Besides the obvious displays of independence like being able to choose work for
oneself, there is a certain autonomy that marks the Montessori child. They are
used to doing things themselves rather than having an adult do everything for
The Montessori child approaches life’s challenges confidently. They may not
know the answer or solution to every problem, but they know where to find help
if they need it. This is not an arrogant confidence that presumes to be right
at everything, but the kind of confidence that allows a child to try new things
and be adventurous.
Self-discipline enables children to make the right choices without adult
intervention. The child cannot achieve self-discipline without instruction and
help from the teachers and parents. Guiding a child’s inner development is not
something that can be done overnight; it’s a long-term process that focuses on
The idea behind the beautifully prepared environment of the Montessori
classroom is that each material – and indeed, the set-up of the entire
classroom – will appeal to the child’s inner needs. The teacher should never
need to force or coerce a child into doing work. The child will instinctively
know what they need to do. If the teacher or parent is always giving direction,
the child will never get a chance to hear that “inner voice”.
Ability to handle
One popular misconception of Montessori is that children are allowed to run
around and misbehave and basically do anything they want to with no
interference on the teacher’s part. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The child in the Montessori environment is treated with respect, but is
expected to respect the teacher, the materials, and the other members of the
class as well. Strong-willed children find it very difficult to handle external
authority, but with time and patience can begin to graciously follow directions
While we don’t wish to make academics the cornerstone of a Montessori
education, they are indeed important. Each child will develop differently, but
there should always be some progress over time. Montessori may have more
elastic boundaries when it comes to grade-level expectations, but there are
still general skills to be mastered in the 3-year cycles. It’s important to
know which materials are presented in each level, and whether or not the child
has completed them successfully.
schools avoid standardized testing, but it’s perfectly acceptable to evaluate
kids with short, informal one-on-one sessions with an adult. The child may be
asked to complete the work (or some part of it) so that the adult can note
whether or not further instruction is needed. These can be repeated if necessary,
and progress can be noted from one evaluation to another.
The Montessori philosophy recognizes that a child has more than just a mind and
body: they possess a soul as well. The child’s soul needs to be nourished
through art, music, literature, nature, moral lessons, religious instruction,
and relationships. A Montessori child will have appreciation and respect for
spiritual issues, and for other people as spiritual beings.
the Montessori curriculum stresses the interdependence of all living things,
global awareness will come quite naturally to the Montessori child. They will
be interested in current events, in helping others less fortunate than
themselves, and in treating our planet kindly.