There’s Liberty and Discipline in the Montessori Classroom

“The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent from the adult” – Maria Montessori

Discipline with liberty might seem as the toughest aspect of an environment for parents to maintain. The topic is important, yet heavy. But thinking of Montessori education system brings rather a beautiful balance of the two. 

If you’re concerned about your child’s future and his/her present more accurately, want your child to be well behaved, well taught, has skills, has a mind that innovates, has brilliance embedded and explored, and has the confidence to make decisions and lead – you need to look into Milton Montessori class up close:

Makes Good Choice 

Montessori school system allows a child to enjoy freedom. They are allowed to make their own choices, while it’s okay to let them make decisions and choose – if every choice is a good one. Some people thing that in Montessori education, the child can just run wild. The truth is that, children are allowed to move freely in a controlled environment where every available choice is a good one. So, the child gets to choose only the good (with as much freedom as possible).

Freedom Management 

It’s very natural for the child to show “non-peaceful behavior” at times. Montessori uses this term instead of ‘disobedience’ as it sounds a little nicer. This happens when child finds it difficult to handle the freedom that comes with Milton Montessori class environment. However, this is where observation becomes important. 

The key practice of Montessori system is to treat each child with in a specific way. Since, every child differs from the other, in ability of making choices, in understanding, some might need rules while some might be good without them, and others might repeatedly test guidelines left by their peers. Montessori school manages this through a balance of liberty and discipline with establishing clear guidelines.

Increased Liberty 

The journey of child in Montessori system for becoming a responsible grown up is handled by increasing freedom gradually. The child is not controlled; rather control is given into his or her hands. A monthly work plan is not imposed on the child, that can be too much for every child to handle, instead a daily work plan is provided. 

Some choices are made by the students while some are made by the teachers – but not imposed. Students are observed individually for their working and are given enough time to settle in their own comfort zone and move to the monthly work plan. 

Logical and Consistent Consequences

Another practice in the Montessori classroom for balancing liberty and discipline is to keep the consequences of misbehavior consistent. If the child is allowed to choose the consequences before the misbehavior act will have an effect on the choice the child makes later. If the consequence is entirely left to child’s own choice will keep the results in his mind for future move of such an act.

Maria Montessori said: "It is clear therefore that the discipline which reveals itself in the Montessori class is something which comes more from within than without. But this self-discipline has not come into existence in a day, or a week, or even a month. It is the result of a long inner growth, an achievement won through months of training." (The Absorbent Mind)

The Long Term Process

It’s important for parents to understand that the process of balancing liberty and discipline is continuous one. It does not get perfected in a single day, week, or a month, but requires day-to-day choices of the child and effort of adults to grow and change. This practice starts in Montessori classroom but requires consistency in homes. 

Another important factor to remember is that, a child might get hurt by excessive strictness and over-permissiveness. You might move from being overly loving to be overly strict. This as per Montessori system is a wrong practice. The truth of a child’s character becomes clear when he or she is left alone (within of course certain limits). When a child makes good choices in absence of an adult, you can know that the child has learnt the balance of liberty and discipline. 

Montessori classrooms allow children to be left alone – with teachers observing from far end – approaching only when needed. The rules and grading are external controls which disappear from a child’s mind, when left alone!

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