Work Models

  1. Flow Model
  2. Sequence Model
  3. Artifact Model
  4. Cultural Model
  5. Physical Model
  6. Metaphors


  1. Design Problem
  2. Literature Review
  3. Work Models
  4. Design Patterns
  5. Design Experiments
  6. Lesson Ideas
  7. Montessori Computes
  8. Thinking About Circles

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Patterns and Design


Metaphors and Age Appropriateness

Back in 1997 I interviewed Montessori teachers at four Chicago area Montessori schools that taught children up to 12 years of age (Leone, 1997).  We talked about whether computers actually belong in a Montessori classroom, and if so, when they should be introduced.

Every Montessori elementary school I contacted had computers in their classrooms for children 9 and older.  Most made computers available to kids at age six, some at age three. 

Some teachers felt that no child should use a computer before age 9.  Others had computers in classrooms for 3-6 year olds.  Others had kids start at age six.  There was no agreement among Montessori “experts”, either.  In Montessori Today, Paula Polk Lillard (1996) advocates the hands-off-until-age-9 position.  Peter Gebhardt-Seele (1985) recommends excluding computers from the classroom until the child is six years old, and John Chattin-McNichols (1992) suggests in The Montessori Controversy that graphic drawing programs with graphic pad input are appropriate for the 3-6 classroom.

The recommendations made by Lillard and Chattin-McNichols are clearly influenced by their selection of metaphors.  Montessori conceived of the “museum of machines” as a place for adolescents (Lillard, 1996, p. 159)Lillard places the computer among these machines, and she recommends that children don’t use computers until age 9.  Chattin-McNichols compares the computer with other practical life materials and with picture books, both of which can be found in the 3-6 classroom, and he finds computers appropriate for children aged 3 to 6.