Hi again Earthhugmama (LOVE your screen name, btw)
I happened to see a Preschool Power video at the library, and decided to watch it to give a more informed opinion. I was sort of surprised to see the "Consultants" listed as "certified montessori directresses" and slightly disappointed as well. My first thought (honestly) was "they must be AMS"...sure enough, the M school at Winston Salem is AMS. The reason I thought this is because AMS feels that directresses can make conceptual changes to the theory based on cultural specifics. I think that encouraging children to learn from watching tv is too big a divergence from Montessori theories of how children learn best (because it is not tactile). I do not know any Montessorians who advocate using television for children at this age. Montessori wrote extensively about handing the child concrete and tangible objects because at this stage of development, the child has sensitive periods for language, movement, order, refinement of the senses and social relations. She established the connection between manipulation and brain development. She wrote in detail about creating neurological synapsis through sensorial stimulation. This is not what happens when a child watches tv. Watching tv encourages lethargy and is antisocial. The only sensorial information one receives is visual and auditory. (no gustatory, olfactory, tactile, stereognostic) Montessori wrote about learning through all the senses. I have seen recent research speculating about the negative effect that the repeated light impulses may have on development of the eye and brain. This is still being decided. It is so much better to learn from an actual person, better yet, another (slightly older) child. This is definitely what Montessori had in mind, but not the virtual reality kind.
I did like the nice materials they used. Real and handmade objects are much more interesting than plastic. There was a nice assortment of woods, metal and glass.
Somewhat groovy songs.
Some of the ideas for children's activities are wonderful (I especially like the baking, not so much the art projects) and could be happening in the home. You can find tons of ideas for similar activities in books! But I completely disagree that merely watching another child perform these skills will help your child become self-confident, and in this way, I feel that the producers of this video are being misleading. They show no understanding whatsoever of sensitive periods, absorbent mind or human tendencies. There is no time for exploration, repetition or cycle of activity in video land. Also, I feel that the activities are structured for "product" over "process". Social interaction, so fundamental to M theory, is missing as well.
I didn't show it to my daughter, I was thinking about it to see her reaction, but we never got the chance. She does watch entertainment videos occasionally (2-4 hours a month). I am interested in going tv free myself.
I was glad to see your last post about foregoing the videos all together. Contrary to tomkat, I really don't believe that this is how children learn best, if even there is any learning going on at all. I believe that the child can learn to repeat many things from tv, videos, tapes, etc...but whether or not s/he has really learned (meaning she can apply the knowledge) is debatable. It is hard to separate what the child learn from experience vs. tv. Alot of time, the child's learning is internal and therefore, difficult to quantify. What I am saying is that I don't think the child learned numbers, colors and so on only from her experiences with the tv...but primarily from her experiences in the real world, through her senses.