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Assignment: Comparing Educational Philosophies



  1. William Crain (2005) Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall) Chapter 4: Montessori’s Educational Philosophy, pp. 65-82. (see attached)
  2. William Crain (2005) Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall) Chart on p. 115: Piaget’s General Periods of Development. (see attached)
  3. Catherine C. Lewis. (1995). Educating Hearts and Minds. (New York: Cambridge Press.), Chapter 2: the Preschool Experience: Play, Community, Reflection, pp 18 -35. (see attached)
  4. Short videos from England:

These short videos on “the daily mile” relate to our study of the Japanese preschool. and the amount of physical activity built into the program. In first grade (not kindergarten) in Japan, there is 20 minutes of wild free play outside between each academic subject. They never talk about ADHD (hyperactivity) in Japanese preschool and in England they find students’ academic scores go up since they began running the mile in the morning before classes.


This is an essay.

Assignment: Maria Montessori and Japanese Preschool.

Focus of this assignment: You will have an opportunity to evaluate two quite different ways to teach and work with preschool children in two different cultures. Please read readings 1, 2, 3, and 4 and write a discussion posting that compares and contrasts these two philosophies of education.

Guiding questions: I am asking you to compare a written essay about Montessori’s teaching ideas a century ago (early 1900s) with the Japanese Preschool program today. Quite a comparison! We do not have lots of information, but I believe you can still learn a lot about the range of programs that can help children prepare necessary skills for school and for fitting into their societies. The guiding questions are provided so you have an idea of important issues in this assignment.

  1. How do Maria Montessori’s ideas differ from those of the preschool teachers in Japan? What were Montessori’s methods? Do children work in groups or alone? What motivates children in a Montessori classroom?
  2. How do the children Maria Montessori worked with in the early 1900s differ from children today in the Japanese preschool? Please explain how Montessori directed her efforts to literacy and why.
  3. What aspects do you especially appreciate about Maria Montessori’s methods?
  4. What aspects do you especially appreciate about the Japanese Preschool experience today?
  5. How does the preschool in Japan reflect the important values in Japanese society?
  6. Let’s think about preschool and kindergarten here in the United States. If you are familiar with those programs, please offer your ideas about the differences among the three groups. (If you are not familiar with these programs, you do not need to discuss this comparison.)
  7. Please discuss the ideas that you especially liked, the ideas that surprised you, and your overall impressions of Montessori’s work and of the operation of the Japanese preschool.
  8. What new and interesting ideas do you have about parenting your own children?

Length of posting: Your posting should be two pages, double spaced, APA, with Abstract. A little more length is fine. I am more concerned about your interest and thoughts about the ideas. (Too short would be one-half page, double spaced!)

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