Question: Genes determine the maximum potential of a person’s intelligence, character, disposition and environmental conditions determine the extent to which this potential can be achieved. Discuss the statement from your understanding of the spiritual embryo and the importance of hereditary (nature) and environment (nurture) in its development as analyses by Maria Montessori. Many of the genes men carry are similar from one person to the other. However, it is the mix of these genes (determined by parentage), makes each one unique. The reason for this is because during conception each parent passes on half of his/her genes to the unborn child (that is the physical embryo). The gene is contained in the child’s colour of eyes, hair, height, weight complexion, intelligence, personality and so on. Secondary to the genetic inheritance, the environment can also affect a child’s development, both the prenatal and postnatal physiological development; the environment exerts considerable influence on a child’s development through the school environment, religious environment, neighbourhood where the child resides etc. What determines how a child develops? Really, it would be difficult to account for each and every influence that ultimately determines who a child becomes. However, it is essential to discuss some of the most apparent influences such as genetics (Nature), experiences, friends, family relationships, schools (Nurture) in order to understand the influences that help contribute to a child's growth. These influences can be seen as building blocks. While most people tend to have the same basic building blocks, these components can be put together in countless number of ways. How much of who a man is, is shaped by the genetic inheritance, and how much is a result of his lifetime of experiences? This question has confused philosophers, psychologists and educators for years and is often referred to as the “nature versus nurture debate”. Is the child the result of nature (genetic background) or is he the result of nurture (the environment)? Maria Montessori held that the first period of life is the most crucial in the life of an individual, and this can be seen in the first day of an infant that is how infants are cared for physically on the first day. To get a better knowledge of the mental development of an infant, Maria Montessori used the analogy of the human embryo. According to her, man has two (2) embryonic periods: The Prenatal: this is the moment of conception up until the birth of the child; it is the ten (10) months period of the child in the womb. The development of a child starts when the male reproductive cell, or sperm, penetrates the protective outer membrane of the female reproductive cell, or ovum. The sperm and ovum each contain chromosomes that act as a blueprint for human life as laid down by the ancestors. Contained in the genes as earlier said are the colours of eyes, hair, height, weight complexion, intelligence, personality and so on. Aside the genes much may happen to determine whether the potential will be realized or not. For example the mother’s diet, alcohol intake, whether she smokes or takes her medication regularly, though the child is safe in the amniotic sac, these or any of these factors may affect the development and well-being of the child within the period in the womb. The fetus at this stage is known as the “Physical Embryo”. The Postnatal: this is also known as the “Spiritual Embryo”. It is the point from birth to the age of three years, it the child's psyche from birth to age 3 " the psyche means everything that is not physical about the child" that is the mind, personality, intellect, spirit and soul. At this stage Montessori believes that like the Physical Embryo the Spiritual Embryo also need to be well taken care of. Montessori said that despite the seemingly feel that the child is born blank she believes that the child in infancy has in him a legacy inherited from the ancestors....
Bibliography: Heritage House Centre Class Notes 2014
Maria Montessori. 2011 The Secret of Childhood. New Delhi India. Orient Blackswan Private Limited
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