through the senses. It forms the part of the individual’s psyche and cannot be erased all their life. They actually construct themselves. Knowledge is retained, fixed, consolidated and organised without any effort, yet so perfectly that they can generalise the concept. Absorbent mind is not ruled by will. Impressions are wholly absorbed and does not differentiate between easy and difficult.
Montessori saw the absorbent mind in two phases.