Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Foster Care and Montessori: Human Needs

Montessori has identified a specific set of human needs and tendencies - through her anthropological studies and through careful observation of many children and adults around the world across socio-economic levels, mental abilities and cultures.

Check those links for more details. In summary, the human needs are the following:

The five (5) physical needs of human beings include 
  • sufficient food
  • appropriate clothing
  • shelter
  • defense
  • transportation

The four (4) spiritual needs human beings include 
  • love
  • arts/music
  • vanitas (to improve and embellish one’s environment)
  • religion

And the human tendencies that aid in fulfilling those needs are the following:

  • exploration
  • orientation 
  • order
  • communication
  • to know/to reason
  • abstraction
  • imagination
  • the mathematical mind
  • work
  • repetition
  • exactness
  • activity
  • manipulation 
  • self-perfection
Each human need and tendency has historical implications, as well as cultural, modern, practical, educational, spiritual and physical implications. 

Let's look at just the needs for a few moments:
sufficient food, appropriate clothing, shelter, defense, transportation, love, arts/music, vanitas (to improve and embellish one’s environment), religion

And what do you suppose we learned in the last of our resource parent trainings?

The human needs - and how they pertain to a foster child.

We were given an exercise - consider the 9 needs that they listed, fill out a form with information for each one of them as it is fulfilled in our own lives. Separate the sections of the form so that all 9 are a separate piece of paper.

Now, the instructor comes around with a recycle bin - give up 3 or he will take from you of his own choice!

How do you feel? Angry, frustrated, confused... Lost.

Give up 3 more - quick! Here he comes! He'll take the three he chooses!

Now you have 3 remaining. Lost.

Now two more!? Might as well take them all - depression, giving up, suicide (if this were real) - you've taken everything from me, what does the rest matter now? Nothing is precious. Nothing is truly mine. I have lost everything....

Information/Knowledge, Significant Person, Group. Meaningful Role, Means of Support or being provided for, Source of Joy, System of Values, History, Place

sufficient food, appropriate clothing, shelter, defense, transportation, love, arts/music, vanitas (to improve and embellish one’s environment), religion

It doesn't matter how you organize them, quantify them, define them --- they are fundamental human needs that can be recognized anywhere we actually pay attention. And how can anyone live a healthy fulfilled life without ALL of them?

Information/Knowledge: defense, transportation
Significant Person: love
Group: love, defense, religion
Meaningful Role: love, religion
Means of Support: sufficient food, appropriate clothing
Source of Joy: arts/music
System of Values: religion
History: religion, love (in this sense, history is about having a purpose in one's life)
Place: shelter, vanitas

Children will do what they need to do to get these fulfilled - or cut themselves off from them so they don't get hurt again. This is why children act out - even in trying to push people away and hurt people. They just want to fulfill their own lives - out of pain or love, their tendencies will get them there.

LOVE them.

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