A person’s a person, no matter how small!

Montessori respects the individual child. Simply put that way, it does not seem like a remarkable feature. However, as a Montessorian, I have witnessed this very feature build the confident psyche of many a child, and shape how the children naturally give and accept the gift of acceptance and inclusion. As a Method of Education, Montessori’s stress on respect for the child is a cornerstone of its philosophy.

Like how Dr. Seuss  said, “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”. A Montessori classroom with its guides (teachers in common language) truly values each and every child and their unique take on their world. The journey of a Montessori education begins with respect for self, peers and the environments. The environment is prepared each day so that the child can learn and explore the world of knowledge, relationships and self-awareness. The adults of the Montessori environment understand that the child may not always make the wisest of choices. However, they also know that they can be afforded the opportunities to learn from their own mistakes in a safe and secure environment like their Montessori classroom. What better teacher is there than experience?!

Respect is the first course resorted to, when trying to understand why a child is repeating the same pin punching activity for the millionth time, or why a child does not want to participate in circle, or why a child is refusing to apologize for bad behavioral choices. Respect for the child helps the adults of the environment to understand the need and reasoning behind almost all of the activities/behavior of the child. Repeating the same pin punching activity for the millionth time is probably induced by the child’s sensitive period of growth for pincer grip development and is accelerating towards mastery of that skill. Unwillingness to participate in circle at a certain time could be caused by the need to continue performing current work and taking it to completion. Refusing to apologize to a friend might stem from insecurity of losing their social standing.

Whatever the scenario, with respect as the building block of the environment; the Montessori guides can help shape and guide each and every child’s personality, work ethics, and social bonding without compromising on the individuality of the child. A child who prefers a slower and meandering pace of life is appreciated for their thoughtful observations, while being guided to a more well-organized work pattern to successfully channel their strengths. A child who works hard and plays hard will be recognized for their passion and at the same time be directed towards gaining more calmer and retrospective moments in their journey.

Respect is given freely and privileges are earned in a Montessori classroom.