As Montessori parents, we have all heard about the Montessori reputation. “Montessori programs are for entitled parents who spoil their children. After all, in the ‘real world’ grades are grades and failure is a very real option. Children have to learn to function in the norm, otherwise they will be lost.”
So when PopSugar recently published “10 Signs That Your Child Is Spoiled”, as a Montessori parent and blogger, I can tell you, ironically, that those stated child characteristics will never be found in a Montessori student, and here’s why.
- “Your child throws tantrums, frequently”. From birth up, Montessori’s philosophy is “Follow the Child”. With a child-centered focus as given, there is no need to tantrum for attention.
- “She isn’t ever satisfied”. Montessori classrooms are carefully prepared developmentally-appropriate environments. A learning-centered emphasis with hands-on materials inspire the imagination of children and actively “call” them to explore and discover. Enriched environments nurture successive learning. Satisfaction spurs each child to accomplish, and seek out, higher order skills in succession. Dissatisfaction is not an option.
- “He isn’t helpful”. Montessori children are routinely heard urging “I want to do it myself”. A major tenet of the Montessori method is the assumption that each day offers children an opportunity to discover their capabilities within everyday tasks and activities of life. “Children find their sense of belonging through helping the adult and participating in every part of the cycle of home life,” Patricia Oriti states in “At Home with Montessori”.
- “He tries to control adults”. Teachers in a Montessori classroom act as mentors and guides. “A directress should give space to students and let them work according to their own interest. She should respect and protect their freedom. She may present interesting and relevant lessons and then free students to work according to their interest and generate new ideas and meet their needs.” Montessori.com. There is no need to try and control an adult who is both encouraging and facilitating a child’s freedom and independence.
- “He frequently embarrasses you in public”. Flora McCormick, a Counselor and Parenting Coach in Bozeman Montana, describes Montessori as “creating a culture of respect. The teaching style involves taking every opportunity to model respect for self, others, and the environment.” A respectful child would never embarrass another intentionally.
- “She won’t share”. Montessori education incorporates the use of multi-age classrooms which enables children to help and inspire each other. Mixed-age groupings promote cooperation and collaboration on every level. Children not only share as a matter of status quo, but teach and learn from each other instinctively.
- “You have to beg him”. A child who routinely respects others and views cooperation as the norm does not have to be snookered.
- “He ignores you”. Adults in the Montessori environment observe, guide and enhance a child’s experience. They follow the child along his path, and join him so learning occurs as a shared experience. To ignore such an adult would be to ignore oneself.
- “She won’t play alone”. Individualized education is a cornerstone of Montessori programming. This encourages independence, and develops self-esteem. Working alone is knee-jerk for an independent child who values herself intrinsically.
- “You have to bribe him”. See number 7. And appreciate being able to walk the high road with your child’s integrity.