LSU Humanistic Psychology and Standards Movement Discussion

LSU Humanistic Psychology and Standards Movement Discussion

Assignment Instructions

After reading over the two reading materials which I have uploaded as separate pdf documents titled “First Reading Material”, and “ Second Reading Material ”, please write a discussion post addressing all of the following questions: *3 main points that stuck out to you from the reading materials with accompanying reflective comments on why you selected these three points. *3 compare and contrast points from the reading materials. Make sure these are distinctly separate compare and contrast points. *3 ways in which you relate the reading materials back to your future as a school psychologist Please use headings to make it clear you are addressing each of the discussion areas. The discussion post should be at least 700 words. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory In this chapter, we will discuss the emergence of humanistic psychology and indicate the extent to which developmental theorists have shared the humanists’ concerns. HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY Psychology and the Humanistic Revolt For centuries, psychology was a topic within philosophy. The term psychology derives from the Greek word psyche, which means soul or life principle. But many Western philosophers, especially since the 16th century, were actually more interested in what we would today call the mind. They discussed how people perceive objects, form memories, associate ideas, and make judgments (Gregory, 1987; Munn et al., 1974). Psychology began to separate from philosophy in the later part of the 19th century, when Wilhelm Wundt tried to make psychology a scientific discipline. Wundt and his colleagues deeply admired the accomplishments of physics, chemistry, and the other natural sciences. They felt that if psychology could only follow in the example of these sciences, it also could accomplish great things. Psychology, too, should strive for the objective, quantitative measurement of isolated variables and the formulation of abstract laws. Wundt tried to analyze consciousness into its basic elements, just like physicists and chemists had done with respect to matter, and he inspired numerous researchers to adopt his approach. After a few decades, however, the investigations of consciousness seemed to lose their promise. By the end of the 1920s, the scientific banner had been taken over by another group, the behaviorists. From Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications, Sixth Edition. William Crain. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc. Published by Pearson Prentice Hall. All rights reserved. 387 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory The behaviorists argued we should confine ourselves to the measurement of overt behavior and the way it is controlled by the observable stimuli in the external environment. Mental processes, they said, cannot be directly observed and therefore have no place in scientific psychology; to study them just opens psychology back up to souls and all kinds of mysticism (Heidbreder, 1933, p. 235). What’s more, the behaviorists pointed out, the study of overt behavior and environmental control has enormous practical value. As we have seen, the behaviorists have introduced a variety of techniques—a “technology of behavior” (Skinner, 1971, p. 3)—to improve learning and to alleviate fears, temper tantrums, and other problems. Skinner even wrote a novel, Walden Two (1948), which described the way one could create a total environment to produce greater human happiness. Early on, however, some psychologists had misgivings about the behavioristic brand of science. During the first half of the 20th century, Gordon Allport, Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, and others argued that behaviorism, whatever its merits, was producing a very one-sided picture of human nature. Humans, they argued, do not consist of only overt responses, nor are they completely controlled by the external environment. People also grow, think, feel, dream, create, and do many other things that make up the human experience. The behaviorists and others, in their emulation of the physical sciences, were ignoring most aspects of life that make humans unique and give them dignity. These humanists were not at all opposed to scientific investigation, but they argued that psychology should address itself to the full range of human experience, not just the aspects that are most readily measurable and under environmental control. For some time, these writers were calling out in the wilderness; their views were far removed from the mainstream in U.S. psychology. But in the 1950s their writings began to attract increasing attention, and a humanistic movement in psychology was born (Misiak & Sexton, 1973, pp. 108–109). Modern humanistic psychology, then, developed primarily in reaction to behavioristically oriented approaches. Humanistic psychology’s relationship to the second main branch of psychology, psychoanalysis, has been more ambivalent. Many humanists have appreciated the psychoanalytic attempt to explore the inner world at its deepest levels. However, humanists have also felt the psychoanalysts have been too pessimistic about human capacities for growth and free choice. Whereas the behaviorists have seen people as exclusively controlled by the external environment, psychoanalysts have viewed people as dominated by irrational forces in the unconscious. Perhaps, humanists have suggested, psychoanalytic theory has been too colored by the study of patients with crippling emotional disorders. Humanists have proposed that people, to a much greater extent than has been realized, are free and creative beings, capable of growth and self-actualization (Maslow, 1962, pp. 189–197). The humanistic psychology movement that started gaining momentum in the 1950s, then, was a reaction against two mainstream forces: behaviorism 388 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory and psychoanalysis. Because of this, one of the movement’s leaders, Abraham Maslow, dubbed humanistic psychology “The Third Force” (1962, p. ix). Since the 1970s, however, the psychological mainstream has increasingly moved in a new direction, turning its attention to cognitive processes. The cognitive revolution was largely inspired by advances in computer technology. Psychologists, like people everywhere, were enormously impressed by the achievements of high-speed computers, and they quickly saw similarities between computers and human thinking. Both computers and humans, psychologists noted, encode, store, and retrieve information, and psychologists began thinking of the mind itself as an “informationprocessing device.” Behaviorists, too, have increasingly included cognitive variables in their theories, and computer-inspired models of human intelligence have captured the interest of scholars in a wide variety of academic disciplines. Philosophers, mathematicians, linguists, computer scientists, and neurologists have all joined the cognitive psychologists, working under the banner of “cognitive science.” Some scholars, to be sure, have stuck more closely to computer models than others, but the general upshot has been a great emphasis on the kinds of thinking that computers facilitate— thinking that is rational and task oriented. Many of today’s top scholars assume that we think best when we clearly define the task, select strategies for solving it, avoid distractions, and self-consciously monitor our progress each step of the way (see, for example, Palinscar & Brown, 1989; Siegler & Alibali, 2005; Wood, 1998). But to humanistic psychologists, the new cognitive models are nearly as one-sided as the old behaviorism. Cognitive models describe thinking as a highly rational and cerebral affair. They leave little room for the emotional aspects of thinking—for empathy, wonder, imagination, and inspiration. The new models also leave out the kinds of experience that phenomenologists highlight—the immediate experience of the world just at it reveals itself to us, before we put it into mental categories (including the categories that allow it to be processed as data by a computational machine). To recap, psychology means the study of the soul, but most 19th-century scientific psychologists were more interested in the workings of the mind. Then, in the early 20th century, behaviorism became the dominant force and discouraged the study of the mind. This sequence of events prompted the joke, “First psychology lost its soul. Then it lost its mind” (Munn et al., 1974, p. 187). But since the 1970s, psychology has returned its full attention to the study of cognitive processes; it has clearly regained its mind. Now the challenge for humanistic psychology is to somehow stimulate mainstream psychology to regain its soul, in the sense of paying attention to inner feelings, creative promptings, and a sense of the wonder of life. To get a fuller understanding of humanistic psychology, let’s look briefly at the life and work of the man who is considered its father, Abraham Maslow. 389 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory Maslow Biographical Introduction. Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of poor Russian immigrant parents. He was a shy, unhappy boy. Although he liked high school, he had trouble adjusting to college. He attended the City College of New York, Cornell University, and finally the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his B.A. and stayed on for graduate work in psychology. Maslow began his career squarely within the scientific mainstream. He received rigorous experimental training under E. L. Thorndike and Harry Harlow and wrote a standard textbook on abnormal psychology (Wilson, 1972, pp. 115–134). In fact, Maslow said that early in his career he was sold on behaviorism (Goble, 1970, p. 11) and in a sense he never repudiated it; he always realized that people are subject to conditioning from the external environment. What increasingly annoyed him was behaviorism’s one-sidedness; people also have an inner life and potentials for growth, creativity, and free choice. Maslow taught at Brooklyn College from 1937 to 1951 and at Brandeis University from 1951 to 1969. During his career, he also saw clients as a clinical psychologist and even spent a summer doing anthropological fieldwork among the Blackfoot Indians in Alberta, Canada (Goble, 1970, p. 12). Maslow’s colleagues have described him as full of curiosity and wonder, chuckling warmly over new ideas (Manuel, 1972). As his work developed, it became increasingly broad and inclusive. He wanted psychology to go beyond rational science and incorporate various ways of knowing, including those of Eastern philosophies. Thus, although Maslow died in 1970, before the cognitive revolution really got under way, he spelled out alternatives to the rational, task-oriented model of thinking that dominates cognitive theory. Maslow’s Ideas. Maslow’s first step in the direction of a humanistic psychology was the formulation of a new theory of motivation (1943). According to this theory, there are six kinds of needs: physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, love needs, self-esteem needs, and, at the highest level, self-actualization needs. These needs are arranged in a hierarchical order such that the fulfillment of lower needs propels the organism on to the next highest level. For example, a man who has a strong physiological need, such as hunger, will be motivated by little else, but when this need is fulfilled, he will move on to the next level, that of safety needs, and when these are satisfied, he will move on to the third level, and so on. In his major works, Maslow was most interested in the highest need— the need for self-actualization. Self-actualization, a concept borrowed from Goldstein (1939), refers to the actualization of one’s potentials, capacities, and talents. To study it, Maslow examined the lives and experiences of the most healthy, creative people he could find. His sample included contemporaries and acquaintances, such as the anthropologist Ruth Benedict, as well as public 390 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory and historical figures, such as Thomas Jefferson and Eleanor Roosevelt (Maslow, 1954, pp. 202–203). Maslow’s key finding was that the self-actualizers, compared to most people, have maintained a certain independence from their society. Most people are so strongly motivated by needs such as belongingness, love, and respect that they are afraid to entertain any thought that others might disapprove of. They try to fit into their society and do whatever brings prestige within it. Self-actualizers, in contrast, are less conforming. They seem less molded and flattened by the social environment and are more spontaneous, free, and natural. Although they rarely behave in unconventional ways, they typically regard conventions with a good-natured shrug of the shoulders. Instead, they are primarily motivated by their own inner growth, the development of their potentials, and their personal mission in life (Maslow, 1954, pp. 223–228). Because self-actualizers have attained a certain independence from their culture, they are not confined to conventional, abstract, or stereotyped modes of perception. When, for example, most people go to a museum, they read the name of the artist below the painting and then judge the work according to the conventional estimate. Self-actualizers, in contrast, perceive things more freshly, naively, and as they really are. They can look at any painting—or any tree, bird, or baby—as if seeing it for the first time; they can find miraculous beauty where others see nothing but the common object (Maslow, 1966, p. 88). In fact, they seem to have retained the creative, open approach that is characteristic of the young child. Like the child, their attitude is frequently “absorbed, spellbound, popeyed, enchanted” (p. 100). Unfortunately, most children lose this approach to life as they become socialized. When such perception is intense, it can be called a “peak experience.” The individual becomes overcome with awe and wonder at the object—a forest, a lover, a baby—and becomes so absorbed and poured into the experience that she loses all self-consciousness. She may even feel a mystical sense of communion with a transcendent beauty and perfection. In any case, there is no effort to name or categorize the object, or use it for any purpose. There is pure delight in what is (Maslow, 1966, chap. 6; 1971, pp. 333–334).1 In many ways, self-actualizers seem like good phenomenologists. Whether or not their perceptions reach the level of peak experiences, they can suspend or go beyond conventional ways of ordering experience. They savor the concrete, raw experience (Maslow, 1966, p. 87). Maslow also likened the self-actualizers’ approach to a “Taoistic letting be,” to a receptive, open appreciation of objects without interfering with them or attempting to control them (Maslow, 1962, p. 86). 1 Peak experiences are not restricted to the perception of beauty but may occur during other activities, such as athletics, dance, or the act of love. During peak experiences, people lose themselves in the moment and everything seems to flow naturally (Maslow, 1968, chaps. 6 and 7). 391 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory Maslow believed psychologists and other scientists could learn much from self-actualizers’ phenomenological and Taoistic approaches. It’s widely assumed that science must proceed in an intellectual, goal-directed manner. As scientists, we must clearly define the purpose of our study and then collect data that help solve the problem or test the hypothesis. In the process, we filter out all the rich experiences of people and things that are outside the purpose of our study. Maslow suggested that before we get caught up in our purposes, hypotheses, and generalizations, we open ourselves to the world on a sensory, prerational, experiential level. We should try to experience the world more freshly and receptively, surrendering ourselves to what moves us and enchants us, like a child does. We will then come up with insights that can later inform our rational, goal-directed work (Maslow, 1966; 1968, p. 184). Maslow reworked his ideas over the years and was not always systematic in the process. But by and large, his overall position was as follows: 1. Humans possess an essential biological, inner nature, which includes all the basic needs and the impulses toward growth and self-actualization (1968, p. 190; 1971, p. 25). 2. This inner core is partly specieswide and partly idiosyncratic, for we all have special bents, temperaments, and abilities (1968, p. 191). 3. Our inner core is a positive force that presses toward the realization of full humanness, just as an acorn may be said to press toward becoming an oak tree. It is important to recognize it is our inner nature, not the environment, that plays the guiding role. The environment is like sun, food, and water; it nourishes growth, but it is not the seed. Social and educational practices should be evaluated not in terms of how efficiently they control the child or get the child to adjust, but according to how well they support and nourish inner growth potentials (1968, pp. 160–161, 211–212). 4. Our inner nature is not strong, like instincts in animals. Rather, it is subtle, delicate, and in many ways weak. It is easily “drowned out by learning, by cultural expectations, by fear, by disapproval, etc.” (1968, p. 191). 5. The suppression of our inner nature usually takes place during childhood. At the start, babies have an inner wisdom with respect to most matters, including food intake, amount of sleep, readiness for toilet training, and the urges to stand up and to walk. Babies will also avidly explore the environment, focusing on the particular things in which they take delight. Their own feelings and inner promptings guide them toward healthy growth. However, socializing agents frequently lack respect for children’s choices. Instead, they try to direct children, to teach them things. They criticize them, correct their 392 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory errors, and try to get them to give the “right” answers. Consequently, children quit trusting themselves and their senses and begin to rely on the opinions of others (1968, pp. 49–55, 150, 198–199). 6. Even though our inner core, with its urge toward self-actualization, is weak, it rarely disappears altogether—even in adulthood. It persists underground, in the unconscious, and speaks to us as an inner voice waiting to be heard. Inner signals can lead even the neurotic adult back to buried capacities and unfulfilled potentials. Our inner core is a pressure we call the “will to health,” and it is this urge on which all successful psychotherapy is based (1968, pp. 192–193). 7. There are a few people—“self-actualizers”—who have remained deeply responsive to their inner natures and urges toward growth. These people are less molded and flattened by cultural pressures and have preserved the capacity to look at the world in a spontaneous, fresh, childlike manner (1968, pp. 207–208). DEVELOPMENTALISTS AS HUMANISTS If Maslow’s ideas sound familiar, they are. Maslow and the modern humanistic psychologists have, without making much note of it, drawn heavily on the developmental tradition that began with Rousseau. Since Rousseau, many developmental theorists have been preoccupied with the same basic problem as Maslow: Children, as they become socialized, quit relying on their own experience and judgments; they become too dependent on conventions and the opinions of others. Thus developmentalists, like the humanists, have been searching for an inner force that will guide the individual toward a healthier, more independent development. Intrinsic Growth Forces Where Maslow speaks of a biological core that directs healthy growth, developmentalists refer to maturation. Maturation is an internal mechanism that prompts children to seek out certain experiences at certain times. Under maturational urging, children regulate their cycles of sleep and eating; learn to sit up, walk, and run; develop an urgent need for autonomy; master language; explore the widening environment; and so on. According to Gesell and others, children, following their own inner schedule and timing, are eminently wise regarding what they need and can do. So, instead of trying to make children conform to our own set schedules and directions, we can let them guide us and make their own choices—as Maslow proposed. 393 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory Nevertheless, as Maslow observed, it is often difficult for us to trust children and the growth process. We seem to have particular difficulty believing children can really learn on their own, without our direction and supervision. But developmentalists have tried to show they can. Montessori, in particular, tried to show that if we will open-mindedly observe children’s spontaneous interests, they will direct us to the tasks on which they will work independently and with the greatest concentration and sense of fulfillment. They will become absorbed in such tasks because the tasks meet inner needs to perfect certain capacities at certain points in development. So we are not forced to take charge of children’s learning, to choose tasks for them, to motivate them by our praise, or to criticize their mistakes—practices that force them to turn to external authorities for guidance and evaluation. Instead, we can trust their maturationally based urges to perfect their own capacities in their own ways. Maslow might have pointed to Montessori as an educator who was thoroughly humanistic in her faith in children’s intrinsic creative powers. Not all developmentalists, of course, are as nativistic as Gesell or Montessori. As we have seen, Piaget, Kohlberg, and the cognitive-developmentalists doubt that biological maturation directly governs the stages of cognitive development. But these theorists also look to children’s independent activities, rather than to external teachings, as the source of developmental change. Children, in their view, are intrinsically curious about the world and reach out for new experiences that lead them to reorganize their cognitive structures. In this sense, the cognitive-developmentalists also share the humanists’ faith in intrinsic capacities for self-directed learning. Interestingly, Maslow’s thoughts on adulthood were also foreshadowed by earlier developmental theorists—especially by Jung. Maslow pointed out how the well-socialized adult, whose inner potentials for self-actualization lie dormant, will still hear inner voices calling for attention. Jung used nearly identical language to describe the crisis of middle life. Prior to middle age, the individual typically concentrates on adjusting to the external, social world, trying to do things that bring social success and prestige and developing those parts of the personality that are suited for this goal. In middle life, however, social success loses its importance, and inner voices from the unconscious direct one to attend to the previously neglected and unrealized parts of the self. The individual increasingly turns inward and considers the discovery and rounding out of the personality more important than social conformity. Thus developmental theorists, like the modern humanistic psychologists, have tried to uncover intrinsic growth factors that stand apart from pressures toward social conformity. At the same time, however, some developmental theorists have been more pessimistic than the humanists about the chances for any substantial improvement based on intrinsic forces. In particular, the Freudians have felt that because maturation brings with it unruly sexual and aggressive impulses, a good measure of social repression will always be necessary. Erikson viewed maturational growth somewhat more 394 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory positively than Freud, calling attention to the maturation of autonomy, initiative, industry, and so on, but he too felt that the other sides of these qualities— shame, doubt, guilt, inferiority, and so on—are inevitable. No child, for example, can become completely autonomous, for societies will always need to regulate the child to some extent. Still, Erikson hoped we can raise children so they can gain as much autonomy, initiative, and as many other virtues as possible. Furthermore, Freudian therapy relies heavily on inner growth forces. Recall how Freud once asked a psychiatrist if he could really cure. When the psychiatrist responded that he could not—that he could only remove some impediments to growth as a gardener removes some stones or weeds—Freud said they would then understand each other. The psychoanalyst’s reliance on intrinsic growth processes is quite evident in Bettelheim’s school. Bettelheim did not try to make disturbed children behave in normal ways, but he tried to provide certain conditions—love, acceptance, empathy—that will enable children to feel it is safe to take steps toward growth on their own. The physician treats patients in essentially the same way. The doctor does not actually heal a cut but only cleans and stitches the wound. The rest is up to nature. Any cure, in psychotherapy or in medicine, partly relies on forces toward health that are out of the doctor’s control. The doctor puts his or her faith in innate forces toward health. Thus developmental theorists, like the humanists, have tried to discover the nature of intrinsic growth forces and to devise educational and therapeutic methods based on them. And, to a considerable extent, developmental writers had been working on these tasks long before the modern humanistic movement in psychology even began. Romanticism Theories that extol the virtues of nature and biological forces, as opposed to society, are often called Romantic. In this sense, Maslow, as well as Rousseau and the maturationists, are strongly Romantic. Rousseau, in fact, is often credited with the origin of Romantic thought. Another aspect of Romanticism is a fondness for the past. This attraction is quite evident in Maslow; he looked upon infancy and childhood as times when we were more closely in touch with our natural urges and possessed a more spontaneous and creative outlook. As children, he said, we perceived the world more freshly, directly, and imaginatively than we typically do as wellsocialized adults. Maslow recognized the value of mature, adult thought, but he also saw the need to learn to regress temporarily to more childlike modes of experience. Rousseau, too, “romanticized the past.” He suggested that we were happier and more independent as savages, and he saw childhood as a potentially happy and innocent time in which we live in close harmony with nature. 395 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory In modern developmental theory, perhaps the most thoroughgoing Romantic was Schachtel, who contrasted the richly sensuous experiences of infancy and the open curiosity of childhood with the stereotyped, conventional thought of most adults. Neither Rousseau nor Schachtel, however, clearly specified ways in which we, as adults, might recapture childlike modes of experience. For such a conceptualization, we are particularly indebted to Werner. Werner suggested that we continually engage in a process called microgenesis, beginning each new thought or perception at primitive levels before moving on to more advanced forms of cognition. Thus the primitive modes of experience are continually available to us. Ordinarily, Werner observed, we do not engage in primitive imagery in a very full way, but we do so when we are most creative, when we truly begin anew. At these moments our impressions become particularly rich and sensuous; for primitive images are fused with emotion, sensation, and imaginative qualities. Creative thinking, of course, does not stop with such images; it goes on to articulate and structure them. Nevertheless, Werner emphasized, creativity begins with a responsiveness to early forms of experience—a view shared by the psychoanalysts who speak of “regressions in the service of the ego.” Not all writers in the developmental tradition, we should note, have been Romantic. The cognitive-developmentalists, in particular, have generally been unimpressed by the distinctive virtues of childlike thinking. Piaget observed that we continue to use early sensorimotor schemes and cognitive operations, but he saw nothing special in the imaginative, fanciful thinking of the preoperational child, and he never suggested that creative people regress to it. Similarly, Kohlberg never seemed impressed by the concept of regression. In his view, stages of moral reasoning simply reflected increasing levels of cognitive adequacy, so there was no point to regressing to earlier stages. Not all developmentalists, then, have placed a special premium on childlike modes of thought. Most, to be sure, have argued that childhood thinking has unique qualities, but not all have been so enamored with these qualities that they have urged us to recapture them. Still, a Romantic attraction to childhood is one theme that runs through a good deal of humanistic psychology and developmental theory. Phenomenology Another central component of modern humanistic psychology is a phenomenological orientation. This orientation or method includes what may be called a “phenomenological suspension.” One tries to suspend one’s theoretical preconceptions and customary categories and tries to see people and things as openly and freshly as possible—to see them as they really are. This approach, as we have seen, was the starting point of Rousseau’s developmental philosophy. Rousseau argued that children have their own ways of seeing, thinking, 396 Humanistic Psychology and Developmental Theory and feeling, and that we know nothing about these; we therefore must refrain from investing children with our own thoughts and take the time to simply observe them, listen to them, and let them reveal their unique characteristics to us. Later, Piaget and Montessori emphasized the same point. The ethologists, too, may be said to employ a phenomenological suspension. Before an ethologist forms any hypothesis or builds any theory, he or she first simply tries to learn about and describe as much about a particular species as possible. To do this, ethologists believe, we must observe animals in their natural habitats, not in the laboratory. In psychology, phenomenology usually implies a second step. Phenomenological psychologists usually suspend preconceptions in order to enter into the inner world of the other. They try to open themselves to the other’s direct experience, to see things through the other’s eyes. Developmental theorists have been less consistent in taking this second step. Those who have worked the hardest to learn about children’s inner worlds are Schachtel and the psychoanalysts. Schachtel tried to gain insight into the infant’s unique modes of perception, and the psychoanalyst Bettelheim, for example, constantly asked himself, “How does the world look and feel to this child?” Other writers, however, have been less interested in perceiving the world through the child’s eyes. Gesell wanted us to be open to children’s own needs and interests, but he primarily observed their external motor behavior. Werner gave us insights into how the world might look to the child—how, for instance, it might appear full of life and feeling—but he mostly discussed the child’s mental life from the outside, analyzing it in terms of concepts such as differentiation and integration. Similarly, Piaget provided valuable insights into the young child’s unique experiences—how objects change with momentary perceptions, how dreams seem real, how morals seem imposed by authorities, and so forth—but Piaget, too, primarily examined the young child’s thought from the outside, analyzing it in terms of logical structures. The ethologists also primarily look at behavior from an external point of view. A knowledge of how the world looks to children (and adults) at different stages will not be easy to come by. Young children are not sufficiently verbal to tell us how the world appears to them, and infants cannot tell us anything at all. One approach may be the study of spontaneous interests. For example, Montessori showed how young children attend to minute details and are concerned about anything out of place. These observations give us two clues concerning the young child’s perceptual world. Young children also seem to perceive life where we do not, and they may be particularly interested in objects, such as cars, balls, or balloons, which, with a little imagination, take on human qualities. It would seem important to record every aspect of the environment that children find uniquely interesting. To structure such studies, we might follow the lead of Martha Muchow, who observed how children of different ages responded to typical settings in their everyday envi- 397





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