1. Kids have complete freedom
Children are granted a profound sense of autonomy and independence, a foundational principle in Montessori education. We empower even the youngest among us by offering them choices and ensuring our living spaces are designed to support their development, bolstering their self-assurance and inner drive. However, it’s crucial to clarify that this independence is granted within well-defined, secure boundaries, tailored to each child’s age and stage of development. We refer to this as “freedom within limits.”
Within this framework, we extend opportunities for choice while setting explicit boundaries. Young children thrive on predictability, and they seek assurance that responsible adults are overseeing their well-being and ensuring a secure environment. When these limits are inconsistent or unclear, children may test their boundaries to discern what’s permissible and what isn’t, ultimately aiming to restore a sense of predictability to their surroundings.
To illustrate, consider the freedom to determine their meal portion size – a choice that’s granted. However, the limit exists in the form of eating while seated and the food selection, which is decided by the adults. Similarly, the freedom to select bedtime stories is encouraged, with the limit set at reading three books. Lastly, the freedom to engage in boisterous play is permitted, but the limit guides where this exuberant activity should take place – outside.
2. The Shelf is the most important part of Montessori
‘The Shelf’ does not hold the pivotal role in Montessori education, although a cursory glance at online resources might suggest otherwise. In reality, Montessori’s essence transcends the physical confines of a shelf.
The most invaluable element within your child’s environment is, unquestionably, YOU. Prioritizing your own preparation stands as the foundational prerequisite for every Montessori endeavour. Our language, attitude, and interactions with our children wield a profound impact, eclipsing the influence of any objects neatly arranged on a shelf.
Montessori embraces a holistic approach to learning, one that fully engages our senses. It encourages learning through dynamic movement and tactile exploration. Above all, it fosters a deep connection with the splendid natural world in which we reside. The most abundant wellspring of learning we can bestow upon our children extends far beyond the confines of a home shelf; it encompasses the magnificent and bountiful natural world that envelops us.
3. Pretend play isnt’ allowed
Pretend play may appear to be discouraged in Montessori during the early years, but in reality, it is a misperception to say that it is actively discouraged.
This impression often arises from the pronounced emphasis placed on the tangible aspects of life over the realm of fantasy. In the Montessori approach, the focus is on fostering genuine activities that impart knowledge about our world and provide children with immersive sensory experiences. Additionally, there’s a preference for literature and materials that mirror the real world. When young children engage with books that depict actual places, people, and animals, they cultivate a profound sense of wonder for the world they inhabit. These reality-based materials play a pivotal role in helping children comprehend the vastness of our world.
Allowing young children the freedom to lead their own imaginative play leads to the creation of scenes that mirror real-world experiences or scenes from their books. Pretend play serves as a vital avenue for them to navigate novel situations and experiment with new concepts. When we furnish toddlers and young children with a diverse array of experiences from the real world, their imaginative play flourishes, becoming all the more enriching and enjoyable for them. Sometimes, pretend play takes the form of dollhouses, while other times it involves the inventive use of materials from the shelf itself, showcasing the breadth of their creativity.
4. Children are forced to do chores
At times, observers may witness toddlers earnestly engaged in tasks like washing windows or 3-year-olds meticulously sweeping the floor and mistakenly interpret this as a form of coercion. In truth, our approach is rooted in modelling and seamlessly incorporating cleaning into our daily routines. It’s not a matter of imposition but rather an invitation extended to even the youngest toddlers to actively participate in our everyday activities. In the Montessori philosophy, we believe in including toddlers in these tasks, nurturing their sense of importance and contribution.
As children progress into their preschool years, we gently encourage the habit of tidying up after oneself – for instance, promptly addressing spills by wiping them clean. The primary objective here isn’t to compel children to be meticulous cleaners but rather to cultivate in them a sense of personal responsibility, a genuine concern for our shared environment, and the ability to collaborate effectively within our family or community. We serve as role models, demonstrating these principles and offering assistance as needed. The ultimate aim is to instill a profound sense of unity and collective responsibility.