When did you ever hear that to be of importance in Early Childhood Education. If anything most adults believe their role to be to do as much as possible for the child.
How often do we hear the child say, “ME DO”! The adult wants to help, the child wants to do. The adult wants a quicker outcome, the child is enjoying the process of DOING AND BEING.
This is the core difference of Montessori and Mainstream Education. Montessori Education is in service to the child’s innate need to become independent. If they did not have this desire – they would have a challenging time learning to walk. Think about it – a life long skill like walking – and the child found the intrinsic motivation to look for support and eventually walk. We don’t teach them ‘how to walk’.
The child is born with unimaginative powers to learn. We adults have to learn to support them in a manner that facilitates their natural development and not disturb this natural course. This applies to every area of the child’s development.
Montessori Classrooms provide an environment that fosters the child’s natural desire to become independent. As the child grows into an independent being, they develop self confidence, self esteem and the physical muscular skills to manoeuvre through a variety of activities necessary for their cognitive development.
Independence is the focal point of the child’s development and very few adults find it natural to foster this in the child. Therefore it becomes necessary, that Montessori educators and parents if they so wish to be trained to refrain from becoming an obstacle in the child’s growth and instead become the facilitator – the guide.
Dr. Montessori’s work was not patented and therefore it is only through training and continuously self / professional development that most educators set a strong example of Independence in the classroom.
When searching for an authentic and strong Montessori program look for:
- children working individually and independently
- they will be working happily and appear satisfied well adjusted individuals of the group
- the teacher will in quiet gentle manner be giving lessons or observing
- the entire classroom will be busy but calm
Remember – children do not thrive in Chaos. They thrive when it is peaceful and calm around them.