MA Blogger: Brenda Bernstorf
The four stages of man are infancy, childhood adolescence, and obsolescence.
Art Linkletter was joking of course, but did you notice that he did not say average was an option? In The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness, Todd Rose asks the question “How did our society come to place such unquestioning faith in the idea of the average person?
Historically Rose traces the idea of average back to 1819 and a twenty-three year old Belgian scientist named Adolphe Quetelet. The idea has become so pervasive that anyone considered below the average threshold is seen to be inferior or lacking. His idea has taken on the idea that average is normal. One of his most devout followers, Francis Galton, expanded the idea to include a ranking system.
So how has this affected us? The average brain looks like…the average child develops….the average man or woman looks like….weighs…the average bmi….
The fundamental flaw is that an average is a composite of measurements. Rose starts the book with the story of how the Air Force created airplanes for “average” pilots and discovered the system was designed to fail since no pilot actually fit the average. This led to adjustable seats, adjustable pedals, etc.
Maria Montessori stressed the importance of follow the child not averages. Children develop at different rates. The average child walks at age….talks at age….reads at age….
The Montessori environment is developmentally adaptable encouraging learning in all areas and children learn at their own pace.